Building and boosting vocabulary to improve results in reading and grammar tests

Thanks to Ruth Duckworth  for the following article.

One of the areas that has been identified as a weakness for Year 6 pupils taking end of Key Stage 2 reading tests relates to content domain 2a: ‘give or explain the meaning of words in context’.  This is an ongoing concern for teachers, as 20% of the questions on the 2017 reading SATs paper focused on this domain.

Further reaching than Year 6, teachers from Year 2 and across Key Stage 2 know that the increased pitch of vocabulary in both English reading and grammar, punctuation and spelling test papers is a challenge for many pupils – especially when undertaking more formal SATs type format tests (whether half-termly or at the end of each term).  It is therefore imperative to read widely with all children, plan English lessons around high quality texts, and also explicitly teach new vocabulary in context across wider curriculum subjects. Continue reading →

Teacher assessment frameworks at the end of KS1 and KS2

On 14th February 2018, the DfE updated the KS1 and KS2 teacher assessment frameworks for 2017/2018.

Changes to KS1 for 2017-2018

  • Revised teacher assessment frameworks in English writing, which include:
    • A more flexible approach – teachers can now use their discretion to ensure that a particular weakness does not prevent an accurate judgement of a pupil’s attainment overall being made.
    • Revised ‘pupil can’ statements –  a greater emphasis on composition, whilst statements relating to the more ‘technical’ aspects of English writing are less prescriptive.
  • ‘Pupil can’ statements for English reading, maths and science are unchanged. Continue reading →

National Curriculum Assessments at Key Stage 2

On 14th December, the DfE released the revised results of the KS2 national curriculum assessments, and a summary of school level results.

Summary of 2017 KS2 national curriculum assessments

  • This year, 61% of pupils reached the expected standard in reading, writing and mathematics, compared to 53% in 2016, an increase of 8 percentage points.
  • Over half of schools (57%) have attainment proportions of at least the national average.
  • At the higher standard, 9% reached the higher standard in reading, writing and mathematics in 2017, compared to 5% in 2016.
  • In 2017, 65% of girls achieved the expected standard in all of reading, writing and mathematics compared to 57% of boys.
  • There are fewer schools below the floor standard in 2017. 511 schools are below the floor standard (4% of state funded, mainstream schools), compared to 665 school (5%) in 2016.
  • More schools fell within the coasting definition this year – 524 schools (4%) which is a 10 percent increase on 477 schools (3%) defined as coasting in 2016.

Continue reading →

KS2 National Curriculum Assessment Results

On 31st August the DfE released the results of the KS2 national curriculum assessments and information about the 2017 performance tables.


2017 KS2 SATs results

This year there has been an increase in the proportion of pupils achieving both the expected standard and the higher standard in reading, writing and mathematics, compared with 2016.

The proportion of pupil’s achieving the expected standard has increased by 8 percentage points, from 53% in 2016 to 61% in 2017, and those attaining the higher standard has also increased from 5% to 9%. Continue reading →

Reflections on the 2017 SATs in KS2

Thanks to Joanna Keelan, Year 6 Teacher at Walton-le-Dale Primary School for the following article

I believe the new style SATs tests are challenging, which all of us in the profession knew when the new curriculum came out in 2014. Little did we know how challenging until SATs in 2016, however, the tests the children sat this year, gave all abilities in that year a chance to show their ability.

It does not stop the pressure the staff in Year 6 feel, when trying to prepare the children for these tests.  We want to give them the best chance of showing a true reflection of their knowledge, and in the time scale we’ve got, for some children it is impossible.  We are lucky enough in our environment, to have two strong TAs placed in year 6 full time, who take children out for interventions in more specific areas.  I truly believe this makes all the difference.

Continue reading →

What can we learn from the 2017 KS2 reading and grammar test?

What can we learn from the 2017 KS2 reading and grammar test?

Thanks for Shareen Mayers for the following article.

After the challenging reading paper in 2016, many teachers were pleasantly surprised by the 2017 reading paper. The questions seemed to be a little more accessible and the texts appeared to be more relevant to year 6 pupils, especially the English Channel text. Shareen Mayers shares some of her key top tips for teachers and schools!

You can view the 2017 test papers here.


1. Explicitly teach new vocabulary

Once again, the KS2 reading paper had a huge percentage of questions focussed on understanding vocabulary in context (20%). This was the same percentage as last year but some of the words were more familiar. Interestingly, the vocabulary used are all linked to the KS1 and KS2 spelling rules. For example, -ed words, -al words, -ous words and -ing words. Therefore, the spelling rules can also be used to support the pitch of vocabulary that teachers need to expose pupils to in every year group. Please see my blog on vocabulary in the KS2 reading paper. Continue reading →

Department for Education publicly release test materials from this year’s Key Stage 2 national tests

On 22nd May 2017 the Department for Education have publicly released the test materials from this year’s Key Stage 2 national tests.  These include test papers and mark schemes for Maths, English reading and English grammar, spelling and punctuation sat by KS2 pupils in May 2017. Continue reading →

Key Stage 2 National Tests 2017: Thoughts and feedback from Deputy Head Michael Tidd

Thanks to Michael Tidd for this article.

Well, that’s that all over with for another year! After all the hard work – of both teachers and students – over the past months and years, the SATs finally came and went. So what did we make of them? It certainly could have been worse!


Those of us who suffered through the traumas of the Reading test of 2016 were prepared for the worst on Monday, and in most cases were pleasantly surprised. That’s not to say that it was easy, but it did at least feel fair. In 2016 even the first text seemed designed to cause nightmares for us all, and the first few questions didn’t help. For 2017 we were treated to a tolerable, if not gripping, text about a cat in a tree and some multiple choice questions to ease us in.

My one complaint? Dropping a bit of Spanish into a reading test seems a little unfair. If you speak Spanish fluently or not at all, then maybe it’s not so bad, but how many Year 6 children up and down the country spent valuable seconds trying to translate the Spanish based on their rudimentary Key Stage 2 knowledge?


On Tuesday morning I was praying to the spelling gods for kind words. And then they gave us ‘coarse’. But first, the grammar to get through. For the second day in a row I found myself using the word “fair”. I tend not to look too closely at what children are writing during tests, because it only upsets me, but with the grammar test, the first answer I doubted when looking over somebody’s shoulder turned out to be correct: I’d not read the question properly! Continue reading →