In the Summer term of year 2, your child will sit four Key Stage 1 SATs (Standard Assessment Tests) in English and maths. As there are also two optional national tests in Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar, your child could sit as many as six formal test papers.
The SATs are marked by teachers, then moderated by local authorities who sample 25% of schools each year. Currently, the results are then used to measure pupils’ progress between year 2 and year 6. Schools are then judged on the basis of these scores.
The government plans to make KS1 SATs non-compulsory in schools from 2023 when its plans to test children in reception instead are fully rolled-out. But year 2 tests would not disappear: the government will still provide test materials and many schools will use them.
Six- and seven-year-olds are too young to sit formal tests, and teachers and schools should not be judged on the basis of data collected under these conditions.
Ofsted has noted that the primary curriculum is narrowing because some schools are focusing too much on preparing for SATs.
Researchers have linked formal testing in year 2 to teaching practices which actually hold back children’s learning. On the basis of SATs results, children in many schools are placed in sets for English and maths for the rest of primary school. This can affect children’s self-esteem and lower teachers’ expectations.