Key Stage 1 SATs (Year 2)

Key Stage 2 SATs (Year 6)

The New SATs Grading System

What are SATs?

SATs is the acronym for Scholastic Assessment (or aptitude) Test. SATs were introduced in 1990 and have gone through several transformations.

The new SATs came into effect in 2016, in line with the changes in The National Curriculum in 2014.

In the old SATs, at the end of Year 6, the average attainment was set at level 4c, with the highest level being a 6. The new SATs use a point system, similar to the 11 plus exam standardised score.

To pass the SATs, the child has to achieve 100 points. The range is between 80 and 120, with 120 being the highest achievable. The understanding is that 100 is the equivalent to the old 4b (a sub-level higher than the old SATs and the ‘average’ score).


Here are the KS2 SATs results for 2019. (2020 and 2021 tests were cancelled due to COVID-19):

  • 65% of pupils met the expected standard in reading, writing and maths combined.


  • Reading- 73% of pupils achieved the expected standard
  • Writing – 78% of pupils achieved the expected standard
  • Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling (GPS) – 78% of pupils achieved the expected standard


  • 79% of pupils achieved the expected standard.

Maths and English combined:

  • 65% of pupils achieved the expected standard


Click here to view the SATs results from 2016 to 2019


Who sets the tests?

The tests are set by The Standards and Testing Agency; a government body and part of the DofE. The Standards and Testing Agency are responsible (amongst other things) for providing assessment and moderation until the end of KS2.

Why do schools have SATs?

SATs are a statutory requirement.

Every school is legally obliged to assess children at the end of   KS1 and KS2. This helps the government to measure the progress being made locally, regionally and nationally.

Why are SATs important?

SATs are used to measure not only each child’s progress during their time in primary school but also to measure each school’s performance in the core subjects of English and maths.

For government purposes

They measure the four cognitive domains:

  1. Depth of understanding
  2. Computational complexity
  3. Spatial reasoning and data interpretation
  4. Response strategy

For school purposes

They help schools mark and record the progress they have made over the year as well as to measure themselves against other schools.

SATs results are also a useful indicator for secondary schools as it gives secondary schools a starting point for each child so that they are put into the correct set. The SATs results can be used alongside the CAT tests (which are very similar to non-verbal reasoning tests used in the 11 plus exams).

For pupil purposes

SATs results are a measure of your child’s progress and highlight the areas that need improvement.


How are they marked?

KS1 papers are marked by the class teacher.

KS2 papers are externally marked and the scores are returned to each school. These scores along with teacher assessments are used.


Who sits the tests?

Currently, all children in Year 2 (KS1) and all children in Year 6 (KS2) sit the tests. 


What is tested?

The tests will reflect what has been taught in the key stage and are based on The National Curriculum.

The tests must follow The Test Framework guidelines. The DofE states that the purpose of the framework is:

  • hold schools accountable for the attainment and progress made by their pupils
  • inform parents and secondary schools about the performance of individual pupils
  • enable benchmarking between schools, as well as monitoring performance locally and nationally.


Key Stage 1 SATs:

KS1 children will be tested on all their learning in year 1 and year 2 in maths and year 1 and year 2 in English in May of when they are in year 2.

Key Stage 2 SATs:

In KS2 children will be tested on what they learnt in year 5 and year 6. All children will be tested in English and Maths in May of when they are in year 6.

Science is tested at key stage 2 but is done as a representative sample, so around 10,000 children are selected for this.


How will my child be tested?

Most schools will create exam conditions, so the children may sit in the hall in full exam conditions. It means there are no distractions, and the administration of the tests is also easier for the school.


What is the test format?

Click on the links below to view the format of the SATs papers:

Format of the Year 2 (KS1) SATs

Format of the Year 6 (KS2) SATs


When do I get the results?

This may vary slightly from school to school. All schools will get the results on 9th July, so when you are told will depend on the format (it might be verbal, an individual sheet or end of year school report).


How will I know if my child has passed?

From 2016, the old levels were replaced with this new scoring system. To pass, a score of 100 needs to be achieved. Remember that the score range is from 80 to 120.

What that means is that is a child score below 100, they are not working to the expected standard. If this is the case, the school may provide or suggest additional support of some sort. If your child has achieved 100, then they are working to expected standards, and above 100 means they are working above expected standards. To look at the tables of conversion from raw scores, please click on the link below:

Year 6 (KS2) SATs


My child scored below 100. What do I do?

If this is the case, then in the first instance, speak to your child’s teacher. He/she may provide or suggest additional support of some sort. Alongside speaking to the teacher or contact us and we can help.


My child has achieved 100. Do I need to do anything?

If your child has achieved 100, then they are working to expected standards. You do not need to do anything is you are happy with that score. If you wish your child to do better than average, then contact us and we can help.


My child has achieved above 100. Do I need to do anything?

Well done! Above 100 means they are working above expected standards (the average). If you are happy with the score, then keep doing what you are doing. If you require further help for your child to do even better, then contact us and we can help.

Click here to look at the tables of conversion from raw scores.


If you have any queries about the new national tests, there is a government-led National Curriculum Assessment Helpline which you can contact via email or telephone.


Telephone: 0300 303 3013


How can Redbridge Tuition help?

At Redbridge Tuition, we run SATs courses, which typically begin in January. This is because the SATs are testing more than the current year’s learning.  The tests consolidate everything learnt in previous years.

The DofE wants to see the progress made in the last 2 years that the child has spent in each key stage.

At Redbridge Tuition, when preparing children for SATs, we will look at the different areas that are being tested and help every child to revise, assimilate and practice to make sure they are ready and confident to take their exam.

Book now to secure your child a space.

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