Your KS1 SATs questions answered

Boy revising for KS1 SATs
The first time you hear the word SATs mentioned will likely be when your child enters year 2, which is the end of Key Stage 1. We answer the questions whirling around in parents’ heads about what KS1 SATs are, when they’ll be administered and how you can help your child succeed.

What are KS1 SATs?

SATs are a series of assessments in maths and English, carried out in two stages during your child’s primary education. Key Stage 1 SATs consist of formal assessments in maths, reading and spelling, punctuation and grammar that take around 3 hours in total to complete, plus informal assessments in science that take place throughout the year.

When will my child take KS1 SATs?

Maths and English SATs usually take place in May (they're not date-specific as KS2 SATs are, so you probably won't know in advance when the tests are due to take place) and are not given all at once – assessments are spread out over a period of time, and teachers try to work them into the normal routine in such a way that students may not feel like they’re being tested. KS1 SATs are not timed.

How do I know whether my child has done well?

KS1 SATs results show where your child’s academic knowledge ranks against the national average. The grading system involves children's raw score - the actual number of marks they get - being translated into a scaled score. You will be told their raw score, scaled score and whether they have reached the national standard. The score needed to achieve the national standard hasn't yet been announced. Children will also be matched against ‘performance descriptors’ - such as working towards the expected level, working at the expected level and working above the expected level - when being assessed by their teachers at the end of Key Stage 1.

How important are KS1 SATs?

As soon as the word ‘exam’ pops up, it can set off the parental panic button! Think of Key Stage 1 SATs as evaluations rather than exams – they’re not designed to be passed or failed, and they gauge what level your child has reached rather than whether or not they meet the standards set in the test. It’s another way to highlight where your child is doing well, and where they might need extra help.

How can I help my child prepare for SATs?

There are a number of ways in which you can work on literacy and numeracy concepts at home that will help your child in the classroom, which in turn will give them the knowledge to achieve the target level for their age group. Review what they’ll be learning in Year 1 and Year 2 to be ready with relevant activities and worksheets.

For a complete guide to what is tested in the SATs, look through our learning objectives reviews for KS1 maths and KS1 English. We also offer a KS1 SATs Learning Journey, a complete revision course packed with fun worksheets and activities.

Where can I find KS1 SATs papers?

The government has published some practice papers for the new style SATs. You can also browse through some past papers; the new tests will be different in format and content, but looking at past papers can give your child an idea of what to expect.

Can I see last year's KS1 SATs papers?

Only the papers for 2003 (maths and English) and 2004 (maths and English) are available for parents to see and use. TheSchoolRun subscribers have access to lots of KS1 practice exams written to replicate the tests; marking schemes are included so you can see exactly how a teacher would assess your child’s work.

For more ideas, check out our KS1 SATs pack for a  list of 26 teacher-recommended activities to help with reading comprehension, spelling, writing, addition and subtraction, time, shape and measurements, counting and problem solving, and handling data.

Your guide to KS1 SATs success

KS2 SATs past papers and information

To download KS2 SATs past papers for free, and for specific advice about the Y6 tests, head to our KS2 SATs overview. We also have information about optional SATs, taken in Y3, Y4 and Y5.