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Harold Primary School executive head apologises in letter to parents after SATs results annuled amongst cheating allegations

PUBLISHED: 17:00 02 August 2018

Broadford Primary School.

Broadford Primary School.

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A letter was sent to all parents at Broadford Primary School after a number of SATS results were annulled by the Standards and Teaching Agency.

Head teacher, Malcolm Drakes from Broadford Primary School in Romford, London on September 17, 2014. Photo: Arnaud StephensonHead teacher, Malcolm Drakes from Broadford Primary School in Romford, London on September 17, 2014. Photo: Arnaud Stephenson

The governing board of a Harold Hill Primary School that had SATs results annulled amongst allegations of cheating has launched an independent investigation into what happened at the school.

Executive headteacher Malcolm Drakes has also apologised to parents about any failure that has led to the investigation by the Standards and Teaching Agency (STA).

Last week the Department for Education confirmed that the results of key stage 2 English reading and maths papers at Broadford had been annulled.

In a letter sent to all parents, Mr Drakes said teacher assessment results will be used in place of SATs results when information is given to the secondary schools the children are moving to in September.

Head teacher, Malcolm Drakes from Broadford Primary School in Romford, London on September 17, 2014. Photo: Arnaud StephensonHead teacher, Malcolm Drakes from Broadford Primary School in Romford, London on September 17, 2014. Photo: Arnaud Stephenson

He said that he believes these are the more accurate of the two results, as SATs just provide a “snapshot” of what a child can do on a specific day.

The school is run by Havering Council and was placed into special measures in 2011 but has worked its way up to be currently rated as “outstanding” by Ofsted.

It was named primary school of the year and overall school of the year at the 2017 Times Educational Supplement (TES) awards.

The letter to parents states: “On behalf of the school, we would like to apologise for any failure on our part that has led to the STA making this decision.

The letter sent to all parents at Broadford Primary School.The letter sent to all parents at Broadford Primary School.

“We wish to assure you that the decision by the STA is not seen as a reflection on your child.

“Staff and governors are both deeply saddened and disappointed and did not agree with the STA’s decision.

“Unfortunately we have no right of appeal on the decision not an opportunity to put our point of view.

“We have prided ourselves on providing an outstanding quality of education for your child, with a wealth of opportunities that go far beyond what is traditionally expected.”

A Department for Education spokesman said that any reports of cheating or misadministration of tests should be investigated, and tried to reassure worried parents by saying that “this does not affect the pupils involved.”

The full letter states: “In May, your children sat five test papers commonly known as SATs. We have received notification from the STA that we will shortly be able to publish you the results of three of these, spelling, punctuation and grammar, maths paper 1 and maths paper 2.

“These results are in addition to the full set of teacher assessments that you received in your child’s school reports.

“However we also have to inform you that, based on their analysis of our reading and maths test 3 papers, the STA believed there to be doubt over the accuracy of the results.

“The STA have therefore decided to annul the results of those two tests.

“As as result of this, your children will not receive an overall stand for maths of reading from the STA when we publish the individual data to you.

“On behalf of the school, we would like to apologise for any failure on our part that has led to the STA making this decision.

“We wish to assure you that the decision by the STA is not seen as a reflection on your child.

“Staff and governors are both deeply saddened and disappointed and did not agree with the STA’s decision. Unfortunately we have no right of appeal on the decision not an opportunity to put our point of view.

“We have prided ourselves on providing an outstanding quality of education for your child, with a wealth of opportunities that go far beyond what is traditionally expected.

“We believe in being honest and transparent with stakeholders, this is the reason we are informing you of their decision at the earliest opportunity.

“The STA have consistently changed the time lines for when information would be available for parents, without notice to the school. Even today we were informed that the results which we can publish won’t now be available until Tuesday.

“The governing board will be commissioning a full investigation based on the report from the STA which has still not been received.

“The STA decision has no impact on your child’s transition to Y7. The teacher assessment results for your child for reading, writing and maths will be used in place of the test scores when we provide the information to their secondary school.

“Teacher assessments are the more accurate of the two types of score as they reflect the child’s all round performance across the entire year. SATs are a snapshot of what they can on a specific day.

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