Missing Sats grades could affect thousands, says union

Thousands of children in England could be without complete Year 6 Sats results after some papers went missing and others were marked incorrectly, a teaching union has told the BBC.

A number of marked papers are yet to be returned, days after results came out.

The government says missing papers are being investigated, and that results have been processed for 99% of pupils.

Capita, which is running the marking, said fewer than 3,800 scripts are currently flagged as missing.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) has called for the government to make clear how many pupils have been affected by missing papers and incorrect marking.

It said: "It looks like it could be in the thousands based on what we're seeing, but that's precisely what we need government to be clear about."

As well as papers going missing, the NAHT said some have been marked but allocated to the wrong child.

Other papers are with Capita, the government's partner, but are yet to be sent back to schools.


Des Ricketts, head teacher at Bishop Wilson Church of England Primary School in Birmingham, told the BBC that 14 out of 59 of his Year 6 pupils were missing results.

Mistakes had also been made in the marking of those tests that had been processed, he said.

"It is deeply unfair to all of these children who have worked so hard and deserve to know how well they did. This will also impact on their progress in secondary schools," he said.

Mr Ricketts added that children with dyslexia and others who needed special arrangements, such as writing on coloured paper, were disproportionately affected.

The NAHT said it had heard other reports of these papers not being scanned correctly.


Sats results released last week showed that overall standards in reading, writing and maths have slipped since the pandemic - but not all scripts were included.

A spokeswoman for the Department for Education said 3.8 million test scripts had been processed "alongside results for over 99% of pupils".

"We are aware that a number of scripts were not included when results were made available last week. We wrote to all schools affected in advance," she said.

"We recognise this will be frustrating for those schools."

Capita said "a very small number of scripts, fewer than 0.1% of the total, are currently flagged as missing".

It said it was "working with the affected schools" to work out why, and said it could be down to "scripts being lost during processing" or pupils being wrongly marked as present.

It also noted that some scripts were sent after the usual marking period ended, and that those would be returned.

"We understand that this is frustrating for the affected schools and pupils and we apologise to them for any errors that are our responsibility," it added.

Paul Whiteman, the NAHT's general secretary, said the situation was "deeply worrying".

"School staff all play their part, take it seriously and do exactly what is expected - and the penalties for mistakes are severe," he said. "We should be able to expect the same standards from government."

Some grades are yet to be returned to schools, but other papers have gone missing.

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