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KS1 SATs writing assessment success

Child writing in pencil
KS1 SATs are no longer compulsory, but may still be administered by some schools. If so, how will your child's writing be assessed at the end of KS1? We explain what teachers are looking for so you can help your child improve their work and boost their confidence.

Up until September 2023, children had to sit KS1 SATs in English and maths to see whether they had reached the national standard. These are now optional and may not be administered by your child's school. Some schools may choose to use them as a way to track progress. Writing is not normally covered in these exams and children's writing is assessed by their teacher. 

Pupils will be asked to write a narrative about their own and others' experiences (real and fictional).

They need to include the following in their writing:

Sentence structure

  • Capitals and full stops in mostly the right places
  • Some use of question marks and exclamation marks
  • Different kinds of sentences: statements, questions, exclamations and commands
  • Expanded noun phrases using adjectives and adverbs to give a description (e.g. 'the big, blue butterfly')
  • Consistent use of the past and present tense
  • Use of the conjunctions or / and / but to join sentences, and sometimes when / if / that / because

Spelling sentences

  • Sounding out words and thinking about phonics in order to work out spellings
  • Spelling common words correctly (for example: because, child, everybody, beautiful, should, clothes, people, etc.)
  • Spelling contracted words correctly, such as don't, can't, hasn't, couldn't
  • Adding suffixes to spell words correctly, such as -ment, -ness, -ful, -less, -ly


  • Using the diagonal and horizontal strokes needed to join letters in some of their writing
  • Writing capital letters and digits of the correct size, orientation and relationship to one another and to lower case letters
  • Using appropriate spacing between words

More able writers

Pupils working at greater depth within the expected standard will be able to write for different purposes after discussion with the teacher. They will also show that they can do the following:

  • Use the full range of punctuation taught in KS1, mostly correctly (capitals, full stops, exclamation marks, question marks)
  • Spell most common KS1 words correctly
  • Spell most words in contracted forms
  • Spell most words with the suffixes -ment, -ness, -ful, -less, -ly correctly
  • Use the diagonal and horizontal strokes needed to join letters in most of their writing

For more information on what is assessed in KS1 English SATs read our complete guide. We also offer general advice about KS1 SATs for parents.

KS1 English SATs past papers and practice and revision materials

SATs were completely overhauled in 2016. The KS1 English SATs and KS1 Maths SATs official past papers from 2016 to last year are available for free download from TheSchoolRun.

Your child can also use the old-style past papers to help them prepare. KS1 SATs past papers for 2003 and 2004 are available to download for free; TheSchoolRun also offers subscriber-only KS1 SATs 'mock' papers, written by teachers to offer extra practice for the Y2 assessments.

Our KS1 SATs Learning Journey offers 48 worksheets and activities to help your child revise all the Y2 objectives for English and maths the fun way. 

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