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About Key Stage 2

What is the National Curriculum?

What are Key Stages?

What can I do to help my child in primary school?

How can I make reading fun for my child?

How can I make maths fun for my child?

How can I help my child with their homework?

Key Stage 2 is the term for the four years of schooling in maintained schools in England and Wales normally known as Year 3, Year 4, Year 5 and Year 6, when the pupils are aged between 7 and 11.

There have been changes to the KS2 SATs in 2016 as they are testing the children on the new curriculum; the expectations for the age-related standard for Year 6 are higher than before.  The children will not receive a level as they did in previous years but instead they will be awarded a standardised score.

These Key Stage 2 tests take place in May. They test your child’s skills in English reading, English grammar, punctuation and spelling, and maths.

What is the National Curriculum?

In 1989, the National Curriculum was established to ensure that standards of teaching and learning were equal across the nation, thus requiring state schools to teach a range of subjects according to certain targets. The National Curriculum sets out: which subjects should be taught; the skills, knowledge and understanding that your child should achieve in each subject; targets, so that teachers can measure how well pupils are performing in each subject; and how information about your child’s progress and performance should be passed on to you.

The compulsory subjects to be studied at Key Stage 2 are: English, maths, science, DT, history, geography, art and design, music, PE (including swimming), computing and languages. Schools must also provide religious education, but parents may ask for their children to be taken out of this lesson. Often, primary schools also teach PHSE (personal, social and health education) and citizenship.

What are Key Stages?

The National Curriculum (see above) is divided into four Key Stages based on a pupil’s age.

Key Stage 1 – ages 5 to 7

Key Stage 2 – Ages 7 to 11

Key Stage 3 – Ages 11 to 14

Key Stage 4 – Ages 14 to 16

What can you do to help your child in primary school?

In primary school, it is incredibly important that children enjoy learning and see it as something fun and pleasurable to do. Psychologically, developing a love for learning at this age will allow them to grasp concepts and knowledge much more easily in the future.

Help your child to develop a love of reading. Research shows that reading with your child is the most important thing that you can do to aid your child’s cognitive development.

How can you make reading fun?

If you enjoy talking about a particular type of content with your child, whether it be one of their interests or a particular author’s narrative, don’t be afraid to linger over pages for longer than it takes to read them! You could discuss the author’s writing style, or simply talk about why your child likes the content. Don’t forget, books aren’t just about developing the ability to read, they can present new topics and ideas to discuss with your child.

Read with your child before they can read properly themselves, following along the words with your finger. This will introduce your child to the concept of reading and storytelling. You could also visit the library with them, allowing them to choose out their own books based upon their own interests. Perhaps you might even consider taking out CDs and DVDs.

It is important to make sure that reading material is easily accessible for your child. Look for books on topics that your child is interested in, whether this be dragons, teddies, princesses, baking or a  particular sport. Books do not necessarily have to be fiction. As long as your child is reading something and developing their interest in a subject, this is a good sign.

How can you make maths fun?

Perhaps maths was not your strong point at school, or for whatever reason you didn’t enjoy it. This is no way means that your child will be unable to do it, they may even have a natural aptitude for it! It is completely understandable if you feel nervous about approaching maths with your child, but, as with English, the main thing to take into consideration is whether or not your child is enjoying it. Don’t become stressed when you approach maths with your child, as this will only have a negative effect on them.

Puzzles, jigsaws and games are a great way to get your child interested in maths. Who doesn’t fancy a good old-fashioned family game of Monopoly?

Alternatively, you could bring maths into the real world. Take your child shopping and have them look at quantities of items and compare prices. Ask them what the difference in price is between two brands. Point out shapes around the house and look together for patterns, tessellation, numbers and problems.

How can you help your child with homework at primary school?

Helping your child with their homework lets you become involved in the school’s learning process. If you ever have any problem with helping your child with their homework, it would always be advisable to contact the school. One problem that you may encounter is the methods used to solve maths questions, as they will likely be different to the ones you were taught at school. In order to overcome this problem, don’t re-teach your child the way that you were taught, as this will likely confuse them. Instead, talk to their teachers about the methods they use, and gain an understanding of these yourself.

In Years 3 and 4, aim for your child to read and do homework for 90 minutes a week. In Years 5 and 6, your child should be aiming to read and complete their homework for 30 minutes a day. This is equivalent to two or three evenings or some time at the weekend.

Sometimes, primary school pupils are asked by their teachers to discuss with their families the topics that they have been taught in school that day or week. This is vital, as it allows you to take an active role in their education and ask your child questions about their day.

Good practices to follow in terms of homework are allowing your child to have a good homework area, with a flat surface and all of the materials that they might require to complete their homework. This might be the kitchen table or somewhere else in the house. Agree with your child when they are going to do their homework, what day they will do it on and what time they will do it at, whether this is straight after they get home from school or after their evening meal. Allow your child to eat something nutritional before they start their homework, whether this be a light snack or something heavier. This will help increase their alertness and attention span. Discuss your child’s homework with them and give them help, but don’t give them the answers. It is important that, whilst you should take an active and engaged role in your child’s homework, you shouldn’t simply do it for them whilst they watch and write the answers down. Turn off the TV or any other distractions, but don’t let homework become a chore.