Statutory Assessments at Primary School
What statutory assessments will my child take?
In Year 1, all children have to sit a phonics screening test. This test is designed to indicate whether a child has the required ability to phonetically decode and read words. Children are shown a number of words (both real words and pseudo-words) which they have to be able to read using phonic knowledge.
In Year 2 and Year 6, children are tested in the summer term to determine whether or not they have reached the required age-related standard in reading, grammar and mathematics. Writing is assessed in school as a part of their on-going work in class. Every two years, a small number of Year 6 pupils are selected from across all schools in England to sit an assessment in science. Parents will be informed if this will apply to their child.
Key information about each assessment
This section will tell you the key information about each statutory assessment
Year one Phonics screening
Year One: Phonics Screening Check Information for Parents
"The Year 1 phonics screening check is not a formal test, but a way for teachers to ensure that children are making sufficient progress with their phonics skills to read words and that they are on track to become fluent readers who can enjoy reading for pleasure and for learning."
1. What is the Year 1 phonics screening check?
The phonics screening check is taken individually by all children in Year 1 in England. It is designed to give teachers and parents information on how your child is progressing in phonics. It will help to identify whether your child needs additional support at this stage so that they do not fall behind in this vital early reading skill.
2 .What is in the phonics screening check?
There are two sections in this 40-word check and it assesses phonics skills and knowledge learned through Reception and Year 1. Your child will read up to four words per page for their teacher and they will probably do the check in one sitting of about 5-10 minutes.
3. What sort of check is it and is it compulsory?
It is a school-based check to make sure that your child receives any additional support promptly, should they need it. It is not a stressful situation as the teacher will be well-equipped to listen and understand your child’s level of skills.
There will be a few practice words first to make sure your child understands the activity.
4. What does it check?
It checks that your child can:
Sound out and blend graphemes in order to read simple words.
Read phonically decodable one-syllable and two-syllable words, e.g. cat, sand, windmill.
Read a selection of nonsense words which are referred to as pseudo words.
5. What are nonsense or pseudo words and why are they included?
These are words that are phonically decodable but are not actual words with an associated meaning e.g. brip, snorb. Pseudo words are included in the check specifically to assess whether your child can decode a word using phonics skills and not their memory.
The pseudo words will be shown to your child with a picture of a monster and they will be asked to tell their teacher what sort of monster it is by reading the word. This not only makes the check a bit more fun, but provides the children with a context for the nonsense word which is independent from any existing vocabulary they may have. Crucially, it does not provide any clues, so your child just has to be able to decode it. Children generally find nonsense amusing so they will probably enjoy reading these words.
6. Is there a pass mark?
The check is not about passing or failing but checking appropriate progress is being made. If children do not reach the required standard, then the teacher will be in touch to discuss plans and offer additional, tailored support to ensure that your child can catch up. Children progress at different speeds so not reaching the threshold score does not necessarily mean there is a serious problem. Your child will re-sit the check the following summer term.
7. What happens to the results?
The school will report your child’s results to you by the end of the summer term as well as to the local authority, but the results won’t be published in a league table as with SATs. If you have any concerns, do talk to your teacher about this in a parents’ meeting or after school.
8. Do all schools and children have to participate?
All schools and academies in England must take part in the phonics screening check unless they are an independent school. There is a process in place for reviewing children with special educational needs, so if your child’s teacher thinks there are very special reasons related to your child and their needs that make them think the phonics screening check may not be appropriate, they will decide on appropriate action and discuss this with you.
9. What should I do if my child is struggling to decode a word?
Say each sound in the word from left to right.
Blend the sounds by pointing to each letter, i.e. /b/ in bat, or letter group, i.e. /igh/ in sigh, as you say the sound, then run your finger under the whole word as you say it.
Talk about the meaning if your child does not understand the word they have read.
Work at your child’s pace.
Always be positive and give lots of praise and encouragement.
Alphablocks - lots of videos and games to help with recognising letters and reading.
Phonics Games - A variety of different interactive games
Letters and sounds initial sound game- this game lets your child reveal a sound/letter and then try to find the picture that starts with the same sound. www.letters-and-sounds.com/phase-3-games.html
BBC Bitesize - this game allows your child to listen to the sounds in a word and to pick the correct letter. Then they can see what word they have made with all of the sounds together. www.bbc.co.uk/bitesize/topics/zyfkng8/articles/zt27y4j
Phonics play - there are several free games to play that will help your child with their blending and segmenting.
