Year 6 Key Stage 2 SATs Are Changing: Here’s What Parents Need To Know

How are Year 6 SATs Changing?

The Year 6 KS2 SATs will be administered in the week commencing 9 May 2016.

In Summer 2016, children in year 6 will take new SATs test which will no longer produce a level for each subject. Instead, children will be awarded a standardised mark where the score of 100 will represent the National Average. They will sit tests in:

  • Reading
  • Maths
  • Spelling, punctuation and grammar

These tests will be both set and marked externally. The only internal assessment will be writing where children will be marked upon a range of writing styles and genres carried out throughout the year.

In reading, children will sit one single paper where they will have one hour, including reading time, to complete the test. The paper will be based on three different passages of text, each one gaining in difficulty. There will be a range of question types including short answer, labelling and open-ended questions.

The grammar, punctuation and spelling test will consist of two parts: a grammar and punctuation paper requiring short answers, lasting 45 minutes, and an aural spelling test of 20 words, lasting around 15 minutes.

In maths, children will sit three different papers. There is no longer a mental maths test as this has been replaced by an arithmetic test. The arithmetic test lasts for 30 minutes and consists of a range of calculations involving all four rules of numbers, fractions, percentages and decimals. The other two papers last for 40 minutes each and involve questions covering the whole of the new mathematics curriculum. These questions are mainly worded problems and involve different areas of problem solving.

The results for KS2 SATs are sent into school in July 2016.

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Top 10 Books by Black Women that I Read in 2015

Media Diversified

by Claire L. Heuchan

Black women’s writing is often dismissed as niche on the grounds of being ‘Other’ to the canon of white male literature – too racialised, too female, to have *universal appeal (*white). Yet, as Patricia Hill Collins observes, it is this position of outsider that enables Black women to offer a distinct take on how power is structured. All of these books have two things in common: 1) they are brilliant 2) they are extraordinarily perceptive, particularly with observations about power dynamics. The quality of writing means that any reader should enjoy these books, and the lessons within will be of benefit to everyone and anyone. In the hope that others will take as much pleasure in these books as I have, here are the ten best books by Black women that I have read in the last year.


  1. The Icarus Girl, by Helen Oyeyemi


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This much I know about…why putting your family first matters

Families matter but ‘you’ also matter; the pots and pans, the minutiae of your day, what you think when you look in the mirror. The change in another is a catalyst but moments of epiphany are everywhere.


I have been a teacher for 25 years, a dad for 17 years, a Headteacher for 10 years and, at the age of 49, this much I know about why putting your family first matters.

To publish this has been a tough call. After a week of talking it through with him, my son Joe agreed to me posting this article. The tipping point came when one of my closest colleagues read it and said, It MUST be published at some point soon because too many of us are working ourselves into the ground. Joe remarked that what happened to him and me probably happens to lots of people…


An Arthur Miller Life Lesson

“People are much more similar than you think. As I go around the world and ask those I meet what matters most to them, they all say their family comes first.” So said the CEO of Barclays, Antony Jenkins, to…

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School Homework: the quick pros and cons

“With homework, school prepares students for overtime. With reports, it prepares them for payday.”
― Mokokoma Mokhonoana

Homework: here’s a subject that causes as much upset for educators as it does for parents and students.

Does homework work? How should it be set? How much is good? Should parents help?

In the last week, I can cite two examples of homework being set one day which were due in the next, contravening the school’s policy on homework; one homework which involved making a poster supporting Hitler’s policies; and a number of MyMaths exercises where the student really didn’t understand the topics in the first place and found it very difficult to learn them just by attempting online questions with barely any support.

A 2002 National Foundation for Educational Research article by Caroline Sharp suggests homework has a “positive effect” on achievement for Secondary pupils and can be helpful for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds. However, Primary schools aiming to raise achievement by setting more homework “could be disappointed”.

More recently, in January 2014, a survey of 2000 parents for the Bett Education and Technology show, revealed that around 500 thought their children’s homework too hard while around 1300 said they had been unable to help at times it was so hard!

Homework is a really contentious issue and not just for a grumpy parent and an even grumpier child at the kitchen table.

On the plus side, homework is great for practise; revising skills with which students are familiar and building confidence is an excellent strategy. The brain, just like the body, needs to repeat activities to achieve results.

Homework is also good for developing personal study skills. Organising, working to a deadline, and concentrating independently are all great life skills (or preparation for drudgery if you go with the rather depressing headline quote).

Homework can also be a great way to engage parents. Yes you read that correctly! Parents get a chance to view another aspect of their children. They can understand better what motivates them and what they are really interested in.

Should we help our children with their homework? Many parents do and so have I. There is a big difference between being asked for help and giving pointers and actually doing the work, however me sticking my oar in can cause friction and I think the teacher would rather know how well my daughter is doing than how well I know the subject. I want my daughter to know her own limits and learn independence so I’m going to be helping a lot less.

What do you think? Comment below or have a say on twitter or on my page on Facebook

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What to say and what not to say to students

In response to the BBC article on what not to say to exam stressed teens, here’s a few personal and unresearched notes on what might work. Any further ideas gratefully received!
Want a cuppa? Support is what is needed. Not targets, or rewards (they don’t work), not incentives. Something small and kind, something personal and human and has no agenda and is all about the moment.
Your exams are a stepping stone. A university lecturer got me through my finals with this. This current exam is not the be all and end all. It is not a final comment on the student as a person. It’s a practical step to the next level; important and yet not so important.
Want to go for a walk? When a friend commented a while back that they seemed to get much more information out of their child when driving somewhere or walking the dog, we realised that being side by side is much less threatening and much more conducive to good conversation for teens than the classic meeting across the kitchen table.
In fact, don’t talk or ask: listen! Listen to anything and everything they have to say. And when you’ve listened, listen some more.
I wrote this not as instruction but as a reminder to myself! Oh and I wrote it quickly. Please comment back or add to the discussion as any ideas would make a great handout to parents. Thanks!
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A letter to Nicky Morgan

When the Education Secretary question the validity of education, you have to wonder what on earth is happening in politics!

The Bell Jar: Jo Bell's blog

Here’s what our education secretary said recently at a conference to promote science and technology learning. Here’s my reply.

Dear Ms Morgan –

I left school in 1986. I did two humanities degrees. Jobs, as you may recall, were not thick on the ground. I did a business course first, not because I wanted to but because, oddly enough, I didn’t know what else to do. I thought it would give me a solid, useful career in which I could contribute to the national economy and make my father happy.

Then I came to my senses. I ran away from the business course, which made me want to kill myself and a number of other people, and did two humanities degrees. I spent eighteen happy, poorly-paid years in archaeology. My specialist field was – as it happens – the archaeology of industry, and particularly of mining, which was so vital…

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‘Telling off’ from the viewpoint of a mother of a child with learning difficulties. Who does it really serve? What are the consequences?

The Diary of a Not So Ordinary Boy

I want to preface this piece with a link to this post by a young teacher friend of mine on the art of telling children off.  We teachers do a lot of this, some of us indeed, seem to do nothing but, and it seemed to me, from my perspective of not only a teacher of children with SEN in a mainstream primary school but also a mother of a son with significant, if not profound learning difficulties, that I could add a little something extra, spread the light of understanding a little wider by introducing you to my ‘World of Challenging Behaviour’.

We are one of the lucky ones.

Sometimes I feel a bit sorry for the children I teach.  Oh, I don’t mean that I’m a total cowbag who eats children for breakfast in the manner of Miss Trunchbull, or that I am so lackadaisical that I never…

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