Primary Education Changes
The new curriculum at KS1 and KS2 sees a shift in focus points for some subjects and is overall tougher than previously, particularly when it comes to numeracy and literacy.
Maths has increased in difficulty, with more secondary maths topics covered, including long-division, more fractions and decimals, and pupils will be faced with more multi-step problem solving tasks. This will be most apparent during Year 6. Mental Arithmetic is no longer be tested and has been replaced with an Arithmetic paper. Although learning materials have been set out year by year, there will be some flexibility to allow for individual progress. It’s worth noting that calculators have been banned in the Key Stage 2 SAT since 2014 and this is being upheld.
In English there is now a stronger emphasis on vocabulary, handwriting, spoken English and spelling, punctuation and grammar.
The first SATs based on the new curriculum will be taken in May 2016 by those starting Year 2 or Year 6 in September 2015. Key Stage 1 tests will now be externally set but still marked by teachers, and a new Key Stage 1 grammar, punctuation and spelling test will be introduced.
The level system to assess progress will be removed and schools will be encouraged to develop their own methods of monitoring progress. Although no measuring system is being enforced, many schools intend to use the terms below to assess pupil progress:
- “Emerging”: Around half of the yearly objectives have been achieved.
- “Expected/Secure”: Most of the yearly objectives have been achieved.
- “Exceeding”: All of the yearly objectives and potentially some from the year above have been achieved.
A scaled score will also be in place with 100 expected to be the National standard. There will no longer be a Level 6 Extension test, and there will still be no national tests for students in Key Stage 3.