Guide to KS2 SATs Tests

The scores achieved by children in their KS2 SATs tests at the end of Year 6 will determine the sets they will be placed in Year 7 and their target GCSE grades in Year 11. Therefore, it is essential that students are prepared to achieve the highest grades to set them up for success at secondary school.

What are KS2 SATs?

SATs are compulsory national tests sat by all year 6 children, normally in May, in maths and English. The results measure the children’s end of primary school levels of attainment as well as the performance of schools.

KS2 Maths Tests

There are three test papers in maths. Paper 1 tests mental arithmetic skills with questions requiring a correct answer to each question; papers 2 and 3 test mathematical reasoning and problem solving skills.

KS2 English Tests

Paper 1 tests knowledge of grammar, spelling and punctuation (SPAG) with questions requiring short answers such as ‘which word is a noun in this sentence’ or ‘why does this sentence need an apostrophe’. Paper 2 is a 20 word spelling test. Paper 3 is a reading comprehension test; children have to read the passages from a text they are provided and answer a range of questions related to the passage.

KS2 Science

Science SATs are not compulsory. However, a few schools are selected for science SATs which take place after the compulsory maths and English tests in early June for official sampling purposes. You can check with your child’s school if it has been selected.

The New KS2 SATs & Scores Explained

The new KS2 SATs tests, introduced in 2016, have become more difficult and the way they are marked has also changed. Previously, students were awarded levels ranging from 3 (the lowest) to 6 with 4b set as the national standard expected for each subject. Now, they are marked with a score ranging from 80 (the lowest) to 120 with a national standard expected score of 100 for each subject. The new more rigorous tests have seen fewer students achieving the expected standard score of 100 compared to the old KS2 SATs tests’ 4b.

Preparing Your Child for KS2 SATs

A 2016 Department for Education study found that year 6 pupils who had failed to achieve the national expected standard KS2 levels were lagging behind throughout secondary school and failed to achieve five GCSE’s at grade C or above including maths and English in Year 11. Furthermore, as class sizes are too large to ensure each child can be prepared to achieve the highest KS2 SATs’ scores, parents must provide extra support to their children by:

  • Encouraging daily reading at home, asking them questions about the story they have read and learning spellings of new words
  • Making them work from KS2 SATs workbooks and websites such as BBC Bitesize
  • Getting tutoring for them through qualified and experienced primary school teachers for accelerated progress, ideally from Years 4 or 5 for maximum scores above 100

To arrange a free KS2 assessment of current levels and progress towards SATs preparation for your child in Years 4, 5 or 6, at our Derby or Burton centres, email info@thetutorcentre.com.

Revising in Ramadan

As Ramadan begins with only a week or two to GCSE and A-Level exams, Muslim students will be revising while fasting with no food or water intake for around 18-19 hours. Here are the most useful tips that could help you to maximise your revision while fasting:

Eat Healthily & Keep Hydrated

Fried foods like Samosas and fat-dense curries together with high-sugar foods such as desserts lead to tiredness. Replace these with healthier options with grilled meats and slow release carbohydrates such as potatoes, bananas and rice; eat at least two portions of fruit and fibrous vegetables such as broccoli. Furthermore, take a good quality one-a-day vitamin supplement to keep your immune system strong.

Drinking plenty of water between sunset and dawn. This will help keep your concentration levels high the following day and ensure that you do not become tired the following day. So keep a full water bottle with you, sipping it throughout the night.

Strategically Plan Revision Times

Plan your revision timetable strategically around the times when you are most energetic and alert; conversely, plan your sleeping times when you are the most tired. So for example, when on study leave, you may choose to stay awake after Suhoor (the pre-dawn meal) and revise your most difficult subjects while you are energised and fully hydrated until the early afternoon (with short breaks), and then go to bed after the Dhuhr prayer which can be performed as soon as it starts.

If you prefer, you could work for a few hours after Suhoor on your toughest subjects and then sleep until late afternoon, performing the Dhur prayer towards the latter part of its time and then study for another couple of hours before the time to break fast on the less challenging subjects. Then after breaking fast and the night prayers (Tarawi), resume revision of the toughest subjects until Suhoor time.

In short, experiment and adopt the timetable that works best for you. If you start to feel tired, go for a quick walk and best of all, plan your breaks around prayer times, the pre-prayer ablution (wudhu) will wake you up!

