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, English and science carried out in two stages during your child’s primary education. Key Stage 1 SATs consist of formal assessments in maths, reading and writing 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. A series of levels have been set up to mark progress throughout primary and secondary school, each matched to an age.

Levels are split into a, b and c, which respectively mean working towards the next level, working comfortably at this level, or just working within this level. At the end of KS1 level 2 is the expected level for children to be working in (2a is the highest end of the level; 2c is the lowest). Children working at level 3 at the end of Y2 are above average and level 4 is rare at this age.

Please note: as of September 2014 national curriculum levels have been replaced by a new grading system in primary school, but for the moment it It is difficult to give a definitive answer as to how this will work as it will be up to schools to decide how they assess pupils’ progress. Some schools will continue to use national curriculum levels in 2014-15, or move to their own, school-specific version of the levels system. Children will also be matched against ‘performance descriptors’ when being assessed by their teachers at the end of Key Stage 1 to see if they’ve achieved the expected standard.

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 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 past papers?

If you’d like to see exactly what sort of questions your child will be working through as part of the Year 2 SATs, browse through some past papers.

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. Papers produced since 2005 are still used in schools every year to set the tests for students in Year 2, so you won’t be able to access the latest KS1 SATs paper anywhere. 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 Y4, Y4 and Y5.