How did you find the National Tests this year?

As this year’s National Test cycle draws to a close, we asked Y6 teacher and Upper KS2 Phase Leader Dave Witham from Plumcroft Primary School for his feedback on the difficulty and content of this round of tests.

Although Dave’s children reported tough questions in the level 6 GPS and Reading papers, on the whole, the impression was of a fair set of tests to accurately assess a child’s progress, strengths and weaknesses.

Dave’s feedback:

Level 6 (GPS, Maths and Reading)

Grammar Spelling and Punctuation

Proposed changes to the GPS paper (Plumcroft Primary took part in the trials!) didn't materialise and the short answer paper was 'more of the same' from level 3-5. Spellings were very challenging and we're still building a list of examples for the children. The writing element was very predictable and nothing to really challenge the children if they are a strong and solid level 5 writer.


The children struggled to get through the reading paper, although this was expected as it's a tough ask in the amount of time given.


As usual, all the information was presented and 'disguised' to really sort out the truly gifted mathematicians; however again, a fair test.

Level 3-5 (GPS, Reading, Maths and Mental Maths) 

Grammar Spelling and Punctuation

The GPS paper threw up few challenges and the spellings covered were representative of suggested patterns.


A good balance of the different areas of study with the addition of much larger numbers (hundreds of thousands and millions) than previously used. This was a surprise as these larger numbers were not meant to be included in the tests until next year, however they do reflect the change towards mastery of larger numbers in the new curriculum.


A shift of the marks towards the front end of the paper (35 marks on the first 2 texts instead of 31 marks last year), will prove helpful for our level 4c and 4b readers in scoring marks early in the paper, however, I expect that the thresholds will be increased to recognise this.

Again, a fair test with accessible texts and questions in the styles we've come to expect. There were more 1 mark questions and less 3 mark questions but this was expected.

How did your children find the tests? Were their experiences similar? We’d love to hear from you.  Please get in touch and let us know!


english, grammar, key stage 1, key stage 2, maths, national tests, reading

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