Dotting the i’s and crossing the t’s for SPaGs and SATs preparation

Wallington, Epsom, Croydon & Sutton

Although literacy has always been a key element of the SATs format for Key Stage 1 and Key Stage 2 students in primary schools, the Spelling Punctuation and Grammar (SPaG) Test was introduced in 2013 to bring a clearer focus to the literacy element of SATs.

What is the SPaG Test?

Informally known as the SPaG test, the English spelling, punctuation and grammar test was originally introduced to replace the previous English writing test in the KS2 SATs programme for Year 6 pupils.

Since the introduction in 2016 of the new format SATs, however, the increased focus on spelling, grammar and punctuation have resulted in the inclusion of a SPaG test in KS1 SATs.

What is the format of the SPaG Tests?

KS1 Paper 1: a spelling test of 20 words.

KS1 Paper 2: a grammar and punctuation test of about 20 questions, including the following: use of suffixes, identification of parts of speech, tenses, basic punctuation including commas and full stops, and the use of apostrophes.

KS2 Paper: a 45-minute test focussing on grammar and punctuation. It covers areas such as suffixes, conjunctions, punctuation types, tenses and use of Standard English.

KS2 paper: a spelling test of 20 words.

What are SATs used for?

SATS, including the SPaG Tests, evaluate a child’s educational progress at the end of KS1 and KS2.

KS1 SATs are marked internally by the school and used to monitor students’ progress. They evaluate potential and decide on the best maths and English group for each student for their KS2 education.

KS2 SATs are marked externally and used by Secondary Schools to group children into streams based on their academic ability. The sets or streams are usually implemented immediately as they join the school.

Why are SATs important?

Primary education is the catalyst for realising a student’s potential. If a student prepares well and gives their best performance in KS1 tests, thereby showing their true potential, they will work to the correct level throughout KS2, giving them the best chance to succeed when they are tested again in Year 6.

SATs results in Year 6 will affect how a student starts their secondary education, as this is the information on which secondary schools evaluate a student’s ability and potential, and stream them accordingly. This can have a significant impact on a student’s confidence and perception of their own ability and progress. Setting off on the right foot to meet optimum potential can reap benefits throughout a student’s secondary education.

Why is it important to prepare for SATs?

At ages 7 and 11, tests can be daunting, but the importance of the SATs can make them particularly overwhelming. You only need to look at the breakdown of what is included in the SATs papers to understand why!

By preparing early and getting used to SATs questions, students become more confident which will lead to stronger performance.

Get in touch

StudyBox is a tuition centre based in Wallington and Sutton, providing tuition in English, mathematics and science for SATS, 11+ and GCSE. To find out how we can help students with SATs preparation, visit

Check out our previous blog!

Alex Dearlove