Key Stage 2 SATs in 2021: A Guide for Parents

Published: 08 Sep 20
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The Year 6 KS2 SATs will be administered in the week commencing 10 May 2021. The timetable is as follows:

Monday 10 May 2021 and Tuesday 11 May 2021 
English grammar, punctuation and spelling Paper 1: questions 
English grammar, punctuation and spelling Paper 2: spelling 
English reading

Wednesday 12 May 2021
Mathematics Paper 1: arithmetic 
Mathematics Paper 2: reasoning

Thursday 13 May 2021 
Mathematics Paper 3: reasoning

More rigorous SATs test the new National Primary Curriculum, which has been taught in schools since 2014.  (SATs stands for Scholastic Aptitude Test or Scholastic Assessment Test) 

SATs tests have been designed to give a measure of attainment in three subjects areas: 

  • reading 
  • maths 
  • spelling, punctuation and grammar

These tests are set and marked externally, and the results are used to measure the school’s performance (for example, through reporting to Ofsted and published league tables). Your child’s marks are used, in conjunction with their teacher's assessment, to give a broad picture of their levels of attainment.

The Key Stage 1 SATs tests are taken in Year 2; and the Key Stage 2 tests are taken in Year 6. 

These new tests are more demanding and rigorous than previous SATs and the results are not comparable to previous years. 

In prior years, attainment at the end of KS2 was measured in levels, with level 4c being the average expected. In these new SATs the expected level is set to be 100, with scores ranging from 80 to 120. Any score above 100 is regarded as a pass and any under as a fail.

It is generally understood that 100 in the new SATs would equate to level 4b in the old SATs, which confirms that the new SATs have a higher standard.


The reading test is a single paper with questions based on three passages of text. Your child will have one hour, including reading time, to complete the test. There are a selection of question types, including:

  • Ranking/ordering, e.g. ‘Number the events below to show the order in which they happen in the story’ 
  • Labelling, e.g. ‘Label the text to show the title of the story’ 
  • Find and copy, e.g. ‘Find and copy one word that suggests what the weather is like in the story’ 
  • Short constructed response, e.g. ‘What does the bear eat?’ 
  • Open-ended response, e.g. ‘Look at the sentence that begins Once upon a time. How does the writer increase the tension throughout this paragraph? Explain fully, referring to the text in your answer.’


The grammar, punctuation and spelling test consists 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. The grammar and punctuation test includes two sub-types of questions:

  • Selected response, e.g. ‘Identify the adjectives in the sentence below’ 
  • Constructed response, e.g. ‘Correct/complete/rewrite the sentence below,’ or, ‘The sentence below has an apostrophe missing. Explain why it needs an apostrophe.’ 


Children sit three papers in maths:

  • Paper 1: arithmetic, 30 minutes 
  • Papers 2 and 3: reasoning, 40 minutes per paper 

Paper 1 consists of fixed response questions, where children have to give the correct answer to calculations, including long multiplication and division. Papers 2 and 3 will involve a number of question types, including:

  • Multiple choice 
  • True or false 
  • Constrained questions, e.g. giving the answer to a calculation, drawing a shape or completing a table or chart 
  • Less constrained questions, where children will have to explain their approach for solving a problem 


Not all children in Year 6 take science SATs. However, a number of schools will be required to take part in science sampling: a test administered to a selected sample of children thought to be representative of the population as a whole. For those who are selected, there are three papers:

  • Biology: 25 minutes, 22 marks 
  • Chemistry: 25 minutes, 22 marks 
  • Physics: 25 minutes, 22 marks 

For example:

Biology: ‘Describe the differences in the life cycle of an amphibian and a mammal’

Chemistry: ‘Group a list of materials according to whether they are solid, liquid or gas’

Physics: ‘Predict whether two magnets will attract or repel each other, based on where the poles are facing’

Teachers To your Home provides SATs Tutors who are all fully-qualified and experienced Primary Teachers; subject-specialists, professional, energetic and up-to-date with the current demands of a changing Primary Curriculum and the requrements for Year 2 KS1 and Year 6 KS2 SATs Examinations. Lessons are taught at your home and are scheduled at your convenience; whether weekdays, evenings or weekends. If you are considering tuition for your child and would welcome some further facts, professional advice or teaching support, please feel free to speak with us on 03300 580908. Our offices are open from 9am until 7pm each weekday and from 10am until 2pm on Saturday

Our Primary KS1 and KS2 SATs teachers provide high quality SATs tuition right across the UK including: Bath, Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, Cambridge, Cardiff. Chelmsford, Chester, Coventry, Derby, Durham, Exeter, Gloucester, Hereford, Hull, Lancaster, Leeds, Leicester, Lincoln, Liverpool, London, Manchester, Newcastle, Norwich, Nottingham, Oxford, Peterborough, Plymouth, Portsmouth,Salisbury, Sheffield, Solihull, Southampton, Swansea, Truro, Wakefield, Winchester, Wolverhampton, Worcester, York

We can find you qualified teachers in your area for home or online tuition