Will KS1 Sats really be scrapped in 2023?

The abolition of key stage 1 Sats has sparked much debate – Tes’ primary guru answers the key questions

Helen Ward

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Why is it planned that KS1 Sats won't be scrapped until 2023?

The key stage 1 tests are currently used as the starting point to measure children’s progress during primary school. The proposed baseline assessment in Reception would begin in autumn 2020. But the children beginning school in autumn 2020 (who are currently one-year-olds) will not be at the end of Year 2 until summer 2023 – and so the key stage 1 tests will remain in place until then.

In its consultation response, the government said: “While the majority of respondents agreed that the current key stage 1 baseline based on the teacher assessment data is not as robust as it could be, there was still agreement that this should continue as the progress measure for the interim years, given the need for as much as stability as possible until the new progress measures are established.”

But will the KS1 tests definitely end in 2023?

The government has said it will make assessments at the end of KS1 “as soon as the Reception baseline assessment has become fully established”. So the 2023 date is an intention – but one which depends on the Reception baseline being introduced.

So if the Reception baseline does work, there will be no tests?

There will be no statutory tests, but schools will be expected to assess pupils to provide information to parents. To support schools in this, optional KS1 tests will be available. Schools can use these tests as they see fit but the government is intending to “periodically sample” KS1 assessment data from a "small, representative sample" of schools. The data will be used to provide a national picture and will not be used to hold schools to account.

And what about infant schools? Presumably, they’ll have to keep doing KS1 Sats?

There is much concern over the possibility of 88,000 children in infant schools having to sit statutory KS1 tests while those in primary schools do not. Some are in favour of keeping KS1 tests as the progress measure for infant schools while others back the idea of holding infant and junior schools jointly to account for their pupils’ progress scores. But the government said even those who preferred the second option “acknowledged that this could lead to greater resentment between these schools in some cases.”

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Helen Ward

Helen Ward

Helen Ward is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @teshelen

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