Head at Newton school suspended over incorrect tests

Wargrave headteacher Sue Wade
Wargrave headteacher Sue Wade
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The headteacher of a Newton-le-Willows primary school has been suspended after concerns were raised that SATs tests were not carried out properly.

Sue Wade, headteacher at Wargrave CE Primary, has been suspended while an investigation is carried out into the “maladministration” of Key Stage 2 mental arithmetic SATs (standard assessment tests).

After evidence of incorrect procedures was reported by the Standards and Testing Agency (STA), the results of its Year 6 children - who have now moved up to secondary school after taking the test in 2015 - have been cancelled.

The chairman of the school’s governors sent out a letter to parents, informing them of the matter and that headteacher Sue Wade has been suspended “as a matter of routine” while the investigation takes place.

It added that deputy heads Nicola Tomkow and Amanda Epstein would take over, with support from the local authority.

The letter stated: “Due to maladministration the KS2 mental arithmetic SATs results for a number of children completing their SATs in 2015 have been annulled.

“I have informed the parents of those children affected and have contacted the headteacher of the secondary schools that they now attend.

“I am now, with the support from the local authority, conducting a thorough investigation into the administration of the SATs papers. I can assure you that all appropriate measures will be taken and that the 2016 administration of SATs will be in keeping with the guidance of the Standards and Testing Agency.”

A St Helens Council spokesman said: “Remedial action was taken at Wargrave Primary School as soon as the Standards and Testing Agency indicated evidence of maladministration there.

“The council stepped in to ensure the school operates effectively throughout the course of a detailed investigation – which we have launched jointly with the school’s Chair of Governors. This course of action has the full support of the Church of England Diocese.

“The head teacher has been suspended - as a matter of routine - while the investigation takes place.

“Parents have been kept fully informed about the situation.”

A spokesman for the STA said: “Any instances of maladministration of Key Stage 2 tests are completely unacceptable. Following an investigation into the administration of 2015 Key Stage 2 tests at Wargrave Church of England Primary School, mental mathematics papers for some pupils have been annulled.”

The annulment of the tests meant that pupils affected did not receive an overall level for any subject but they would not be required to re-sit the tests.