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SATs (Year 2 & 6)

• Maths • English

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.

LevelKS1 SATs (Year 2)KS2 SATs (Year 6)KeyS3 SATs (Year 9)
Level 8                    Exceptional
Level 7Beyond expectations
Level 6ExceptionalAt expected level
Level 5Beyond expectations
Level 4ExceptionalAt expected levelBelow expectations
Level 3Beyond expectationsBelow expectations
Level 2At expected level
Level 1Below expectations

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.

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).

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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