KS1 GaPS, preparing your pupils to pass the test

The Key Stage 1 English grammar, punctuation and spelling test forms part of the statutory assessment arrangements for pupils at the end of KS1. Although the majority of the test content is drawn from the statutory appendices, some areas of content are sampled from across the programme of study for English.

What will the test look like?

The Key Stage 1 English grammar, punctuation and spelling test comprises two components, which are presented to pupils as two separate test papers. The first paper is spelling. The second paper presents grammar, punctuation and vocabulary questions.

KS1 GPS test

When will the test be taken?

Schools will administer the test at any time in May 2016.

What are the implications for teaching?
  • There are 37 different content domains for Paper 1 (the spelling paper). Pupils should be taught these content domains across years 1 and 2.  These can be found in the GaPS Framework.
  • Paper 2 is organised into different content domains: Grammatical terms/ word classes; Functions of sentences; Combining words, phrases and clauses; verb tenses and consistency; Punctuation and Vocabulary.
  • This table shows the range of marks available for pupils across the different domains:

KS1 GPS content areas

  • At least two thirds of Paper 2 will be multiple choice style questions as explained in the following table:

KS1 GPS profile of marks

This means that Year 2 pupils must be familiar with instructional test technique language such as: tick, match, underline, circle and draw lines to. Teachers need to provide opportunities to teach this language to pupils so they are prepared for the test. There is a broad and wide curriculum to teach pupils and recent publications from the DfE state that we should not ‘teach to the test.’ However, at the same time, we cannot penalise pupils by not preparing them for the range of questions they may face in their test.

  • Teachers should provide as many opportunities as possible to teach grammar, punctuation and spelling in the context of high quality texts.
  • Year 2 teachers must review both the spelling and grammar appendices from Year 1 as well as teaching their own content.

How will the test be marked?

Key Stage 1 teachers will mark the tests. They are not being externally marked like Key Stage 2.

However, Year 2 teachers must be aware that correct spelling is required for the award of the mark for most questions in Paper 2, especially in the following cases:

  1. verbs forms
  2. plurals
  3. prefixes and suffixes
  4. contractions

There is also some additional guidance regarding sentences with different forms: exclamations.

KS1 GPS Exclamations

What resources are there to support our teaching?


To help disseminate this information with staff you can use the powerpoint here.

Maddy Barnes, English Marker working on the Expert Panel at the DFE for the 2016 tests 
November 2015



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