Primary school spelling test: Key Stage 1 paper scrapped after Department of Education accidentally posts it online

The mistake was spotted by a teacher when a pupil seemed to know all the answers

Natasha Devon has criticised government testing of young children, warning it could increase anxiety levels
Natasha Devon has criticised government testing of young children, warning it could increase anxiety levels

The Department of Education has withdrawn a spelling test due to be taken by seven-year-olds across the country after it was accidentally uploaded online.

The section of the Key Stage 1 final exam was published as a sample paper on the Department for Education (DfE) website on January 26 despite the exam being set for May.

After an investigation into the incident which the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) called a "human error", Schools minister Nick Gibb has now decided to remove the requirement for schools to give pupils the test for this year.

Mr Gibb said in a statement: "Schools will still need to submit a teacher assessment judgment based on pupils' work in the classroom as has always been the case.

"However there will be no requirement this year for them to administer the KS1 grammar, punctuation and spelling test or use the result as part of that assessment."

Mr Gibb has commissioned a "root and branch" inquiry into the operations of the STA.

He added: "Our immediate inquiry has shown none of the other KS1 test papers have been affected by this error.

"This is a clearly regrettable incident and I am sorry for any concern it has caused teachers, parents or pupils."

Around half a million Year 2 pupils were set to take the spelling and grammar tests and the results are used to measure the progress of pupils.

The slip-up was initially spotted by a teacher trialling the test when a pupil seemed to know all the answers.

Following the mistake, the Association of Teachers and Lecturers (ATL) has called assessment in primary schools "farcical", while the National Union of Teachers (NUT) called for these tests to be cancelled for 2016.

STA chief executive Jennifer Coupland said she believed the issue arose as a result of human error by a member of staff within the agency and a "failure to follow appropriate clearance processes".

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