Year 6 & 2 SATS Exams and Dyslexia. Do dyslexic children get extra time?

The words SATs can bring anxiety into the minds of school teachers, parents and children. They are a part of primary school life, something all children in schools across England usually do.

The positive is that it can give a child focus, something to work towards. It also means that their progress is being monitored. That teachers, parents have a good understanding of the child's English level. Making it clear what areas the child needs extra help in.

For dyslexic children that struggle with reading and writing. SATs can cause feelings of great anxiety. Dyslexic children are entitled to special arrangements during exams to help them. Learn more by reading sections below.

What are SATs? 

SATs are standardised assessment tests. The tests take place twice at primary school level. Once when the child is year 2, at the end of key stage 1. Then again in year 6, at the end of Key Stage 2.

The tests are used for the government to check the national curriculum is being delivered correctly. Providing clear information about the education levels of children across the U.K. The results of the tests are used towards school league tables. Designed to show how well schools are performing. 

Learn more see - GOV, exams, testing and assessments.

Year 2 SATs

At this age the children are still young, aged 6-7. They will be at the end of year 2, finishing key stage 1. Teachers will be informal about the test and the children may not even realise they are doing SATs. The areas they will be tested on include.

  • Reading
  • Maths

The teacher will also check their science, writing, speaking and listening levels. Yet this will not go towards the child’s SATs score.

Year 6 SATs - KS 2

The SATs test will be more formal at this age. The child will be aged 10- 11 in year 6, completing key stage 2 work. They are more likely to know they are doing a SATs test. This can be stressful for many children, especially dyslexic children. Who may struggle to read and write. Children doing year 6 SATs will be tested on:

  • English Reading
  • English Grammar
  • Punctuation
  • Spelling
  • Maths

Teachers will also check the child's speaking and listening, writing levels. This won’t be done as a single test, rather based on the child’s progress across the year.

Practise past SATs papers - GOV, practise materials.

Dyslexic Kids SATS

Dyslexia is a disability, yet dyslexic children still do SATs. To help, they are entitled to special arrangements set by the government. These special arrangements are for children that have any of the following issues:

  • Difficulty reading
  • Difficulty writing
  • Difficulty concentrating
  • Processing Difficulties

Special Arrangements

The special exam arrangements that dyslexic children can get are as follows.

  • 25% extra time in exams.
  • Allowed coloured overlays.
  • Bigger font size on test sheets.
  • Use of a computer to type answers.
  • Someone to write their answers (scribe).
  • Use of a reader. A person or machine, to read out questions.
  • Someone to rewrite their work if hard to read (transcribed).
  • Compensatory marking for incorrect spelling.

Children do not get these special arrangements automatically, unless they have a EHCP.

  • The SENCO teacher has to apply by a deadlines for these exam arrangements to be made.
  • By submitting a request form by March or April.
  • Any special arrangements should reflect what the child normally does in class, the SENCO maybe asked to prove this.

Dyslexia Friendly Exams

The school SENCO needs to fill in a form. Explaining why the child should be given dyslexia friendly exam arrangements. They will be asked 7 questions to cover. Discussing why the child should get special arrangements in exams.

The questions that apply to dyslexic child are below.

  • Can the pupil focus on a task, which requires them to work independently and without interruption, for at least 15 minutes without being prompted to stay on task?
  • Is the pupil prevented from being able to write independently at a speed of more than 10 words per minute by a physical, motor skill or learning disability?
  • Can the pupil read age-appropriate texts aloud and fluently, at a speed of 90 words per minute, without making errors, or with very few errors (this means less than 5 errors per 20 words)?
  • Does the pupil have difficulty processing information, which prevents them from being able to answer questions on practice key stage 2 tests, even when they are allowed to refer back to the questions?

What if Child has not been formal assessed with dyslexia?

No where in the government guidelines does it say that the child has to be formally diagnosed with dyslexia. Having a formal diagnosis however does make it easier for the SENCO to apply for reasonable adjustments in exams.

If you can prove your child is struggling with any of the areas. Covered in the questions above. You can request the school applies for special exam arrangements.

Learn more read the official government guide to accessible exam arrangements.

Does my Dyslexic Child have to do SATs?

Exams such as SATs can put great pressure on children. Dyslexic children who are already struggling in class, may worry more about to doing well in these exams. If the child does the SATs exams and struggles to answer the questions. This may greatly effect their confidence and motivation to learn.

Unfortunately I have found no information on government web-sites. Saying dyslexic children do not have to do SATs. The government states the follow.

Headteachers have a responsibility to ensure that pupils only take the KS2 tests if they:

  • are in a fit physical and mental state
  • are working at the standard of the tests
  • have completed the full KS2 programme of study

What can Schools do?

Although the government says all children have to do SATS. Many parents have told me that their child's schools have found ways, so their child does not have to do them.

  • The headteacher many apply for "Special Consideration". A child has to have special circumstances as listed on the government web-site. For a dyslexic child they maybe able to prove that the child has not, completed the full KS2 programme of study.
  • Schools may also not put emphasis on the importance of the outcome of SATs exams. Putting the children before league tables. Allowing the child to just not do or complete the exam. Instead submitting a blank test paper.

The important thing is to talk to the child's school teachers. Find a solution that works best for the child. By requesting the child is given extra support in exams or given an exception. Use the information above to do this.

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