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What do national assessments look in a primary school?

SATs, or national curriculum assessments SATs, or national curriculum assessments, are assessments of primary pupils’ progress and attainment. They are currently completed at the end of key stage one (infant phase) and key stage two (end of primary/ junior phase). 2022/23 is the last year of statutory assessment at the end of key stage one. Key stage two SATs will continue. At key stage two, the tests are more formal and school-level results are normally published in national performance tables allowing for comparison with other schools. These are often known as league tables. SATs cover core academic subjects – English, maths, and science.


Statutory Baseline Assessment in Reception Class

Since September 2021 children in state-funded primary and infant schools now take a new baseline assessment within the first six weeks of entering reception class. This focuses on maths, language, communication and literacy. The results will be used as the starting point to assess how much progress schools are making with their pupils. Results for individual children or schools are not published.

Year 1 Phonics Screening Check

Phonics screening check Children in year one, which is usually the second year of primary education, also take a phonics screen to check their ability to decode words. They complete the screen again in year two if they don’t reach the expected standard in year one.

Key Stage 1

It is anticipated that the majority of children will reach the National Standard for Year 2, a smaller number of children will exceed this standard, and a small number will still be working towards it. SAT's for Ks1 are now optional for schools to administer. 

Year 4 Multiplication Tables Check

Since the 2021/22 academic year, all qualifying schools have administered an online multiplication tables check for children in year four (normally aged eight or nine). This tests recall of times tables up to 12.

Key Stage 2

Lots of you may have heard of the expression ‘Secondary Ready’ as the standard children must achieve by the end of Year 6. The DfE have slightly distanced themselves from this phrase and are talking about children reaching the National Standard for Year 6. Similar to Year 2 there will be some children who may be exceeding the standard and some children who are still working towards it.

The below leaflet from the DfE is a useful source of information. 

Information_for_parents_-_2023_national_curriculum_tests_at_the_end_of_key_stages_1_and_2.pdf (