Maths revision for KS2 SATs starts in earnest at different points for different schools. As  SLT, Maths Lead or a Year 6 teacher, at a certain point in Year 6, you need to move from teaching the Key Stage 2 curriculum to your KS2 Maths revision programme. 

Here’s the information you need to know to make sure your own Maths revision KS2 programme is grounded in good Maths revision practice as well as your own knowledge of your pupils.

You’re already probably knee-deep in data from your own current Year 6. You’ve also now got the data from two previous Year 6 performances in SATs so you’ll have an idea of what’s worked in the past for your Year 6 maths revision, or what hasn’t. And what you might want to do differently when preparing your KS2 revision in Maths for SATs 2018.

But what if, instead of looking at 30 or 60 pupils every year, you had data from over 40,000 pupils to review and analyse when setting your KS2 Maths revision programme?

With over 40,000 pupils now having completed our KS2 SATs Interventions, that’s the lucky position we’re in.

For a sense of scale, in total that’s over 560,000 hours of 1-to-1 Maths lessons. Lessons that we are able to analyse in order to better inform how we structure our KS2 Maths revisions lessons.

What’s even more exciting is that this year, we’ve been able to combine this data with our analysis of the 9 new government national tests since 2016. 

KS2 SATs results 2016 Arithmetic and Reasoning QLA 

KS2 SATs results 2017 Arithmetic and Reasoning QLA 

KS2 SATs results 2018 Arithmetic and Reasoning Question Breakdown

We have looked at the most popular topics for examiners, how difficult children find each topic, as well as those topics they are likely to make the most useful progress in, during the course of their Year 6 Maths revision or their KS2 SATs interventions.

Step-by-step to a KS2 Maths revision programme that achieves 100 in SATs

We’ve then layered on top of this input from our primary Maths experts on the truly key components of a really successful Maths revision programme (spaced retrieval, plenty of question practice, development of stamina and confidence etc).

So, to help you when you’re planning your own KS2 Maths SATs revision, here’s what we’ve learnt, what we know you should be revising with your pupils, and how we’ve incorporated this into our KS2 SATs revision programme.

Of course, you can find out what our SATs revision programme for 2018 looks like directly; just book a demo here, and we can show you the lessons for real!

Read more below, or click these links to jump to what you need:

Analysing the KS2 SATs data

How to diagnose your KS2 SATs pupils – low stakes quizzes & quick feedback

The 6-point structure for your KS2 Maths SATs revision lesson

Last year we offered schools a choice from 30 SATs revision lessons covering topics from Fractions of Shapes, Quantities and Amounts to Calculating Areas to prepare their students for SATs 2017.

Altogether these lessons covered 91% of all questions that came up in the SATs. This was pretty pleasing, but we felt we could do better.

Analysing the KS2 SATs data

Reviewing the curriculum content domains and topics across 240 questions from 2016, 2017 and 2018

Remember, our goal in this analysis is to make sure that the SATs lessons that our specialist 1-to-1 Maths tutors teach are as closely matched to what Year 6 pupils will need to know and demonstrate knowledge of in the 2019 SATs. But for schools that use our interventions only for Year 6, at best we will have 29 lessons with each pupil who starts with us in Autumn. Some pupils start even later, in January. With these pupils we have approximately 15 lessons to make the dramatic impact schools expect from us (an average of double expected progress over 14 weeks).

So we need to make sure these lessons are as targeted and effective as possible.

Our first stage in preparing for SATs 2019 was to review all of the KS2 Maths national curriculum content domains and concept areas across a range of metrics such as:

The year group content that questions tested pupils on
What featured most often in the SATs
What areas had the highest number of marks attributed to them
Questions pupils found difficult, or were more likely to get wrong (taken from  our QLA analysis in 2016 and 2017)

Content domain by year groups

The first thing you should know is that  no SATs question since 2016 has tested Year 1 or Year 2 content

And, while the majority of questions were on Year 6 content, in 2017, over half the marks went on Year 3, 4, 5 content.

KS2 SATs Marks by Year 3, 4, 5, 6,
Distribution of KS2 SATs marks in 2016, 2017, 2018 by year covered

FREE free

Learn More About Our 1-to-1 Interventions

Discover how our affordable 1-to-1 maths tuition can supercharge progress in Maths in your school

Question spotting for KS2 SATs content domains

We then broke the questions down by concepts and content domains. This showed us the content domains that are worth the most marks, such as Multiplication Long and Decimals (worth 19.5 marks) and also those worth the fewest marks, such as Bar and Pie Charts (0 – having not yet featured).

