Changes to KS1 SATs in 2021: what parents need to know
Coronavirus and SATs in 2020 and 2021
The cancellation of school exams in May and June 2020 was announced by the Prime Minister on 18 March 2020.
The Department for Education's intention is for all existing primary assessments, including KS1 and KS2 SATs, to return according to their normal timetable in the 2020/21 academic year.
SATs in Year 2
In the summer term 2016, children at the end of Key Stage 1 were the first to sit new SATs papers. SATs have been overhauled in both Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 to reflect the changes to the national curriculum, which was introduced from September 2014.
At the end of Year 2, children take SATs in:
- English grammar, punctuation and spelling (optional paper, schools can decide whether to use it)
In September 2017 it was confirmed that the KS1 SATs will be made non-statutory (so schools will be able to choose whether to adminster them or not) from 2023. Until then children will continue to be assessed in May during Year 2.
Key Stage 1 reading
The new reading test for Year 2 pupils is made up of two separate papers:
- Paper 1 consists of a selection of texts totalling 400 to 700 words, with questions interspersed
- Paper 2 comprises a reading booklet of a selection of passages totalling 800 to 1100 words. Children will write their answers in a separate booklet
Each paper is worth 50 per cent of the marks, and should take around 30 minutes, but children are not be strictly timed, as the tests are not intended to assess children’s ability to work at speed. The texts in the reading papers cover a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, and get progressively more difficult towards the end of the test. Teachers have the option to stop the test at any point that they feel is appropriate for a particular child.
There are a variety of question types:
- Multiple choice
- Ranking/ordering, e.g. ‘Number the events below to show in which order they happened in the story’
- Matching, e.g. ‘Match the character to the job that they do in the story’
- Labelling, e.g. ‘Label the text to show the title’
- Find and copy, e.g. ‘Find and copy one word that shows what the weather was like in the story’
- Short answer, e.g. ‘What does the bear eat?’
- Open-ended answer, e.g. ‘Why did Lucy write the letter to her grandmother? Give two reasons’
Key stage 1 grammar, spelling and punctuation
Children taking Key Stage 1 SATs may also sit two separate papers in grammar, spelling and punctuation:
- Paper 1: a 20-word spelling test taking approximately 15 minutes and worth 20 marks.
- Paper 2: a grammar, punctuation and vocabulary test, in two sections of around 10 minutes each (with a break between, if necessary), worth 20 marks. This will involve a mixture of selecting the right answers e.g. through multiple choice, and writing short answers.
In May 2016, following the KS1 SATs spelling paper accidentally being made available on the Department for Education website before the test, Schools Minister Nick Gibb decided the test would be optional in 2016.
In 2017 the KS1 SPAG test remained optional, so schools could choose whether to adminster it to their pupils. This was also the case in 2018 and 2019.
Key Stage 1 maths
The new Key Stage 1 maths test is made up of two papers:
- Paper 1: arithmetic, worth 25 marks and taking around 15 minutes.
- Paper 2: mathematical fluency, problem-solving and reasoning, worth 35 marks and taking 35 minutes, with a break if necessary. There are a variety of question types: multiple choice, matching, true/false, constrained (e.g. completing a chart or table; drawing a shape) and less constrained (e.g. where children have to show or explain their method).
Children are not allowed to use any tools such as calculators or number lines.
When will the KS1 SATs take place?
The KS1 SATs are due to be administered in May 2021.
Unlike KS2 SATs, KS1 SATs don't have to be administered according to a nationally-set timetable in a specific week. Schools are free to manage the timetable and will aim to administer the tests in the classroom in a low-stress, low-key way; some children won't even be aware they've taken them!
How will the tests be marked?
Although the tests are set externally, they are marked by teachers within the school.
Children are given a scaled score. Their raw score – the actual number of marks they get – is translated into a scaled score, where a score of 100 means the child is working at the expected standard.
A score below 100 indicates that the child needs more support, whereas a score of above 100 suggests the child is working at a higher level than expected for their age. The maximum score possible is 115, and the minimum is 85.
Teacher assessments are also used to build up a picture of your child’s learning and achievements. In addition, your child will receive an overall result saying whether they have achieved the required standard in the tests (your child's actual results won't be communicated to you unless you ask for them).
Are there any practice papers for KS1 SATs?
The official 2016, 2017, 2018 and 2019 KS1 SATs papers are available for free download from TheSchoolRun:
- KS1 English SATs 2016
- KS1 Maths SATs 2016
- KS1 English SATs 2017
- KS1 Maths SATs 2017
- KS1 English SATs 2018
- KS1 Maths SATs 2018
- KS1 English SATs 2019
- KS1 Maths SATs 2019
You can also look through free past papers from previous years – although the format and content of the new SATs is different, they will still help to familiarise your child with exam procedure.
TheSchoolRun has commissioned five complete KS1 SATs practice papers for maths and five for English. Available exclusively to subscribers, they are written in the style of the new-curriculum papers and feature similar question types.
'KS1 SATs to be scrapped'
On 30 March 2017 the Department for Education launched a consultation to propose making Key Stage 1 assessments non-statutory.
On 14 September 2017 it was confirmed that the Y2 SATs will be made non-statutory (so schools will be able to choose whether to adminster them or not) from 2023.
A new baseline assessment for Reception pupils will be introduced and KS2 SATs (in Year 6) will not be affected.
This announcement does not affect children due to sit KS1 SATs before 2023, so if your child was born before 31 August 2015 they will still be tested at the end of Year 2.
Download your free parents' guide to KS1 SATs
Our two-page guide to SATs in Year 2 in 2021 gives you all the information you need to support your child. Click on the image below to download it.