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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 in 2023 and how you can help your child reach their full potential.
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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 and reading that take around 3 hours in total to complete, plus informal assessments in science that take place throughout the year.

SATs are just one aspect of the KS1 assessment process. Your child's teacher will be taking all their work in Years 1 and 2 into consideration in order to build a full, accurate picture of how well your child is doing. The full, teacher-assessment report about your child's progress in maths, English reading, English writing and science should be sent to you by the end of the summer term.

I thought KS1 SATs had been abolished?

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 announced that the KS1 SATs will be made non-statutory (so schools will be able to choose whether to administer them or not) from September 2023. In the school year September 2022, children will continue to be assessed in May (2023) during Year 2.

Why will it take until May 2024 to scrap Y2 SATs?

The Department for Education currently uses KS1 SATs results to track children's progress through the primary schooling system.

In future the results of the new Reception Baseline Check will allow schools to measure kids' progress between the ages of 4 and 11 (when they are assessed through KS2 SATs).

The DfE says it is not possible to bring in the changes to KS1 SATs any sooner because data from the Year 2 assessments will still be needed to calculate the progress of primary school pupils.

When will my child take KS1 SATs?

Maths and English SATs 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 KS1 SATs results work?

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, 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.

KS1 SATs papers are marked by your child’s teacher. Schools don't publish KS1 SATs results, and they are not sent to the government. You won’t receive your child’s KS1 SATs results from school automatically, but if you’d like to see them you can ask for them.

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 confidence 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.

You'll find lots more information about KS1 SATs in our articles, packed with teacher tips and expert advice.

Where can I find KS1 SATs papers?

Past papers are available for free download: KS1 SATs English 2016, KS1 SATs Maths 2016KS1 SATs English 2017, KS1 SATs Maths 2017, KS1 SATs English 2018KS1 SATs maths 2018KS1 SATs English 2019KS1 SATs maths 2019, KS1 SATs English 2022 and KS1 SATs Maths 2022.

TheSchoolRun has also produced a selection of 'mock' KS1 SATs papers, written in the style of the 'new' SATs assessments, for at-home practice. Marking schemes are included so you can see how a teacher would assess your child’s work.

You can also browse through some pre-2016 past papers; the new tests are 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?

Yes – the 2022 KS1 English SATs and 2022 KS1 Maths SATs are available to download for free.

For more ideas, check out our KS1 SATs success 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.

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.