Primary school spelling test scrapped after paper was leaked online

A primary school spelling test due to be taken by hundreds of thousands of seven year-olds this summer has been scrapped after it was accidentally published online.

The test, which forms part of the Key Stage 1 SATS assessment administered to pupils in Year 2, was due to be taken in May, alongside maths and reading tests.

But it recently emerged that the spelling test had accidentally been uploaded to the Standards and Testing Agency website as a practice paper.

The error was only spotted this week when a number of schools piloted the test and the questions were recognised.

The Government initially said the test would still be used as part of the Key Stage 1 assessment – used to gauge 500,000 pupils’ progress but not to rank schools – but following pressure from teachers it has relented.

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said it was a “regrettable” incident and that this year pupils would no longer be expected to sit the spelling test or teachers use it to assess them.

Mr Gibb apologised for “any concern it has caused teachers, parents or pupils”.

Separately, the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) said it had launched an immediate review into what it believes was “a result of human error” caused by a member of staff not following “appropriate clearance processes”.

In a statement Mr Gibb said: “We have worked swiftly to find a solution to the administration of this year’s KS1 grammar, punctuation and spelling tests.

“To remove any uncertainty and clarify the situation for schools, I have decided that we will remove the requirement on them to administer the Key Stage 1 grammar, punctuation and spelling test for this year only.

“Schools will still need to submit a teacher assessment judgement based on pupils’ work in the classroom as has always been the case.”

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

The leak has been heavily criticised on social media by teachers, parents and education experts.

The poet Michael Rosen said the test was now “invalid” and said there was “no justification” for pupils to take it.

Russell Hobby, general secretary of National Association of Head Teachers said: “In deciding to pull the tests for this year, the Minister has acted quickly and appropriately to address the issue. School leaders will welcome this approach.