YEAR 1: Phonics Screening Check

The Phonics Screening Check is a test for children in Year 1. Children take it during June in a one-to-one setting with a teacher. This is usually their class teacher, but it could also be the headteacher or another teacher who knows the child well.

Whilst children learn phonics to help them with both word reading and spelling, the Phonics Screening Check only tests their skills at word reading. This is sometimes called decoding.

During the Phonics Screening Check, children are asked to read (decode) 40 words. Most of these words are real words but some are pseudo-words (nonsense/fake words). Pseudo-words are included to ensure that children are using their decoding skills and not just relying on their memory of words they’ve read before. Because some children may misread these pseudo-words based on their similarity to words in their existing vocabulary, each pseudo-word is clearly identified with an image of an alien. Most teachers and children, therefore, refer to pseudo-words as alien words.

The test itself is divided into two sections. Section 1 is the easier part. In this section, children are asked to recognise simple word structures and Grapheme Phoneme Correspondences (GPCs) from the earlier phases of the phonics curriculum. In 2019, real words included in Section 1 were words like ‘shop’, ‘peel’ and ‘yell’.

Section 2 is the trickier part of the test. Here, children need to recognise GPCs from the later stages of the phonics curriculum. They also encounter graphemes that correspond to more than one phoneme (e.g. the grapheme ‘ea’ represents different phonemes in the words bread and bead.)

There is no time limit for the Phonics Screening Check, but it usually takes less than 10 minutes. At All Saints Academy, we use past phonic screening checks in the Autumn and Spring term of Year 1 to ensure children are accustomed to the check.

If a child doesn’t meet the expected standard during the screening check in June of Year 1, the child will retake the Phonics Screening Check the following year (June, Year 2). School will work with them to ensure they receive the phonics teaching and support they need to give them the best chance possible to past the check the second time.

Click on the links below to take a look at examples of past Phonic Screening Checks.

2017 Phonics Screening Test Check Sheet.169651621

2017 Phonics Screening Test.169651621

2018 Phonics Screening Test Check Sheet.169651621

2018 Phonics Screening Test.169651621

YEAR 2: SATs (Statutory Assessment Tests)  (Key Stage 1)

Your child’s teacher is responsible for judging the standards your child is working at in English reading, English writing, mathematics and science, by the end of key stage 1. To help inform those judgements, pupils sit national curriculum tests in English and mathematics, commonly called SATs. They may also sit an optional test in English grammar, punctuation and spelling. The tests are a tool for teachers to help them measure your child’s performance and identify their needs as they move into key stage 2. They also allow teachers to see how your child is performing against national expected standards. The tests can be taken any time during May and they are not strictly timed.

Teachers will use the results from these tests, along with the work your child has done throughout the year, to help them reach their own judgements about how your child is progressing at the end of key stage 1. These teacher assessment judgements will be reported to you by the end of the summer term.

Click on the following link to view a video for further information around the Year 2 SATs.

Key stage 1 and 2 national curriculum tests: information for parents – GOV.UK (

YEAR 4: Multiplication Tables Check (MTC)

The multiplication tables check (MTC) is mandatory for all children at the end of year 4. The purpose of the check is to determine whether children can fluently recall their times tables up to 12, which is essential for future success in mathematics. It will also help your child’s school to identify children who may need additional support.

The Multiplication Tables Check is an on-screen check consisting of 25 times tables questions. Your child will answer 3 practice questions before moving on to the official check,  and will then have 6 seconds to answer each question. On average, the check should take no longer than 5 minutes to complete.

The school will administer the multiplication tables check within a 3-week period in June.

Click on the following link to view a video for further information around the Year 4 Multiplication Tables Check.

Information for parents: multiplication tables check (

 YEAR 6: SATs (Statutory Assessment Tests (Key Stage 2)

If you have a child in year 6, at the end of key stage 2, they will take national curriculum tests in English grammar, punctuation and spelling, English reading and mathematics. The tests help measure the progress pupils have made and identify if they need additional support in a certain area. The tests are also used to assess schools’ performance and to produce national performance data. The key stage 2 tests will be taken on set dates in May (usually over a four day period Mon-Thurs). These dates will be shared with you either as your child leaves Year 5 or at the start of Year 6. It is important that your child is in school for these tests.

At the end of the summer term you should receive test results for:

  • English grammar, punctuation and spelling
  • English reading
  • mathematics

Teacher assessment

As there is no test for English writing, this will be reported as a teacher assessment judgement. This is a judgement teachers will make, based on your child’s work at the end of key stage 2. You will also receive a teacher assessment judgement for science.

Click on the following link to view a video for further information around the Year 6 SATs.

Key stage 1 and 2 national curriculum tests: information for parents – GOV.UK (