New Pre-key Stage Standards: What schools need to know

Thanks to Sarah Minty, Commissioning Editor for SEN at RS Assessment from Hodder Education, for the following article.

Following a government consultation on the Rochford Review, the pre-key stage standards, which have been in place for 2017/2018, are now final, after a review by teachers and other educational experts.

From summer 2019, teachers must use these pre-key stage standards to make statutory assessment judgements at the end of KS1 and KS2, for any pupils who are working below the national curriculum teacher assessment frameworks and above P scale 4.

This framework applies to all children engaged in subject-specific learning to the end of Years 2 and 6 but have not completed the relevant national curriculum programme of study.


How do the standards work?

The pre-key stage standards focus on certain key aspects of English reading, English writing and mathematics. Each subject framework has four standards of attainment containing ‘pupil can’ statements upon which to base your judgements. There is specific guidance for each subject.

Some of the statements in the standards contain qualifiers – some, many and most. These indicate the extent as to which pupils demonstrate the knowledge or skill required. When qualifiers are used, they have a consistent meaning:

  • most – the statement is generally met with only occasional errors
  • many – the statement is met frequently but not yet consistently
  • some – the skill/knowledge is starting to be acquired and is demonstrated correctly on occasion, but it is not yet consistent or frequent.


Things to note

  • Any judgements made against the 2018/2019 pre-key stage standards won’t be directly comparable to those made in previous years against the pre-key stage standards and P scales.
  • The standards are designed to capture attainment in English and mathematics, but pupils will always demonstrate achievement in different subjects and this should be reported to parents too. It’s advised that teachers recognise the progress of individual pupils, setting targets that refer to agreed outcomes within the SEND Code of Practice 2015, where appropriate.
  • Your judgement can be based on a broad range of evidence from day-to-day work in the classroom. Work from all subjects can be included, not just the one being assessed, and you can also use a single example of a pupil’s work to provide evidence for multiple statements.
  • The new standards aren’t a formative assessment tool and can’t be used to track progress throughout a key stage or guide individual programmes of study or classroom practice.
  • Those reviewing school performance will not expect the new standards to be used for anything other than summative assessment at the end of each key stage.
  • It’s good practice for schools to ensure judgements made using the pre-key stage standards are moderated internally and with other schools. This will quality assure your judgements.


What about pupils not engaged in subject-specific learning?

The government is currently piloting the Rochford Review’s recommended approach to statutory assessment for these pupils – the 7 aspects of engagement for cognition and learning – before introducing it as a statutory assessment. This change won’t happen before the 2019/20 academic year. In the interim, P scales 1 to 4 should continue to be used.

Find out more about the KS1 Pre-key stage standards and KS2 Pre-key stage standards.



english, key stage 1, key stage 2, maths, p scale, reading, SEN, writing

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