Thurrock primary school rocked by “SATS fixing” investigation


BENYON primary school in South Ockendon has been rocked by the news that the school is under investigation by the government over allegations of “SATS fixing”.

SATS (Standard Assessment Tests) tests are given at the end of year 2, year 6 and year 9. They are used to show your child’s progress compared with other children born in the same month.

YT understands that some members of staff at the West Road school had been concerned for months regarding procedures for the exams. Eventually, a whistle blower went to the government and informed them of their concerns.

A member of staff, who wished to remain anonymous spoke to YourThurrock.

They said: “This is long overdue. Some staff couldn’t put up with this anymore.”

A spokesperson for Thurrock Council confirmed there was an investigation.

“Thurrock Council can confirm that an allegation is being investigated by QCDA (Qualifications and Curriculum Development Agency). Thurrock Council and the Chair of Governors of the school are co-operating fully with the investigation which is on-going.

“It would be inappropriate for the council to make any further comment until the investigation is completed”.

Pupils at the primary school had been studying for months for the exams. Parents will no doubt be rocked by the news that the exams may be null and void or even worse that the students may have to take them again.

The news has angered local ward councillor and shadow deputy leader of the Conservative group, cllr Amanda Arnold. Cllr Arnold goes into the school once a week to read to year 5 students but when YT spoke to her, she was unaware of any investigation.

The investigation comes after many thought Benyon was sailing into smoother waters after a couple of rocky years when a federation with Shaw primary failed.

The school hit the headlines again when persistent absence rates in 2009 hit almost 16%, three times the national average. Since then, an interim head, James Kenyon has been in charge.

Further reaction to follow.

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