KS2 SATs Maths content domains and marks 2016, 2017, 2018
KS2 SATS marks allocation per content domain topic 2016, 2017, 2018

Question spotting by KS2 SATs question difficulty from the QLA

We combined this data with the national QLA (only available for 2016 and 2017 at time of writing), to gauge the likelihood of pupils to get a question on this topic correct. This gave us this chart:

Topics most covered in 2016/2017 SATs, complete with difficulty rating based on % of correct answers
Concepts most covered in 2016/2017 KS2 SATs, complete with difficulty rating based on % of correct answers from National QLA

Question spotting by KS2 SATS content domain strands per year

KS2 SATs questions by content domain strand 2016, 2017, 2018
KS2 SATs questions by content domain strand 2016, 2017, 2018

From this, we were also able to extrapolate the broad concept strands that are tested most fully in the SATs, plus how many marks they’re worth:

KS2 SATs marks per strand from 2016, 2017, 2018
KS2 SATs marks per strand from 2016, 2017, 2018

Finally we were then able to work out which lessons were ‘most important’ to teach for KS2 Maths SATs revision, starting from January…

Top lessons to teach for KS2 Maths SATs revision

As part of our KS2 SATs intervention programme for 2019, we are providing schools with a weekly programme of lessons that lasts 15 weeks for Year 6 and then rolls over to plug any gaps in Year 5 for the summer term. For us, this little and often approach of weekly 1-to-1 tuition taught by a Maths specialist is the magic number for impact and attainment.

As such, we’re looking at the top 15 lessons to teach within the SATs booster phase of the programme. Obviously, if you start earlier (or later) than January, or teach revision lessons more frequently, you’ll need to adapt the following accordingly.

All previous learning being equal (and all pupils being equal!) here is the order in which we recommend you teach your KS2 Maths SATs revision lessons:

A hierarchy of which KS2 Maths SATs revision lessons should be taught first, based on the weighting of allocated marks and the frequency that a topic comes up in the tests.
A hierarchy of which KS2 Maths SATs revision lessons should be taught first, based on the weighting of allocated marks and the frequency that a topic comes up in the tests.

For us, over the 15 weeks we have with pupils, this means we would start with Multiplication (long and decimals) and end with Multiplying and dividing fractions by whole numbers.

BUT, as we all know this is only an incomplete picture.

It doesn’t take into account the key factor for any really successful Maths revision programme – the pupil. More specifically, what does the pupil know now and what do they need to know next.

So, here’s where the real magic happens.

Regular pre and post teach diagnostic tests to assess pupil needs

On the whole, when you’re preparing a class of 30 for their KS2 SATs, we recommend following a similar programme to our lessons above. However, there will always pupils who need more personalised support to achieve 100.

Naturally, you’ll already know which of your target pupils are below (or just below). So it’s a case of providing them with intensive, ideally 1-to-1, intervention mapped to their individual needs, to ensure success in KS2 SATs.

In our experience, to do this well is exceedingly difficult. Even for the most experienced Year 6 teacher and Maths Lead. Put simply, there just isn’t enough time in the school day.

So our goal is to free up your own teachers to teach the whole class while we work with the ones who need individual support.
We now even offer all schools who sign up to our 1-to-1 interventions access to our maths hub of SATS revision lessons, SATs papers, SATs videos breaking down every question into modelled answers, not to mention additional fluency, reasoning and problem solving resources.   It’s all part of our drive to make your intervention budget go further.

Diagnosis Of Individual Maths Gaps Pre KS2 SATs

No doubt you will have your own methods of diagnosing pupils specific gaps (and we have over 50 diagnostic assessments in our Maths Hub to help you do this for all ages), but this is how we do it.