Key Stage one SATS (Y2)
Year 2 Statutory Assessments
The 2021 KS1 SATs will take place at some point throughout May 2022. The precise days of the tests varies from school to school as they are given a greater degree of flexibility than KS2 SATs. In 2022 they will be completed at some point between 1 May 2022 and 31 May 2022.
KS1 English papers
There are two reading papers for KS1 pupils to complete, and two spelling, punctuation and grammar tests. The teacher can decide if pupils can have a break in the middle of any of the tests if needed.
The first paper requires pupils to read two extracts and complete “practice questions” with a teacher. Then pupils must complete a mixture of short answer and multiple-choice questions. Each question is worth one mark and there are 20 questions. The test is not timed but should take about 30 minutes to complete.
The second reading paper requires pupils to read a booklet that contains three extracts. The questions are a mixture of multiple choice and short-answer questions. There are 16 one-mark questions and two two-mark questions. The test is worth 20 marks overall. The test is not timed but should take about 40 minutes to complete.
In total, the reading papers last 70 minutes.
The spelling paper requires the student to listen to their teacher as a transcript is read and fill in the missing words on their sheet. There are 20 words that they need to spell. Each word is worth one mark, so there are 20 marks in total.
The grammar and punctuation paper is a mixture of multiple choice and short-answer questions. Pupils will also be asked to add punctuation to pre-written sentences. There are 19 questions, 19 one-mark and one two-mark question. The test is worth 20 marks in total. The test lasts for 45 minutes.
KS1 mathematics papers
Paper one is on arithmetic and pupils are not permitted to use a calculator. There are 25 questions, each worth one mark, and the test lasts for 20 minutes.
Paper two is on reasoning and pupils are not permitted to use a calculator. There are 32 questions, each worth one or two marks. The test lasts for 35 minutes and is worth 35 marks overall.
Year four multiplication check
Times tables test / multiplication tables check: the basics
Primary-school children are expected to know all their times tables up to 12x12. Under the current National Curriculum, children are supposed to know their times tables by the end of Year 4, but until now they were not formally tested on them other than through multiplication questions in the Year 6 maths SATs.
Why a new test?
The DfE says that the check is part of a new focus on mastering numeracy, giving children the skills and knowledge they need for secondary school and beyond. The purpose of the MTC is to determine whether Y4 pupils can recall their multiplication tables fluently (being able to answer times tables questions accurately and quickly, without having to work out the answers).
Announcing the tests in 2017, the then Education Secretary Justine Greening said, 'A good primary education lays the foundations for success at secondary school and beyond. This year’s (2017) Key Stage 2 results showed our curriculum reforms are starting to raise standards and it is vital we have an assessment system that supports that.'
Which children will sit the multiplication check?
The times tables test is being introduced in English schools only. It will be taken by children in Year 4, in the summer term (during a three-week period in June; schools will decide which day to administer the check).
Although all tests were cancelled because of COVID-19, in 2020 the MTC became compulsory for all English maintained schools, special schools and academies (including free schools).
Children with special educational needs will be provided for when taking the MTC.
When will the times tables test take place in 2022?
The Multiplication Tables Check will be administered in the three-week period starting on Monday 6 June 2022.
How will children be tested?
Children will be tested using an on-screen check (on a computer or a tablet), where they will have to answer multiplication questions against the clock.
This will be the first time that the DfE has used computerised tests in primary schools. Calculators and wall displays that could provide children with answers will be removed from the room the MTC is taking place in.
The test will last no longer than 5 minutes and is similar to other tests already used by primary schools. Their answers will be marked instantly.
Children will have 6 seconds to answer each question in a series of 25. Each question will be worth one mark and be presented to the child in this format:
n1 x n2 = ____
Questions will be selected from the 121 number facts that make up the multiplication tables from 2 to 12, with a particular focus on the 6, 7, 8, 9 and 12 times tables as they are considered to be the most challenging. Each question will only appear once in any 25-question series, and children won't be asked to answer reversals of a question as part of the check (so if they've already answered 3 x 4 they won't be asked about 4 x 3).
Once the child has inputted their answer on the computer / device they are using, there will be a three-second pause before the next question appears. Children will be given the opportunity to practise answering questions in this format before the official check begins.
The six-second time limit per question has been decided on by the DfE because it should allow children enough time to demonstrate their recall of times tables without giving them the time to work out the answers to each question.
How will the multiplication tables check results be reported?
Pupils' individual results will be made available to schools. It's unlikely that children will be told their individual score, but schools will be required to report the results to parents or carers.
School-level results won't be made publicly available or be used in league / performance tables.
What if a child doesn't do well in the multiplication check?
There will be no "pass mark" (expected standard threshold) and no child will "fail" the test. Multiplication facts will be the only things tested (there will be no testing of children's knowledge of division facts or problem-solving in the check).
