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Curriculum and assessment

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NAHT is working to ensure that the curriculum supports the learning, progress and success of all pupils. NAHT supports the principle that a broad and balanced curriculum promotes the spiritual, moral, cultural, mental and physical development of pupils and prepares pupils for the opportunities, responsibilities and experiences of later life.

NAHT is campaigning to: 

Support schools to provide a broad and balanced curriculum for their pupils

  • Challenge the government policy, including EBacc, which may narrow the curriculum
  • Enable and support schools to successfully deliver statutory Relationships, Sex and Health Education
  • Lobby for improvements to government policy which supports schools to deliver inclusive education and fulfil their responsibilities under the public sector equality duty
  • Support schools to deliver effective careers education for all pupils
  • Support schools to deliver high-quality Religious Education to all pupils
  • Provide guidance, materials and information to support schools in educating pupils about environmental issues.

Ensure a valid and proportionate approach to statutory assessment in primary schools

  • Lobby the government to reconsider the introduction of the multiplication tables check
  • Lobby the government to ensure changes to the Early Years Foundation Stage and Early Learning Goals are appropriate and relevant for the early years sector
  • Influence the development and implementation of the reception baseline assessment
  • Support members to implement the new statutory assessment for pupils with SEND
  • Identify and challenge the STA over any impact on members of the contract change to deliver statutory assessment in the primary phase
  • Engage with the STA to influence changes and improvements to statutory assessment including moderation and maladministration
  • Campaign for KS2 SPAG to be made non-statutory and oppose any additional statutory testing in the primary phase

Ensure the KS4 and KS5 qualification framework and examination system is fit for purpose

  • Press the government, Ofqual and exam boards to ensure that reformed qualifications, both academic and vocational, meet the needs of all pupils and schools
  • Explore the issue of grade reliability, identifying solutions and improvements which are supported by members and pressing the government and Ofqual for appropriate action
  • Inform members of the latest developments in secondary assessment through engagement with Ofqual, JCQ and awarding organisations. 

Latest information and updates from the Standards and Testing Agency (STA)

Cancellation of 2019/20 national curriculum assessments

The 2019/20 national curriculum assessments will not take place due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

This means the following assessments planned between April and July 2020 are cancelled: 

  • end of key stage 1 and key stage 2 assessments (including tests and teacher assessment)
  • phonics screening check
  • multiplication tables check
  • science sampling tests
  • all statutory trialling. 


You do not need to complete any further activities to prepare for these assessments.

Primary school performance measures will not be published for the 2019/20 academic year. 

The Department for Education (DfE) has launched a helpline to answer questions about Covid-19 related to education. Staff, parents and young people can contact the helpline as follows: 

Phone: 0800 046 8687
Email: DfE.coronavirushelpline@education.gov.uk
Opening hours: Monday to Friday from 8am to 6pm and weekends from 10am to 4pm
The latest guidance for education settings is available on GOV.UK. ​

The Standards and Testing Agency (STA) sets the tests to assess children in education from early years to the end of key stage two (KS2). This includes the development and delivery of tests at key stage one (KS1) and KS2 in the core subjects of English and mathematics, as well as the phonics screening check and, from 2020, the multiplication tables check.

The STA issues weekly assessment updates during term time. You can access these here

A national curriculum assessments calendar is now available, which outlines important dates and deadlines to assist schools in their planning for KS1 and key KS2 assessments during the 2019 to 2020 academic year.

2019 KS2 scaled score conversion tables and guidance

The STA has published scaled score conversion tables for schools and local authorities to use for the 2019 national curriculum tests.  

Helpful guidance has also been published on understanding scaled scores at KS2. This guidance includes information on the range of scaled scores and the expected standard, as well as information on how raw scores are calculated. 

Phonics screening check: 2019 materials and administration guidance published

The STA has published administration guidance for head teachers and teachers administering and scoring the phonics screening check. The guidance page includes sample materials and training videos, guidance on troubleshooting and managing access to NCA tools, information on monitoring visits and statutory guidance on investigating allegations of maladministration

The phonics screening check 2019 materials are available here. These materials include scoring guidance, pupils' materials and the answer sheet for the 2019 phonics screening check. These materials are published to help teachers and pupils become familiar with the phonics screening check and to enable teachers to score their pupils' performance once the check has been administered.

The 2019 phonics screening check threshold mark is 32. Teachers should check each pupil's mark against the threshold to establish whether they have achieved the expected standard.

Practice materials: phonics screening check, KS1 and KS2

The STA has published practice materials for the phonics screening check, KS1 and KS2 national curriculum tests, including past test papers and scaled score conversion tables.

KS2 tests: applying for a review of pupils' test results

The STA has published guidance on applying for a review of marking for KS2 SATs. The guidance includes information on applying for marking reviews and clerical reviews, and outlines the review process and possible associated costs per pupil, per subject.

A user guide will be available on NCA tools from Tuesday 9 July 2019 to assist schools with the online application process. Schools must make review applications in the 'pupil results' section of NCA tools. The application section will be open from 7.30am on Tuesday 9 July 2019 until 11:59pm on Friday 19 July 2019.

The full guidance is available here.

KS1 and KS2 test guidance

A range of guidance has been published for the 2019 KS1 and KS2 tests that include the following: test administration, modified test administration, special considerations and security advice. You can access the KS1 documents here, and the KS2 documents here.

Information for parents

An information leaflet and videos about the KS1 and KS2 tests have been made available for parents. These resources might be useful to share with parents at your school who have a child in year two or six.

