Are KS2 SATs Important?

Do you have a child coming towards the end of their primary education journey? Are you considering whether SATs are as important as some make them out to be?

Teachers, parents and the media have a lot to say about SATs and it can be difficult to separate fact from opinion.

Table of Contents

What are KS2 SATs?

KS2 (Key Stage 2) SATs are compulsory national tests for all Year 6 pupils in England. The tests challenge children's English and Maths skills in comprehension, spelling, problem-solving and more.

SATs are compulsory national tests for all Year 6 pupils
SATs are compulsory national tests for all Year 6 pupils

Are KS2 SATs actually important?

Yes, KS2 SATs are important to both children and schools.

KS2 SATs measure children's individual achievement. However, across an entire year group, KS2 SATs provide insight into individual schools.

Why are the KS2 SATs important for my child?

KS2 SATs are important for your child for several reasons.

  • KS2 SATs show the progress your child has made in English and Mathematics throughout their primary education. Poor progress is normally shown in poor SATs results.

  • KS2 SATs offer a valuable introduction to formal exams and the experience will help prepare them for future exams such as GCSEs.

  • SATs results are often used by secondary schools for academic streaming and future grade predictions. They are also submitted to independent and grammar schools.

How are SATs important to schools?

  • KS2 SATs results are published widely and schools are ranked online.

  • SATs results are an indicator of a school's overall effectiveness and offer a measure of progress for each child. Poor SATs results can mean poor leadership and/or poor quality of teaching.

  • Individual results let secondary school teachers check whether a child has made the expected progress.

  • SATs results allow the DfE (Department for Education) to draw valuable comparisons between schools with different geographical and socioeconomical compositions. For example, do schools in wealthy areas always do better? Do cities have higher academic results than rural areas?

  • Ofsted (Office for Standards in Education) look at SATs results and pupil progress to help inform their judgements during school inspections.

  • SATs scores, along with CATs, are used for academic streaming for English and Mathematics and setting future academic targets.

Can my child fail SATs?

No, children cannot fail their KS2 SATs tests.

SATs represent the academic climax of primary school
SATs represent the academic climax of primary school

SATs are used to check whether your child has achieved age-related expectations for English and Mathematics.

Once all the SATs papers are marked, your child will be awarded a scaled score between 80 and 120. A score of 100 (or more) means that your child has met (or exceeded) the expected standard.

What will happen if my child does not pass SATs?

Children are not expected to repeat their KS2 SATs if they do not achieve the expected standards.

Children are not required to re-take their SATs
Children are not required to re-take their SATs

Results are shared with your child's secondary school. If deemed necessary, measures will be put in place to support your child when they start.

SATs and Exam Stress

For some parents and children, the formal exam conditions used for SATs might feel particularly daunting. As a result, their scores may not be an accurate indication of their progress and ability. Hence, their targets may be updated once they begin secondary school and show their true ability.

While SATs are important, parents and teachers should avoid putting too much pressure on children to achieve a particular score. Your child is 'more than a score' and it is vital to remember that SATs only measure progress in English and mathematics. SATs cannot measure unique talents, sporting ability and other valuable qualities such as kindness and resilience.

No need to feel overly stressed
No need to feel overly stressed

Having said that, it's also important that parents resist the urge to protect their children from all judgement. Remember, children in Year 6 are growing up very quickly (far faster than in previous generations). In no time at all they will be attending secondary school, making new friends and becoming a young adult. We should strike a balance and work to empower children rather than just protect them.

Perhaps most important is that SATs shouldn't be considered a bad thing! In fact, there are plenty of good things about SATs.


  • KS2 SATs are important to your child and their school.

  • KS2 SATs offer invaluable examination experience for your child.

  • SATs provide important data to help measure the effectiveness of primary schools.

  • KS2 SATs offer secondary schools reliable data to inform target setting and streaming.

  • Children cannot fail their KS2 SATs.

  • Some children may find the prospect of KS2 SATs quite stressful.

  • KS2 SATs cannot measure everything, your child is more than a score.


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