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Statutory Assessments and Baselines

Phonics Screening

The children in Year 1 follow Litlle Wandle and Collins Big Cat Phonics books to develop their phonic knowledge.

The checks consist of 40 words and non-words that your child will be asked to read one-on-one with a teacher. Non-words (or nonsense words, or pseudo words) are a collection of letters that will follow phonics rules your child has been taught, but don’t mean anything – your child will need to read these with the correct sounds to show that they understand the phonics rules behind them.

The 40 words and non-words are divided into two sections – one with simple word structures of three or four letters, and one with more complex word structures of five or six letters. The teacher administering the check with your child will give them a few practice words to read first – including some non-words – so they understand more about what they have to do. Each of the non-words is presented with a picture of a monster / alien, as if the word were their name (and so your child doesn't think the word is a mistake because it doesn't make sense!).

DFE - Learning to read through phonics

Key Stage One Assessments



The reading test for Year 2 pupils is made up of two separate papers:

  • Paper 1 consists of a selection of texts totalling 400 to 700 words, with questions interspersed

  • Paper 2 comprises a reading booklet of a selection of passages totalling 800 to 1100 words. Children will write their answers in a separate booklet

Each paper is worth 50 per cent of the marks, and should take around 30 minutes, but children are not be strictly timed, as the tests are not intended to assess children’s ability to work at speed. The texts in the reading papers cover a range of fiction, non-fiction and poetry, and get progressively more difficult towards the end of the test. Teachers have the option to stop the test at any point that they feel is appropriate for a particular child.

There are a variety of question types:

  • Multiple choice

  • Ranking/ordering, e.g. ‘Number the events below to show in which order they happened in the story’

  • Matching, e.g. ‘Match the character to the job that they do in the story’

  • Labelling, e.g. ‘Label the text to show the title’

  • Find and copy, e.g. ‘Find and copy one word that shows what the weather was like in the story’

  • Short answer, e.g. ‘What does the bear eat?’

  • Open-ended answer, e.g. ‘Why did Lucy write the letter to her grandmother? Give two reasons’



The maths test is made up of two papers:

  • Paper 1: arithmetic, worth 25 marks and taking around 15 minutes.

  • Paper 2: mathematical fluency, problem-solving and reasoning, worth 35 marks and taking 35 minutes, with a break if necessary. There are a variety of question types: multiple choice, matching, true/false, constrained (e.g. completing a chart or table; drawing a shape) and less constrained (e.g. where children have to show or explain their method).

Children are not allowed to use any tools such as calculators or number lines.



When will the KS1 SATs take place?

The KS1 SATs are administered in May.

Unlike KS2 SATs, KS1 SATs don't have to be administered according to a nationally-set timetable in a specific week. Schools are free to manage the timetable and will aim to administer the tests in the classroom in a low-stress, low-key way; some children won't even be aware they've taken them!

How will the tests be marked?

Although the tests are set externally, they are marked by teachers within the school.

Children are given a scaled score. Their raw score – the actual number of marks they get – is 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.

Teacher assessments are also used to build up a picture of your child’s learning and achievements. In addition, your child will receive an overall result saying whether they have achieved the required standard in the tests (your child's actual results won't be communicated to you unless you ask for them).

Reception Baseline

The Reception Baseline takes place during the first six weeks of your child's reception year. 

The focus of the RBA will be on communication, language and literacy, and maths. It will take around 20 minutes.

The National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) has been chosen as the preferred supplier to design and deliver the RAB and will be running the trial and pilot phases of the assessment and the first two years of its implementation in primary schools.

The RBA data will be used to judge how much progress children have made by the end of KS2 (Year 6 SATs). There will be no "pass" or "fail" or numerical score, and the results of the RBA will not be used to track individual pupils or to judge schools' Foundation Stage performance.

The government has also stated that if the Reception Baseline Assessment check is introduced, children will no longer have to take KS1 SATs when they reach the end of Year 2. It's thought they'll be discontinued in 2023.

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