Changes to KS1 SATs in 2023: what parents need to know
SATs in Year 2
At the end of Year 2, children take SATs in:
- English grammar, punctuation and spelling, or GPS (optional paper, schools can decide whether to use it)
KS1 SATs were overhauled to reflect changes to the national curriculum in 2016.
The government previously announced plans to scrap KS1 SATs but have since decided that the tests will take place in May 2023. It will become optional from September 2023.
Prepare your child for KS1 SATs today
- Your guide to SATs
- Revision course
- 10 SATs practice papers in English & maths
Key Stage 1 reading
The 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 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.
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 GPS test remained optional, so schools could choose whether to adminster it to their pupils. This was also the case in 2018 and 2019.
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 maths
The 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 2023.
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
- KS1 English SATs 2022
- KS1 Maths SATs 2022
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.
They announced plans to scrap KS1 SATs but have since decided that the tests will take place in May 2023. It will then become optional from September 2023.
A new baseline assessment for Reception pupils was introduced in September 2021 and KS2 SATs (in Year 6) will not be affected.
Download a free parents' guide to KS1 SATs in 2022
Is your child taking Year 2 SATs this year? Print out TheSchoolRun's guide to KS1 SATs for parents.