Primary Exams – What to expect

Parent’s are very aware of GCSE’s which occur in Year 11. Many parents know to expect the SAT’s in Year 6 but do you know the other Government planned assessments? However, how many of you know what other exams or checks occur in primary school and what to expect?

In this blog we will look at when to expect these exams and what they will include. The most important thing to remember is that none of these exams are labelled as pass or fail – so please don’t panic or worry your child.

The Government uses the data to look at how well the individual schools are teaching children across the country; as well as ensuring children are consistently meeting similar criteria deemed to be essential for starting Secondary School. In some situations, such as the phonics screening test children are asked to repeat the test a year later to see if any gaps in learning have been filled – this is only ever repeated once and if they do not meet the Government criteria then no further assessment is taken.

If you have any questions around exams please do get in touch, we are always happy to help – contact us

Key Stage One

Year 1

In Year 1 all pupils undertake the phonics screening check. Children go one at a time with an adult that they know and are asked to read a number of words; these include ‘alien’ and real words. Thus, assessing how children segment (break up the spelling using their phonics) and then how they blend (merge the sounds, form the word) them back together again. This assessment checks to see which of the phonic sounds children are confident with. The school should then use this information to plan their phonic groups and needs for Year 2.

Reading with your child can help their phonetic knowledge. Another good website to use is Phonics Play or BBC. Both break down the sounds, teaching both parents and children how to say words correctly. In addition, they provide games to practice blending and segmenting the sounds.

Phonic screening tests take place in early June.

Year 2

Optional Year 2 SATs take place during May.

As of 2024 Schools can choose if they will take part in the Year 2 SATs with no results being reported to the Department of Education (DfE). For those schools still using the assessment the children may undertake Reading, Writing and Maths assessments with schools often work hard to conduct these in small groups, with adults that the children know, to ensure that the least amount of pressure is placed on them. These are meant to be a tool to identify gaps in learning and helps schools build a plan of educational next steps rather than a judgement on a child.

Key Stage Two

Year 4

This is a new assessment, which should have started in June 2020 but was delayed due to Covid. This computer based assessment will provide each Year 4 pupil with 25 multiplication questions from any times table 2 – 12. However, there will be an emphasis on tables deemed to be more difficult, including the 6, 7, 8, 9 and 12 time tables.

The children will have 6 seconds to answer each question and they will only need to type in the answer. They do not need to push enter or click next.

To find out more about the multiplication screening check take a look at our Multiplication blog.

Multiplication checks are taken over three weeks starting in early June.

Year 6

This is often the assessment that parents are aware of. Secondary Schools often use Year 6 SATs results to inform the group your child will start in. The school informs the parents of the final SATs score through an average system. The score you receive is between 80 and 120 with the average being 100. The Government looks at how many children score at least 100 in Reading, Writing and Maths. Followed by how many achieved at least 100 in all three subjects, giving the school a combined score.

Find out more in our SATs blog.

Year 6 SATs are undertaken between for a week normally the second week of May.

Supporting Your Child

There are a number of ways to support your child through the different assessments. Most importantly, is a calm environment, these tests are a good and important insight to check that your child has no learning gaps but adding pressure or negative messages will not help them focus and do their best.

Reading is key, the more you read and discuss texts the better understanding they will have of books, the world around them, writing styles and even interrupting maths questions. Another great way to support learning is to follow their interests. Use numbers, words and everyday situations to look at learning. Discuss prime numbers as you walk past houses, look at the bus numbers and discuss how you make a certain number. Play games such as Bogle or Scrabble to improve spellings and word meanings. Anything can be turned into a game, a discussion and a learning opportunity.

Some parents seek professional help through a tutor. This is a great way to ensure that specific gaps within learning are being filled. Although meeting the Government expectation is not a requirement, ensuring a solid foundation of knowledge before your child starts Secondary School can be important. A good tutor or teacher can help with this.

Do you need help?

Growing Young Minds are experts at support children and their families through exams. We have experience of teaching and preparing children for these exams but also we have years of experience supporting families through the process. Tuition allows children feel confident about the upcoming exam but with us they do that in a fun and supportive environment – our reviews prove it!

Want to find out how we can help you? Complete our registration form or contact us.

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