“The pupils do the 2017 and 2016 papers, but we do not call them mock tests,” says Sinead Gaffney, deputy head of Lydgate Infant School in Sheffield, of the school’s approach to test preparation.
“It is an opportunity to practise the skills they need for the test. It gives them practice in not ticking one box if they are asked to give two reasons for something.
“We will make them be quiet when we do it, in the same way we do for the real ones. We will sit with the kids afterwards and look through it together with them.”
She says that the teachers also prepare children through exercises, such as creating questions on the topics children are learning about, which look like Sats questions. “I see that as good reading comprehension. It is not outside the good teaching of reading,” she says.
“I understand why, in some contexts, you have to spend a lot more time teaching children to do the tests. In our context, we don’t do that as much. The whole thing is a light-touch event.”