Dear Parents, FYI:


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This email is an official communication from the Standards and Testing Agency.

Dear Headteacher

Late last year, the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) published modified versions of sample test materials online. Regrettably, one of the guidance documents included in that release, for use with the modified large print version of the key stage 1 (KS1) spelling test, contained the live test words rather than sample words. The correct version of the document is now available.

This is clearly unacceptable and we apologise. A full investigation into the cause of the error is underway. Our immediate investigation has shown that no other test papers for KS1 or key stage 2 (KS2) have been affected by this error.

To clarify the situation for schools about the administration of the KS1 tests in May, the Minister of State for Schools, Nick Gibb, has announced that schools will not be required to administer the KS1 English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests for this year only. All other KS1 and KS2 tests will continue as planned.

All schools will still need to submit a teacher assessment judgement for English writing based on pupils' work in the classroom. However there will be no requirement this year to administer the KS1 English grammar, punctuation and spelling test or to use the result as part of that assessment.

Approximately 700 schools have already administered the English grammar, punctuation and spelling test as part of the early administration of tests to enable the standard to be set. That work remains vital. There will be sufficient data from early administration to set a standard for the test. We will publish the raw score to scaled score conversion tables for this test on 3 June, as planned. The standard will be reconfirmed with teachers next year to ensure there has been no effect from this incident.

If you choose to administer the test, you need to be aware that there is a risk that the spelling results may be compromised and you should use other evidence gathered throughout the year to support your teacher assessment of the spelling statements in the interim framework for writing.

I am grateful to schools for their considered response to a clearly regrettable incident and I am sorry for any concern and anxiety caused.    

Jennifer Coupland

Chief Executive

Standards and Testing Agency
Tel: 0300 303 3013 (Monday-Friday 8am-6pm)