Key stage 1 SATs will be scrapped from 2023-24, the government has finally confirmed, but a full suite of tests will go ahead next year.
The government had previously refused to confirm when the changes would come into effect, after pencilling-in rough dates for the tests in both 2023 and 2024.
But in an message to leaders, seen by Schools Week, the Standards and Testing Agency confirmed tests for seven-year-olds will become non-statutory from September 2023, meaning primary schools won’t have to run them in 2024.
The tests were supposed to be scrapped from this coming September following the implementation of the new reception baseline test, but the new test was pushed back by the Covid pandemic.
In its email to schools, the STA said it would “run a full programme of primary assessments” in the 2022-23 academic year, including the baseline test, phonics screening check, times tables test and key stage 1 and 2 assessments.
Ministers also scrap science sampling tests
However, the STA said it would not run a science sampling exercise at key stage 2 in 2022-23, because ministers have “decided not to undertake any further science sampling tests”.
Schools will still submit teacher assessment data for science at both key stage 1 and key stage 2 next year.
The email went on to acknowledge that the pandemic had resulted in a “one year delay” in making the baseline test statutory.
Because pupils about to enter year 2 did not complete a statutory baseline test in reception, key stage 1 tests “will take place in 2022-23”.
But ministers “remain committed to making end of KS1 assessments non-statutory once the RBA is fully established, and end of KS1 assessments will become non-statutory from the 2023-24 academic year onwards”.
A spokesperson for the NAHT school leaders’ union said it had “consistently campaigned for the number of statutory assessments in the primary phase to be minimised”.
“As part of that work, NAHT has been lobbying for the removal of KS1 statutory assessments and today we welcome confirmation from the DfE that KS1 assessments will become non-statutory from the 2023-24 academic year onwards.”