The DfE says the purpose of the check is to help teachers identify which children are falling behind and target areas where they’re not being given a chance to succeed.
Key Stage two SATS
At the end of Year 6, children in England sit tests in:
Grammar, punctuation and spelling (GPS)
These tests are both set and marked externally, and the results are used to measure the school’s performance (for example, through reporting to Ofsted and published league tables). Your child’s marks will be used in conjunction with teacher assessment to give a broader picture of their attainment.
The KS2 SATs for English and maths taken since 2016 reflect the amended national curriculum, and are more rigorous than previous years' tests. There is also a new SATs marking scheme and grading system which has replaced national curriculum levels.
In 2020 and 2021 KS2 SATs did not take place due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Primary school SATs results will not be published in national league tables until 2023 to reflect the disruption to children's learning.
Key Stage 2 Reading
The reading test is a single paper with questions based on three passages of text. Your child will have one hour, including reading time, to complete the test.
There will be a selection of question types, including:
Ranking/ordering, e.g. ‘Number the events below to show the order in which they happen in the story’
Labelling, e.g. ‘Label the text to show the title of the story’
Find and copy, e.g. ‘Find and copy one word that suggests what the weather is like in the story’
Short constructed response, e.g. ‘What does the bear eat?’
Open-ended response, e.g. ‘Look at the sentence that begins Once upon a time. How does the writer increase the tension throughout this paragraph? Explain fully, referring to the text in your answer.’
Since 2018 the reading content of the KS2 SATs has been closely linked to the curriculum to ensure children are drawing on their knowledge when answering reading comprehension questions.
Key Stage 2 grammar, punctuation and spelling test
Usually, the GPS test consists of two parts: a grammar and punctuation paper requiring short answers, lasting 45 minutes, and an aural spelling test of 20 words, lasting around 15 minutes.
The GPS test includes two sub-types of questions:
Selected response, e.g. ‘Identify the adjectives in the sentence below’
Constructed response, e.g. ‘Correct/complete/rewrite the sentence below,’ or, ‘The sentence below has an apostrophe missing. Explain why it needs an apostrophe.’
Key Stage 2 maths
Children sit three papers in maths:
Paper 1: arithmetic, 30 minutes
Papers 2 and 3: reasoning, 40 minutes per paper
Paper 1 will consist of fixed response questions, where children have to give the correct answer to calculations, including long multiplication and division. Papers 2 and 3 will involve a number of question types, including:
True or false
Constrained questions, e.g. giving the answer to a calculation, drawing a shape or completing a table or chart
Less constrained questions, where children will have to explain their approach for solving a problem
Key Stage 2 science
In selected years a number of schools (approximately 1900) are required to take part in science sampling, a test administered to a selected sample of children thought to be representative of the population as a whole.
For those who are selected, there are three papers:
Biology: 25 minutes, 22 marks
Chemistry: 25 minutes, 22 marks
Physics: 25 minutes, 22 marks
Each paper takes a maximum of 25 minutes to complete.
It sounds very intimidating, but these are ‘questions in a physics/chemistry/biology context’, for example:
Biology: ‘Describe the differences in the life cycle of an amphibian and a mammal’
Chemistry: ‘Group a list of materials according to whether they are solid, liquid or gas’
Physics: ‘Predict whether two magnets will attract or repel each other, based on where the poles are facing’
The Department for Education has confirmed there will be no science sampling tests in the 2021/22 academic year.
When will KS2 SATs take place in 2022?
The Year 6 KS2 SATs will be administered in the week commencing 9 May 2022.
The SATs timetable runs as follows:
English GPS Paper 1: questions
English grammar, punctuation and spelling Paper 2: spelling
Mathematics Paper 1: arithmetic
Mathematics Paper 2: reasoning
Mathematics Paper 3: reasoning
How will Key Stage 2 SATs be marked?
The previous national curriculum levels have been scrapped, and instead children are given scaled scores (read our parents' guide to primary school grading and SATs codes for more details).
You will be given your child’s scaled score and whether they have reached the expected standard set by the Department for Education (‘NS’ means that the expected standard was not achieved and ‘AS’ means the expected standard was achieved).
The range of scaled scores available for each KS2 test is:
80 (the lowest scaled score that can be awarded)
120 (the highest scaled score)
The expected standard for each test is a scaled score of 100 or more. If a child is awarded a scaled score of 99 or less they won't have achieved the expected standard in the test.
The Department for Education expects at least 65 per cent of children to reach the expected standard (the figure was initially 85 per cent but has been revised).