You may already know that I am a qualified primary school teacher. With this in mind I have been on both sides of a child’s education; teaching other people’s children and being a mum to my own. Two very different experiences but both equally important when it comes to a child’s education.
We recently discovered some revision books for my son Archie to try out. He is 10 this year so will be approaching Key Stage 2 SATs very soon. I think it is so important to get the balance right when it comes to revision and homework. You don’t want to bombard your child with too much work at home but you want to support them.
What are SATs?
SATs (Standard Assessment Tasks) are maths and English tests which are taken by children at the end of year 2 (Key Stage 1) and year 6 (Key Stage 2).
KS1 tests consist of two reading papers, a spelling, punctuation and grammar (SPaG) paper and two maths papers.
KS2 consists of a reading paper, a SPaG paper, three maths papers and a spelling test. Children’s writing ability is also moderated internally.
This may sound daunting to you if you are experiencing this with your first child as it does sound like a lot of tests. Your child’s teacher will be supporting your child and if you aren’t aware of any challenges your child is facing then I can assure you that you don’t need to worry. Teachers don’t make a big deal about SATs to the children. Children are often tested and have their work assessed.
Tips for helping your child
Don’t panic or worry your child, SATs are standard tests that children in the UK have to take. Be as supportive as you possibly can and remind yourself that you will be proud of your child’s results no matter what they are. I always say to my children that as long as they’ve tried their best that’s all that matters.
If children have learned all the relevant skills and have a good support network at school and home the chances are when the tests come around they will just want to get them over and done with!
Don’t over revise at home, family time is still just as important. Try to identify areas where your child needs support, your child’s teacher will let you know their targets at Parent’s Evening so take those on board.
How to prepare for SATs
We have recently been using some Bond practice resources to help Archie. They are published by Oxford University Press so you know you’re getting a good product.
Bond is no1 for 11+ exam success so I knew these books were going to help.
We have discovered a range of different books as Bond offer practice resources for children aged 5-13 and cover all 4 11+ subjects.
The books we’re using are:
-Key Stage 2 SATs Skills: Maths Workbook Measurement, Geometry & Statistics (10-11+ Core and Stretch)
-Key Stage 2 SATs Skills: Reading Comprehension (10-11years)
-11+ English 10 Minute Tests 7-8 years
-11+ Maths 10 Minute Tests 8-9 years
-11+ Verbal Reasoning Assessment Papers 10-11+ years
-11+ Non-Verbal Reasoning Assessment Papers 10-11+ years
The SATs Skills books are brilliant to highlight strengths and weaknesses, provide bite-sized chunks of information, set homework and set timed practice tests to build exam skills.
Archie has a high reading age so he completed a reading comprehension. He found it challenging but I think it had the perfect amount of text to read (less than 2 sides of A4) and 11 questions; some of them give a tick box option, some require a sentence response and some involve matching words. This is good test paper practice.
The 11+ assessment paper books contain test papers; the non-verbal reasoning book contains 6 papers with 60 questions and the verbal reasoning book contains 14 papers with 80 questions. You would allow your child 45 minutes for one of these tests which is in-line with the standard 11+ demands. They are a great way to highlight strengths and weaknesses and identify your child’s needs. Archie had a go at a verbal reasoning assessment paper and he did the first few questions. I supported him as this was new to him. He really enjoyed learning new words and building his vocabulary.
The 10 minute test books are designed to provide bite-sized practice of all key question types. The books will help motivate children with the puzzles section in the back of the book. They are a quick way to highlight weak areas and can be used for regular practice in the run-up to exams.
Surprisingly, Archie was very keen to complete a 10 minute maths test. He is not very confident with maths but I think the idea of just 10 minutes appealed to him. It is very tempting for children to complete tasks in areas that they’re confident in so these books are a great way to target specific areas and take your child out of their comfort zone.
For most people, the best way to learn is through doing. I could sit and explain something for ages to Archie but I think through him watching me, doing it himself and then trying to explain it to someone else really helps to secure his understanding.
Another great thing I love about these books is the pull-out answer section so you can keep this separate and the progress charts to track learning!
I would like to wish your children the best of luck if they will be taking their SATs tests this May.
Here are some tips to help you:
* Support your child as best as you can
* Revise in areas they’re not confident in.
* Let them learn through doing.
* Don’t change up their routine during SATs week.
* Remember family time is still just as important.
* SATs only identify your child’s abilities within these areas. They don’t measure how good your child is at sports, music, arts etc.
* Celebrate with a treat at the end of SATs week!
Thank you so much for reading this blog. I hope my tips were useful and wish you and your child the best of luck with your revision and the tests!