With the 2019 SATs finishing last month, talk has already turned to preparation for the 2020 SATs! As with most things, preparation is key and going into SATs well prepared is only going to increase the likelihood for success.
Teachers and schools will be reflecting on how they felt the SATS went, what they did well and what they can improve upon for next year. Questions such as when to start their preparations, what kind of preparation is best and how they should implement this will be at the forefront of their minds.
Third space learning conducted research to find out what teachers would do differently for SATs 2020 and research indicated that the majority of teachers wished that they had started their SAT preparation earlier in the year.
’From all of the answers we got in our post 2018 SATs survey, the uniting theme that emerged was that almost all teachers wished that they had started their SATs preparation earlier.’ - Third space learning
Two other popular responses were to use practice SATs questions in lessons and to provide more opportunities to practice mental arithmetic. The idea of this would be to help familiarise pupils with the style of questions, plus techniques on how to answer the questions and the format to expect, leaving pupils better prepared, experienced and equipped in answering the questions.
How early is to early?
It is important for teachers to decide when they are going to start the preparation for SATs and, from the survey conducted by Third Space Learning, they found that many teachers wished that they had started preparation in the Autumn term of year 6, whilst others wished that they had started in year 5 or earlier in areas such as mental arithmetic.
Beware - This does not mean that in the beginning of the Autumn term we should dive into SATs preparation and talk about the impending exams straight away! Preparation can be done without students needing to be aware that they are even preparing for tests yet. In fact, according to educational mental health expert Rachel Welch, teachers should avoid discussing SATs until the Spring Term, to avoid having a negative impact on pupil wellbeing.
Third space learning have developed a Three-Phase Approach to SATs preparation and this programme consolidates preparation to Foundation, Consolidation & Transition.
Transition May- July (year 5) Plugging outstanding Year 3-5 gaps in your Year 5 pupils, to ensure a smooth transition to Year 6.
Foundation - September to December- filling gaps and addressing misconceptions to build solid foundations.
Consolidation Jan-May- Revising key concepts, applying knowledge to SATs-style questions and refining problem solving skills.
Successful SAT preparation is the effective use of each term to provide pupils with the opportunity to fill gaps, understand key concepts and address misconceptions, therefore ensuring that in the Spring term pupils are ready to begin consolidation, revision and practice SATs-style questions.
Wellbeing and exam anxiety
Children’s well being is a hot topic when it comes to exams at any age and SATs are no exception; they are at a young age and having extra pressure and stress put on them can leave them feeling anxious, emotional and unsure of how to deal with these feelings.
Here are a few tips for parents to help reduce anxiety around the SATs:
Reduce stress over the weekends and plan activities that are fun!
Don’t add to the pressure; remind them that these are only tests and put them into perspective
Help them revise
Talk to them and listen (or talk to the teacher)
Use the correct language; avoid pass/fail
If you are worried that your child may be experiencing anxiety around exams there is a lot of help available online, to help identify symptoms and offer ways to cope.
Here to help
Here at INICIO we offer bespoke one to one tuition in a nurturing and calm environment, if you feel that your child needs an extra helping hand during the build up to SATs, do not hesitate in getting in touch with us to organise an initial assessment :)