Over the years I've been asked to write articles to support teachers through the KS2 SATs process. In the lead up to the 2022 Key Stage 2 tests I thought I'd share some of my top tips for the coming week. If you want to read more I've included the links to the original articles below each tip. Don’t forget your teacher wellbeing Make sure that in the lead-up to KS2 SATs week you stay connected with your friends and family, consider where you can fit in a bit of exercise (even if you have to park the car and walk the last bit of the way to work), notice the beauty of nature around you, attempt to learn something new to keep your mind preoccupied by something else and volunteer – even if it’s only something small like helping someone with a lesson idea. For more top tips about being ready for SATs check out this article I wrote for Third Space Learning: https://thirdspacelearning.com/blog/dear-year-6-teacher-pre-sats-weeks-preparation-for-best-chance/ Be explicit in your positive messages for KS2 SATs First and foremost, you don’t want your pupils to experience the week of tests negatively, and this very much depends on how you prepare them. Hopefully you’ve already spent a year ensuring that you are not putting unnecessary pressure on them. The weeks after Easter can be spent putting the icing on the cake, so to speak. So be realistic with your positivity: ground everything you are saying in reality by reminding them they’re only being tested on what you have taught them, on what they already know. Plus, tell them how hard they have worked this year and how you have ensured that they have learnt and revised everything they need to know for their assessments. This tip is taken from an article I wrote for Third Space Learning; you can read it here: https://thirdspacelearning.com/blog/dear-year-6-teacher-pre-sats-weeks-preparation-for-best-chance/ Emphasise the arts In a time so seemingly focused on maths and English, don't forget the other subjects. Make time for some relaxing arts-based activities: sing and dance for pleasure (before you are forced to do it in endless rehearsals for the leavers' play), paint and draw (preferably outside - Sats week weather always seems to be tauntingly beautiful), and act and read (reading, although tested, is a study of the arts - don't underestimate the power of reading aloud during test week). Find out from the children what they might like to indulge in during non-test hours and balance out the last-minute revision with something to give them some escape. For more ideas for what to do instead of revision during SATS week, have a read of this article I wrote for TES: https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/five-things-do-instead-sats-revision Address common errors in test technique It's too late to teach any new content, but reminding children of simple test techniques that will help them avoid mistakes is worthwhile. Common errors - such as not ticking the correct number of boxes, copying numbers incorrectly and being a bit slap-dash when reading the instructions to questions - may be avoided if you spend a little time before each test explaining to the children how they can avoid these pitfalls. (I have prepared some lighthearted and humorous PowerPoints to cover all of these common mistakes).
To make sure you've got all the logistics sorted for SATS week, read this article I wrote for TES: https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/pre-sats-checklist-eight-point-guide-ensure-youre-ready Be KS2 SATs-smart Particularly where maths is concerned. You’ll probably already want to spend the afternoon before each test on revision (remember, low stakes, low stress) but after Wednesday morning’s reasoning paper 2 you’ll have a good idea of what might come up on Thursday’s paper 3. There are usually glaring omissions that can then be recapped during the Wednesday afternoon, ready for Thursday. So keep an eye on Twitter on Wednesday lunchtime, Year 6 teachers will likely be discussing a list of Maths topics that might be on Reasoning Paper 3. For more ideas for how to make the most of SATS week, read this article that I wrote for Third Space Learning: https://thirdspacelearning.com/blog/sats-week-5-step-game-plan/ Balanced workload – for children & teachers Don’t do too much last-minute SATs revision, or at least nothing highly-pressured; an afternoon of anything too heavy could knock confidence. At the same time (though for some this is unthinkable anyway!) resist the urge to have too much down time – the children will benefit from structured activities that allow them to maintain a testing mindset. This will reduce anxiety each time there’s another test. Overall, the aim is to keep things calm and low-key for the children and yourself. This tip is taken from an article I wrote for Third Space Learning: https://thirdspacelearning.com/blog/sats-week-5-step-game-plan/
All that remains to be said is all the best for the week ahead - you've got this!