Northern Ireland

O'Dowd orders school computer glitch investigation

John O'Dowd
Image caption Mr O'Dowd said he hoped the technical issues would be resolved "as quickly as possible."

A computer glitch that has left primary schools unable to complete assessments will be fixed "as a matter of urgency" the education minister says.

John O'Dowd was responding to concerns raised by schools in relation to technical issues with the new computer based assessment system.

The new assessments were introduced in 900 primary schools in September.

IT company Northgate, which runs the network, has said it is investigating.

A number of primary schools have contacted the Council for Curriculum Examinations and Assessments (CCEA) to advise that their pupils were experiencing difficulties when completing the literacy and numeracy assessments.


The difficulties the schools have experienced have been with the network systems rather than with the actual assessments.

The Minister said: "I am aware that a number of schools are experiencing technical difficulties when accessing the new statutory computer-based assessments.

"I am obviously concerned at the impact this may have on teachers and, more importantly, on pupils and have asked those involved to make every effort to resolve this issue as a matter of urgency.

"The intermittent nature of the problem makes it difficult to resolve and CCEA and C2K have been working with the service provider, Northgate, to try to establish the causes. I have asked them to report back to me on this issue as quickly as possible."

CCEA say the new system was tested in 130 schools in the spring and was working fine.

In the last two weeks CCEA have had 70 queries from schools to their helpline.

Northgate have said they are aware of the issues the schools are facing and are working "to investigate the source of the technical difficulties as a priority."

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