  1. Before a pupil’s first lesson, they each sit a short online test on to assess their understanding of 7 of the key content domains. The test looks at both a pupil’s ability to do the procedure, and ability to problem solve and apply their knowledge.
  2. From this, we get an idea of that pupils’ areas of strength/weakness based on their independent answers to particular concepts in that topic.
  3. Then, at the end of every lesson, a pupil is tested on content they’ve just worked through with their tutor, and on content from the next most relevant lesson. This tells us if that’s where they should go next, or if they should in fact head to a new lesson.
  4. Finally, at the end of the programme, we do one final quiz to ascertain progress made during their 14 weeks. On average pupils make double expected progress during our SATs revision programme. In fact, in a trial using Rising Stars Puma standardised tests, our pupils made 28 weeks progress in 14 weeks.

Note: Pre and post quizzes are designed to be quick and fun – low stakes with quick feedback. They shouldn’t take up too much pupil or teacher time.

How To Create Your SATs Revision Lessons For Maths – 6-Point Structure 

As far as possible, within each Maths revision lesson, we try to follow the calculation policy for each school so that we’re giving pupils lessons in a way that’s familiar to them.

Much of what we’re trying to do in our SATs revision programme is to unlock previous knowledge and understanding that a pupil already has and tie it together with the additional concepts the pupil needs to know.

Essentially we follow a mastery approach, always aiming to develop fluency, problem solving and reasoning and at each stage.

Here’s the step-by-step template we believe to be the most effective structure and flow for these KS2 Maths revision lessons, starting with a warm up and

Step 1: Arithmetic Warm Up

This involves questions similar to those found in the Arithmetic paper, and covers a variety of operations to aid fluency and recall. We also encourage pupils through interleaved practice to switch between operations.

Warm up for KS2 SATs lesson
Warm up slide for KS2 SATs lesson

Step 2: Revision slides

Next come the revision slides that review the concept but with scaffolding to support the pupil and build confidence. The tutor at this point is asking questions of the pupil to help them make connections and to explore the concepts raised.

A revision slide taken from a 1-to-1 session on our SATs Booster Intervention Programme

Step 3: SATs practice questions

Once pupils are comfortable with a concept they move on to apply their learning to SATs style practice questions.

Tutor and pupil work through about 3 SATs reasoning questions per lesson – application questions that have been carefully created following the model from national and standardised SATs papers

A SATs practice question designed to be used in a 1-to-1 session on our SATs Booster Intervention Programme
A SATs practice question designed to be used in a 1-to-1 session on our SATs Booster Intervention Programme

Metacognition is key to a pupil’s accelerated progress so we provide tips for pupils to help them decide on a strategy for answering each question.

Mastery focused reasoning tips provided in for pupils on our SATs Booster Revision Programme
Mastery focused reasoning tips provided in for pupils on our SATs Booster Revision Programme

Tutors also extend pupils understanding by asking some open ended questions such as:

  1. What do you know?
  2. What do you notice?
  3. How can you show your working out?
  4. How can you extend this question?

Step 4: Reasoning work

In every lesson pupils are also encouraged to tackle a deeper reasoning slide to build their verbal fluency and ability to justify answers. Tutors support them to notice patterns, make connections and generalise as these are the skills that correlate to higher attainment

A reasoning slide taken from a 1-to-1 session on our SATs Booster Intervention Programme
A reasoning slide taken from a 1-to-1 session on our SATs Booster Intervention Programme

Step 5: Challenge questions

Once a pupil has completed the main section of the lesson, they are given additional challenge questions to encourage them to work at Greater Depth.

These are low threshold high ceiling questions in which tutors are trained to support the child to have fun exploring the concept further, and enjoy the challenge.

A series of challenge slides taken from a 1-to-1 session on our SATs Booster Intervention Programme
A series of challenge slides taken from a 1-to-1 session on our SATs Booster Intervention Programme

Step 6: Support slides to plug gaps

A series of support slides taken from a 1-to-1 session on our SATs Booster Intervention Programme
A series of support slides taken from a 1-to-1 session on our SATs Booster Intervention Programme

Finally there are a range of support slides that a tutor can use to plug any gaps as they arise in a lesson, all of which are precursor steps to the questions being asked.

We’re very excited about our KS2 Maths SATs revision lessons and hope this has given you some ideas to take back to your own school about how to set up your own revision.

If you’d like to find out more about our KS2 SATs revision programme, book a demo to speak to one of our schools team.

David Leighton , Content Team , Third Space Learning

A former secondary teacher, David keeps a weather eye on the educational horizon. He's responsible for making sure our blog posts and Maths resources reach teachers far & wide.