2019 National curriculum test handbook

The 2019 national curriculum test (NCT) handbook has been published and is available here

This document provides a technical overview of the test design, development and administration processes used in the 2019 KS1 and KS2 tests in English reading, English grammar, punctuation and spelling, and mathematics. It also presents validity and reliability evidence related to the tests.

A technical appendix is also available here containing a large amount of data from the 2019 national curriculum test administrations. This appendix includes test statistics, the number and type of access arrangement notifications, and the number and type of modified test papers returned for marking.

KS1 and KS2 test dates

Future dates have been published for the key stage one and key stage two tests, phonics screening check, multiplication tables check and science sampling tests. Dates are available for the 2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21 academic years and can be viewed online here.

Publication: early years foundation stage profile handbook

The 2019 early years foundation stage (EYFS) profile handbook has been published.

It provides statutory guidance and non-statutory advice to help practitioners complete the EYFS profile and make accurate judgements about each child’s attainment. The guidance has also been aligned with the 2019 teacher assessment guidance for KS1 and KS2.

Multiplication tables check: update and assessment framework

The STA has published information for parents about the multiplication tables check. The information is for schools to use with parents when explaining what the multiplication tables check is. It includes information about the following:

  • Why schools are doing the check
  • What happens during the check
  • Access arrangements
  • How the results data is used.

The STA has published information for primary schools about the development of the multiplication tables check (MTC) to be administered to year four pupils from the 2019-20 academic year onward.

The MTC assessment framework is now available. It provides details on the assessment specification for the multiplication tables check, including the purpose, format, content and cognitive demand of the check.

For questions about the MTC, contact MTC.STA@education.gov.uk.

KS2 national curriculum test review outcomes: 2018

The DfE and the STA have published provisional information on the outcomes of clerical reviews and reviews of marking for the 2018 KS2 national curriculum tests in the following:

  • English reading
  • English grammar, punctuation and spelling
  • Mathematics.

The published report includes information on review requests and review outcomes.

Early years foundation stage, KS1 and KS2 assessment and reporting arrangements for 2018-19

The STA has published the early years foundation stage, KS1 and KS2 assessment and reporting arrangements (ARAs) for the 2018 to 2019 academic year. See the assessment and reporting arrangements for early years foundation stageKS1 or KS2

These ARAs include important dates for 2018-19 and guidance on national curriculum tests, test participation, teacher assessment, and legal requirements and responsibilities.

Primary assessments: information and resources for 2018

For information about primary assessments, the STA has produced a guide to help primary schools and local authorities access their online document collections for early years foundation stage, KS1 and KS2 assessments in 2018.

It will be updated throughout the year to provide information for the 2018 assessment cycle. You can access the guide here

Information for parents: 2018 KS1 and KS2 assessments

The STA has released a new information leaflet and videos aimed at parents of children in years two and six who will be taking national curriculum assessments. These may be useful resources to share with parents or use during conversations with parents about primary assessments. You can access these here.

Test security guidance

Practical advice about keeping KS1 and KS2 tests and phonics screening check materials secure.

KS2 tests

Attendance register and test script dispatch - this guide provides instructions and video guidance for completing attendance registers, returning test scripts for marking and submitting the head teacher's declaration form (HDF).

KS2 tests: how to apply for a timetable variation

The STA has published information about how head teachers can reschedule the KS2 tests. This includes changes for the 2018-19 academic year, information on varying test times and moving test dates, and the process of applying for approval from the STA.


From the 2019 test cycle, the requirement has been removed for schools to submit a notification to the STA if they are administering a test on the scheduled day in multiple sittings.

Schools must still apply for permission from the STA to administer a test on a different day using a timetable application. The application form will be available in the ‘Access arrangements’ section of NCA tools from Monday 28 January.

Test admin and modified admin guidance

The KS1 and KS2 test admin guidance documents include information about planning for the tests, receiving test materials and administering the tests. You can access the KS1 guidance here and the KS2 guidance here.

If you're involved in administering the KS1 and KS2 tests to pupils with hearing or visual impairments, there is modified guidance available; you can access the KS1 here and the KS2 here.

Access arrangements

The STA has published guidance for schools about access arrangements available for pupils participating in 2019 KS1 and KS2 tests.

Some pupils with specific needs may need additional arrangements so they can take part in tests. Access arrangements are adjustments that can be put in place to support those pupils - head teachers and teachers must decide whether any of their pupils will need access arrangements before they administer the tests. Types of support include the following:

  • Additional time to complete the tests
  • The use of scribes, readers, word processors or other technical or electronic aids
  • Written or oral translations and making transcripts
  • Modifications of test papers and the use of accessibility objects in the mathematics test
  • Compensatory marks for spelling
  • The use of prompts and rest breaks
  • Administering the tests to pupils who are absent on the planned day
  • Administering the tests at an alternative location.

Access arrangement guidance for KS1 is available here, while the KS2 guidance is available here.

Teacher assessment exemplification materials

The STA has published teacher assessment exemplification materials to demonstrate teacher assessment judgements in a number of subjects in 2019. These illustrate how the 'pupil can' statements in the frameworks might be met, but do not dictate a particular method of teaching or the evidence expected from the classroom. If teachers are confident in their judgements, they may choose not to refer to these materials, which are intended to help teachers make their judgements where they want additional guidance.

Exemplification materials are available below:

There are no major changes from last year’s guidance. However, the requirement has been removed for schools to notify the STA if they are administering a KS2 test to a pupil at an alternative location away from school.

The date of the key stage two reading test has changed. It will now take place on the Tuesday of test week, not Monday as in previous years.
Last updated24/03/2020
First published 24 March 2020