Avoid Intensive Exercise

Exercise or sports that dehydrate should be avoided while fasting as it will impact the effectiveness of your revision. A short walk during breaks is sufficient for recharging your brain and overcoming tiredness.

Following these simple tips will allow the fasting students to be able to make the most of their revision without compromising their religion during Ramadan.

Stop Mobile Phones from Sabotaging Your Child’s Revision

With GCSE and A-Level exams just around the corner, many students will be starting revision to achieve their target grades. However, mobile phones have become the main source of revision sabotage which will lead to many students failing to achieve them. Below are some tips that can help you in saving your child from this sabotage:

Don’t Nag

This is the time to be supportive rather than add to your child’s stress levels. Have a friendly conversation to make him understand how these next few weeks will determine the rest of his life.

Make Them Look Ahead

Ask him to think ahead. How will he feel on the night before the first exam; fully prepared, relaxed and ready to get an early night? Or will he have large revision gaps because he ran out of time due to interruptions from social media, YouTube and Netflix, leading him to stay up until the early hours in a futile effort to cram in many weeks of revision? Is sacrificing great grades – leading to a great career – by the temporary gratification received from the mobile phone really worth it?

Set Some Rules

Agreeing on rules on mobile phone usage and setting limits is critical. Here are some examples of what you can agree with your child:

  • Keep the phone switched off and in a different room during revision sessions to stop the temptation of reaching for it every five minutes.
  • Turn off notifications from WhatsApp, Snapchat and other social media applications to stop their constant disruption.
  • Check for messages only during planned breaks.
  • No mobile phone usage an hour before bedtime.
  • Keep the phone downstairs during the night to ensure a good night’s sleep to be refreshed and ready for the following day.

Lead by Example

Be a role model and implement the agreed rules on yourself. Not only will this give you time to be more productive, it will show support for your child and help in consolidating these phone habits for future exam seasons.

Revising During the Christmas Holidays

With end of term underway with two weeks of no school, many students may see the holidays as a holiday from studying and therefore miss-out on the chance to boost their GCSE and A-Level grades. Here are a few handy tips parents can encourage the students with to make the most of the school holidays:

  1. Set targets for each subject such as reviewing the topics you have found hard so far, getting ahead on next term’s topics and doing some exam style questions on those topics. Print it out and put it up on a wall.
  2. Draw-up a revision timetable for the two weeks detailing the subjects and activity to be covered on each day with times. GCSE students should go for 4 or 5 hourly slots per day while A-Level students can set themselves a 2-3 hour slot per subject (with a short break in between) per day.
  3. Start early and finish early! The brain is a lot more active and alert in the morning than later in the day so get your work done and save your play for later. Besides, all the fun activities and get-togethers take place in the evening – so why not get your work out of the way first?
  4. Study in a quiet room and put your phone it in a separate room. In that way, you will get some good quality work done without distractions.
  5. Don’t get in the bad routine of getting out of bed late and then going to sleep late!
  6. Eat healthily, keep yourself hydrated, get 8 hours of sleep and exercise, even if it is a 20 minute walk.

Happy Revision and Happy Holidays!

Are Students Achieving their Full Potential at School?

School class sizes of 30+ means that the teacher’s attention is too thinly spread out to be able to be able to focus on each student sufficiently. This makes it difficult to identify each student’s individual needs and target the areas necessary to ensure they achieve their full potential.

As a result, students are neglected across the full range of abilities with higher performing students not being fully stretched to truly excel by being set standard work while lower performing students are neglected as their predetermined low target grades are used to keep them there.

At The Tutor Centre, we keep class sizes very small at an average of 6 students which allows our teachers to provide the focus necessary for each student to ensure they exceed the target grades set by their schools through a personalised learning plan. Unlike schools, we do not cap the students’ ability at their target grades set by schools, which for the majority of students, are not a true reflection of the students’ ability but a reflection of the neglect that they suffer due to the state of the education system.

Last year’s GCSE results showed that in a short period of time, the majority of our students who were tutored at The Tutor Centre were able to exceed their target grades. Our philosophy is that the only limit to a student’s potential achievement is the one placed on them by teachers and schools who convince them and their parents that they cannot achieve higher grades.

So if you want your child to exceed the expectations set by the school and achieve his/her full potential, contact us now to discuss how The Tutor Centre can help.