Archives For April 2014

It’s that time of year when many Year 6 students can feel under pressure to perform SATs examwell in SATs. The pressure can come from school, home or their peers, but whichever the case, too much can be counter-productive: anxious students perform badly in exams, and if a child develops a fear of exams, it can lead to significant issues through secondary school.

So how to we prepare our child for the exams whilst keeping things low key? Try these tips below:

  • Revise in short bursts of 20 minutes.
  • Get fresh air between each session.
  • Active revision is best: to improve percentages, work through some percentages questions, easier to harder. If you need to learn names of shapes, draw them out in a table, or draw them on your child’s back and get them to guess. But don’t ever allow your child to stare at a page…
  • Your child should work at their level: if they are realistically hoping to achieve a level 5, try to work on questions at this level (if you are a DoodleMaths user, the questions will automatically be at the right level of challenge, or alternatively, you can search level 5 questions topics in the index by searching “L5”)
  • Do old SATs papers: these can be found for free at, including the mark schemes if you get stuck.
  • Tutors work if they are good but bad tutors can be counter-productive. Get a recommendation, but give yourself plenty of time – good tutors will not want to ‘cram’ students at the last minute (nor will they have time).
  • When working with your child on, say, percentages, ask them to explain to you what they already know, then build on this. You will gain useful knowledge of where the gaps lie, and your child will help gain confidence in what they already know.
  • If you are explaining a concept to your child, use the one-minute rule: if you can’t explain it in one minute, your child is likely to lose concentration and understanding – so come back to it later before a row develops!
  • The focus of any feedback from parents or teachers should be based on areas of strength and weakness, rather than levels: “Dai, you got a 4c” is uninformative and pressurizing; “Well done, Dai, you got the percentages question right this time, but we still need to work on equivalent fractions” is much more helpful.
  • Finally, eat and sleep well on the week of the exams!

Good luck!

If your child is doing Year 6 SATs this year, they will be tested in maths and English. The Science SAT paper was discontinued in 2011.


Maths SATs consist of three papers: Mental Maths (20 mins), Non-calulator paper (45 mins) and Calculator paper ( 45 mins). A few children will sit two additional Level 6 papers in maths – both of which are 45 minutes.

English SATs have a reading paper (1 hour) and a Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling paper (aka SPAG test) which lasts 45 minutes. A few children will sit additional Level 6 reading tests and SPAG tests. The writing tasks were discontinued in 2012 and this is now teacher-assessed.

Children are not automatically entered into the Level 6 papers. Your school will contact you to discuss this if they feel it would be beneficial to your child.

Here are the dates:

Monday 12 May English Reading Test
Tuesday 13 May English Grammar, Punctuation & Spelling (SPaG)
Wednesday 14 May Mental Maths Test and Maths Paper 1
Thursday 15 May Maths Paper 2

The first in our series of SATs-themed posts.

Is your child in Year 6? In a state school? If so, it is likely that they will be sitting SATs next month.

ImageSATs (Statutory Assessment Tests) are sat in mid-May by Year 6 students in England.

The tests are in English and maths and are spread over four days, taking around 5.5 hours to complete. There are three maths papers: two written, both non-calculator as of 2014, and a 20 question mental arithmetic test. There are two English papers: reading and “SPAG”, Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar; as of 2013, writing has been teacher-assessed.

The results are sent to your child’s school in July, where they are checked by the school. By law, parents must receive their child’s results broken down by subject before the end of the summer term. You will get a report with SATs levels for each subject. The report will also contain a ‘teacher assessment’, which is your child’s teacher’s own perception of the child’s performance.

SATs results are used to measure how well children are doing nationally, how well your child’s school is performing both nationally and to compare the progress made by the specific cohort (year group) at your child’s school. The tests may also be used by your child’s secondary school for setting purposes.

The results will give you a good idea about how your child is performing at this stage and help guide you in how you support them in the next few years.

We have had reports of this crash this morning and it seems we have developed a problem on our server overnight which is sometimes causing a crash when the app tries to send the email report.

Some users have managed to fix the crash by rebooting their iPad. To do this, you will need to press the home button and the side button simultaneously until the iPad switches off and then on again. This seems to work in about 50% of cases. If this does work for you, I would recommend disabling the reports for the time-being to ensure the crash doesn’t happen again.

Another user has managed to work around the problem by setting their device to Flight Mode before opening the app. This stops the app trying to find an internet connection and enables the app to be opened. Again, if you are able to do this, I’d disable reports for the time-being.

Since we haven’t managed to reproduce the crash on our own devices as yet, it would help us immensely if users experiencing this crash were able to enable the diagnostics and usage on to their iPad. To do this, go to SETTINGS>GENERAL>ABOUT>DIAGNOSTICS AND USAGE>AUTOMATICALLY SEND. This will help us to identify the cause of the problem.

Please be assured that we are working hard to fix this problem. As soon as we have any news we will update you.

Tom Minor