Early Years Foundation Stage
Reception is the final year of the Early Years Foundation stage which covers children’s development from birth to age 5. Each child has to be assessed at the end of the EYFS and parents receive a report of their child’s development and achievement at the end of the Reception year.
There are three main objectives: to inform parents about their children’s development, to ease the transition to Key Stage 1, and to help Year 1 teachers plan for the year ahead to meet the needs of the entire class.
The EYFS Profile is broken down into seven specific areas of learning:
- Communication and Language
- Physical Development
- Personal, Social and Emotional Development (PSE)
- Understanding the World
- Expressive Arts and Design
Within each of these areas, there are specific Early Learning Goals – for example, in the case of Communication and Language, these are Listening and Attention, Understanding, and Speaking. Your child will be given an achievement level for each area of learning.
The EYFS is broken down into four age bands, called Development Matters bands: 16-26 months, 22-36 months, 30-50 months and 40-60 months.
For each age band, and each area of learning, there is a series of statements relating to a child’s development: for example, ‘notices simple shapes and patterns in pictures’. Teachers will tick off these developmental statements as they see your child demonstrating them.
Assessment is ongoing throughout the EYFS, but the official EYFS Profile for each child is completed in the final term of their Reception year.Parents and other carers) can also contribute to the Profile, for example by adding comments to the child’s Learning Journal – a record of achievement compiled by the school, comprising photos, pieces of work, observations about the child’s development.
There are three separate achievement levels within each Development Matters age band:
- Expected: your child is working at the level expected for his age
- Emerging: your child is working below the expected level
- Exceeding: your child is working above the expected level
Your child will be awarded one of these levels for each of the seven Areas of Learning. On leaving the Foundation Stage at the end of Reception, a child is considered to have a ‘Good Level of Development’ if they have achieved at least the expected level in the Early Learning Goals in all aspects of PSE, Physical Development, Communication and Language, Literacy and Mathematics.
Year 1 Phonics Screening Check
The Phonics Screening Check is designed to show how well your child can use the phonics skills they’ve learned up to the end of Year 1, and to identify students who need extra phonics help. The Department for Education defines the checks as “short, light-touch assessments”.
The checks consist of 40 words and non-words that your child will be asked to read one-on-one with a teacher. Non-words (or nonsense words, or pseudo words) are a collection of letters that will follow phonics rules your child has been taught, but don’t mean anything – your child will need to read these with the correct sounds to show that they understand the phonics rules behind them.
The 40 words and non-words are divided into two sections – one with simple word structures of three or four letters, and one with more complex word structures of five or six letters. The teacher administering the check with your child will give them a few practice words to read first – including some non-words – so they understand more about what they have to do. Each of the non-words is presented with a picture of a monster / alien, as if the word were their name (and so your child doesn’t think the word is a mistake because it doesn’t make sense!).
Your child will be scored against a national standard, and the main result will be whether or not they fall below, within or above this standard. Results of the Phonics Screening Check will be sent home with your child’s end of year School Report.
Key Stage 1 SATs
SATs are a series of assessments in maths and English, carried out in two stages during your child’s primary education.
Key Stage 1 SATs consist of formal assessments in maths and reading that take around 3 hours in total to complete, plus informal assessments in science that take place throughout the year.
SATs are just one aspect of the KS1 assessment process. Your child’s teacher will be taking all their work in Years 2 into consideration in order to build a full, accurate picture of how well your child is doing. The full, teacher-assessment report about your child’s progress in maths, English reading, English writing and science will be sent to you with your child’s school report at the end of the summer term.
Maths and English SATs take place in the summer term but are not time specific so you won’t know in advance when the tests are taking place . The assessments are spread out over a period of time, and we try to work them into the normal routine so that the children do not think they’re being tested. KS1 SATs are not timed.
KS1 SATs results show where your child’s academic knowledge ranks against the national average. The grading system involves children’s raw score – the actual number of marks they get – being translated into a scaled score, where a score of 100 means your child is working at the expected standard. A score below 100 indicates that your child needs more support, whereas a score of above 100 suggests your child is working at a higher level than expected for their age. KS1 SATs papers are marked by your child’s teacher and are used to inform teacher assessment. The results are not sent home.
Children will also be matched against ‘performance descriptors’ such as working towards the expected level, working at the expected level and working above the expected level, when being assessed at the end of Key Stage 1.
Think of Key Stage 1 SATs as evaluations rather than exams – they’re not designed to be passed or failed. They gauge what level your child has reached rather than whether or not they meet the standards set in the test. It’s another way to highlight where your child is doing well, and where they might need extra help.