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National curriculum assessments

Statutory National Curriculum Assessments (formerly known as SATs) are taken by most school pupils in English and maths. 

Key Stage 1

At the end of year 1 children's use of sounds for reading and writing (phonics) is assessed by the teacher and reported to parents.

Key Stage 1 assessments usually take place during the summer term of school year 2, the year in which pupils turn seven years old.  The assessments are made by the child’s teacher based on their knowledge of the child’s achievements and the results of set tasks and mini-tests. 

Pupils are then awarded a national curriculum level of ability in maths, science, reading, writing, speaking and listening.

Key Stage 2

Pupils usually take Key Stage 2 assessments and tests in year 6 (the year in which they turn 11 years old). However, the critical factor is not the age of the child but whether they have completed the key stage – most children finish at the ages stated but some finish earlier and some later.  

The tests are taken in the summer term under exam conditions.  Teachers prepare their pupils usually through mock tests so they get used to working in exam conditions.  There are tests for reading and maths with teacher assessment for writing.

Test results

Assessment and test results are sent to parents by the end of the summer term and the government publishes school performance tables in November every year. 

Pupils with learning difficulties

There are 'access arrangements' available to enable children with additional needs to access the tests, such as additional time and (in some tests) teachers can read parts of the test paper aloud. 

Parents should speak to their child’s teacher or the school’s special needs co-ordinator (SENCO) before the tests.