Standard Assessment Tests (SATs)

An Overview

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What are SATs?

SATs are a set of tests that children currently sit at the end of Key Stage 1 (Year 2) and then at the end of Key Stage 2 (Year 6). The tests are designed to assess the progress your child has made at school.

There is no pass mark for any of the SATs assessments, so a child cannot fail a SATs paper.

Table 1. SATs performance levels.

Level KS1 SATs (Year 2) KS2 SATs (Year 6) KeyS3 SATs (Year 9)
Level 8                     Exceptional
Level 7 Beyond expectations
Level 6 Exceptional At expected level
Level 5 Beyond expectations
Level 4 Exceptional At expected level Below expectations
Level 3 Beyond expectations Below expectations
Level 2 At expected level
Level 1 Below expectations
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Key Stage 1 SATs (Year 2)

The Key Stage 1 tests are assessed by the teachers within the school, with no external marking. The tests are a form of low-key assessments that include reading, writing (including handwriting and spelling) and Mathematics topics. There is usually no set date for these tests so teachers tend to assess students ‘in the background’.

The teacher will give each child a level for reading, writing, Maths and English. The majority of children at the age of 7 are expected to achieve level 2 in all areas. A 2c or 1a/b/c is below expectations, 2a is above expectations and a level 3 means your child is doing even better (see Table 1 below).

  • Level 2a: The child is at the top of the level, working towards Level 3.
  • Level 2b: The child is working well within the level.
  • Level 2c: The child has started to work within the level.
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Key Stage 2 SATs (Year 6)

The Key Stage 2 tests are usually conducted by the teacher within the school, but on a set day and are usually marked by external staff. Assessments focus on English (spelling, comprehension and writing, including handwriting) and Maths (including mental arithmetic). Although Science is still assessed as part of the Year 6 SATs, since 2010 this is usually assessed by the teacher within school without external marking.

Each child will receive a level for English (reading and writing) Maths and Science. The majority of children at the age of 11 are expected to achieve level 4 in all areas. A child achieving level 5 is above expectations and a level 3 is below expectations (see Table 1 below).

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Key Stage 3 SATs (Year 9)

There are no official SATs for Key Stage 3 students, but they are expected to reach a certain level by year 9 prior to starting their GCSEs. The levels achieved in each subject area will help determine suitable subjects for study at GCSE level (Key Stage 4). These teacher-led assessments at Key Stage 3 level are comprehensive, covering a range of subject areas (see below).

  • English
  • Maths
  • Science
  • History
  • Geography
  • Modern foreign languages
  • Design and technology
  • Information and Communication Technology (ICT)
  • Art and design
  • Music
  • Physical education (PE)
  • Citizenship
  • Religious education (RE)

The majority of children by the age of 14 are expected to achieve level 5.

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EducateFirst's SATs preparation classes

At EducateFirst we understand the importance of SATs and are aware of the stress and anxiety this can have on children and their parents. As will previous years, we will therefore be offering special SATs preparation classes across all our learning centres on Saturdays. Year 6 students attending our tuition classes will take part in our SATs preparation programme, which commences approximately 8–10 weeks before the SATs are scheduled to take place at school.

The SATs learning programme is designed to provide students with the knowledge and confidence they need to sit their SATs, Our tutors will provide weekly preparation classes with a focus on test papers as well offering hints and tips to ensure your child achieves the best possible level in their SATs.

Don’t forget to enrol your child in our special SATs preparation classes • Only £7.50 per lessonLimited places. 

Important dates for 2020

Dates for our SATs preparation classes and when your child is likely to sit their SATs in school are provided in Table 2 below.

Please note that there are no set dates for KS1 (Year 2) SATs, but these are scheduled to take place in May 2020.


Table 2. Key dates for KS2 (Year 6) SATs.

Saturday 7 Mar 2020 (week 1) EducateFirst SATs classes start across all centres (first session)
Saturday 9 May 2020 (week 10) EducateFirst SATs classes end across all centres (first session)
Monday 11 May 2020Students will sit the following test in school:
   • Key Stage 2 English grammar, punctuation and spelling test Paper 1: questions
   • Key Stage 2 English grammar, punctuation and spelling test Paper 2: spelling
Tuesday 12 May 2020Students will sit the following tests in school:
  • Key Stage 2 English reading test
Wednesday 13 May 2020Students will sit the following tests in school:
  • Key Stage 2 Mathematics Paper 1: arithmetic
  • Key Stage 2 Mathematics Paper 2: reasoning
Thursday 14 May 2020Students will sit the following tests in school:
  • Key Stage 2 Mathematics Paper 3: reasoning
Saturday 16 May 2020 EducateFirst tutoring classes resume, focusing on the National Curriculum.

SATs results

Headteachers will receive their school’s results in July 2020 via the NCA tools website. In addition, each school’s performance will be made public in December 2020 and will form part of the 2020 school league tables.

If you are interested in seeing how your child’s school performed in the SATs, then look at the Department for Education (DfE) website that maintains up to date and historical school league tables.

Past papers

Past SATs papers are available free of charge from the following website: www.sats-papers.co.uk/

Top 10 tips for SATs

See our top tips to help your child prepare and get the most out of their SATs: www.educatefirst.co.uk/student-parent-zone/sats/top-10-tips-for-sats/

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