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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

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.