SATS week for Year 6 in 2016: what parents need to know

Following a review of KS2 SATs published in June 2011 a number of changes are being made to the Year 6 test each year, with the aim of making it fairer for all children. Lord Bew, the author of the report, recommended a greater focus on the progress children make throughout the school year, as opposed to a test-day snapshot of what they know. He also highlighted the value of teacher assessment - after all, who knows your child better than their class teacher? 

KS1         Most SATs assessments at the end of Key Stage One (Year 2) are teacher assessments based on a range of work children have completed over time.                  The children will also be taking tests in Maths and Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar. Throughout the year they have practised this type of paper                  so none of it will be unfamiliar to them.


KS2 SATs papers explained

All Year 6 children are required to take externally-set assessments in English Reading, Grammar and Maths. The papers cover various aspects of the curriculum that the pupils have covered throughout Key Stage 2. In July schools will be informed as to whether each pupil has achieved the expected standard for their age. More information will be made available to schools and we will ensure this is passed on to parents at the earliest opportunity. 

When are the 2016 KS2 SATs tests?

KS2 SATs will be held in the week beginning 9 May 2017. The tests will follow this timetable:



            Monday 9 May


            Tuesday 10 May


          Wednesday 11 May


             Thursday 12 May


Pupils who are ill on the day of a KS2 SATs test will be able to sit it within 2 days.

Teacher assessment in the KS2 SATs

o   The writing will be teacher assessed:- your child’s teacher will assess their writing composition, so your child’s result for English writing will be a judgement of their work across year 6. Your child's grammar, punctuation and spelling skills will be assessed as part of their writing, but their creativity and writing style will also be evaluated.

o    Other subjects, including English speaking and listening, are assessed by teachers rather than by children taking a formal written test. This assessment data is then submitted to the DfE, and is subject to moderation.

o    Children’s progress, as well as their achievement, will be measured and reported on in school performance tables.

o    Teacher assessments will be passed on to secondary schools so they can be used in planning for year 7 teaching.

o    Maths and reading tests will continue to be marked externally and these results will also be available to the Secondary school.


Spelling , Punctuation and  Grammar

As part of the SATs, Year 2 and Year 6 children take an English test in grammar, punctuation and spelling (informally known as the SPAG test.)

‘The Government wants all children to leave primary school with a sound grasp of essential English skills,’ says a Department for Education (DfE) spokesperson. ‘The test will put an additional focus on writing skills and encourage good teaching.’ The DfE has yet to confirm whether children will receive a standalone mark for the SPAG test, or whether it will form part of their overall English level.

 SPAG test includes questions that assess the following elements of the English curriculum:


Sentence grammar through both identifying and writing sentences that are grammatically correct

Punctuation through identifying and writing sentences that are correctly punctuated

Vocabulary through identifying and writing sentences in which a word is used correctly


The SPAG test consists of two papers.

Paper 1 requires multiple choice or short sentence answers, covering areas such as using connectives (because, despite, however, etc), using pronouns (I/me) correctly, capitalising the correct words in a sentence and explaining why, putting the correct punctuation into a given sentence, writing sentences that illustrate two different meanings of the same word (such as ‘present’), identifying the verb/noun/adjective/clauses in a sentence, and using plurals correctly. For example:


Q: Which ending would make the word lazy an adverb? 
A: laziness/lazily/lazier/laziest

Correct answer: lazily

Paper 2 is a spelling test, where children will have to spell words dictated by the examiner (presented within sentences). For example:

Pria turned on the television to watch her favourite cartoon.

 ‘The ability to write with purpose, accuracy and clarity, drawing on a wide range of vocabulary, is integral to success,’ says a DfE spokesperson.


But for your child to do well in the SPAG test, they don’t just have to be good at writing; they also need a technical understanding of how the English language works.

 As well as being able to spell words correctly, use a wide range of vocabulary and punctuate well, they need to grasp the meaning of grammatical terms such as noun, verb, adjective, prefix, pronoun and adverb, know what phrases and clauses are and how to use them, understand what connectives are and how they work, know how to turn a question into a command, and so on.