Dear Year 6 Teacher: Your Final KS2 SATs Preparation Tips

An open letter to all Year 6 Teachers to support their KS2 SATs preparation at this challenging and stressful time. Don’t let it get to you! We’re here to help!

Dear Year 6 Teacher,

Your wellbeing over the next few weeks before the Key Stage 2 SATs in May will depend a lot on the wellbeing of the children in your class, and theirs on yours. If you focus on getting it right for them, it will go a long way to getting it right for yourself.

But to model a positive mental attitude throughout this pre-SATs period, you need to take care of yourself too. So what can you do in the last few weeks before the KS2 National Assessments to make your KS2 SATs preparation a more positive experience? Read on!

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Don’t panic!

This one seems obvious but mustn’t be forgotten! Your attitude to the SATs by this stage should be: what’s done is done. There is nothing to be gained by last minute hyperactivity.

So don’t stress yourself out by trying to cram in Maths or English revision of every single thing you’ve covered during the year – there simply isn’t time. You will have been working with your Year 6 throughout the year, and as I’ve said before, KS2 SATs are not just the responsibility of Year 6 teachers.

Creating a whirlwind of activity in the lead-up to SATs will only unsettle the children. It’s more the case that you need begin to wind down for the national assessments so that the week itself can be a calm affair.

Simplicity in the weeks before Key Stage 2 SATs

For your own mental well-being it’s much better to keep your KS2 SATs preparation in the final few weeks before SATs as simple as possible. There’s enough to think about with the logistics of the week, the logistics of the tests, and maintaining your pupils’ confidence and positivity.

Don’t suddenly make massive changes in how you do things. If anything, strip back what you normally do and make everyone’s lives easier. Consider the message that last-minute frenetic activity or revision sends to children: my teacher thinks we’re not ready yet.

You need to show your pupils that you have faith in the work they have done this year, last minute panicked revision will have the opposite effect.

Further Reading:

Prioritise your KS2 SATs preparation

If ever your school week is going to look a little different it’s in these few weeks before KS2 SATs. As the children aren’t tested on their ability to write long pieces of writing you may want to focus instead on spelling, grammar and punctuation (there will still be lots of opportunities for short burst writing so children ‘keep their hand in’).


SATs have been running in their current incarnation for 7 years; there were no government standardised assessments in 2020 and 2021 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic. Get all the analysis and results from previous national assessments below.
And find out which are the top 20 year 6 maths revision topics to focus on this year.

SATs papers 2024
SATs results 2024
SATs papers 2023
SATs results 2023
SATs papers 2022
SATs results 2022
SATs papers 2019
SATs results 2019
SATs papers 2018
SATs results 2018
SATs papers 2017
SATs results 2017
SATs results 2016

Try to revise in shorter bursts and take the opportunity to do quick daily practice of written calculations in preparation for the arithmetic test.

Target individual support and build confidence

Now is a great time to find out what the children perceive their weaknesses to be. If you can help them to work on the areas they think they need to improve on, you can help boost their confidence and address misconceptions at once.

While there may be a gap in their knowledge that you’ve identified that they aren’t aware of, at this stage it’s more important to prioritise what they think they need to revise. Maintaining their confidence is key.

Try not to teach any new KS2 SATs content

If you can help it, the last few weeks till SATs week are not the time to introduce new content. Don’t risk knocking their confidence by teaching them something they may not potentially understand – especially when they may already feel under pressure to succeed.

Allow the children to feel successful in their lessons before their Key Stage 2 National Assessments.

Focus on the ‘bang for buck’ topics – ie those top 20 topics that are most likely to come up this year in SATs.

List of top 20 SATs topics

Be explicit in your positive messages for KS2 SATs

We’ve already mentioned the messages children receive implicitly from how their time is spent in the run-up to the KS2 SATs tests but it’s worth considering how you can be explicit with the messages you give them too.

First and foremost, you don’t want your pupils to experience the week of tests negatively. This very much depends on how you prepare them.

Hopefully, you’ve already spent a year ensuring that you are not putting unnecessary pressure on them. The weeks after Easter can be spent putting the icing on the cake, so to speak.

So be realistic with your positivity: ground everything you are saying in reality by reminding them they’re only being tested on what you have taught them, on what they already know. Plus, tell them how hard they have worked this year and how you have ensured that they have learnt and revised everything they need to know for their assessments.

Recall specific successes pupils have had and use them to help them feel confident and ready for the tests – give them an ‘I can’ attitude. Children respond well to carefully chosen motivational quotes – perhaps you could choose a song or a saying to become your motto for the week.

If you do all of this then, by proxy, you should come to feel less worried about SATs week 2023. You can create a virtuous cycle, boosting pupil confidence and using their positivity to bolster your own. Ultimately, the KS2 National Assessments can be a time of optimism and determination where children have the opportunity to showcase all at they have learned.

Keep the kids on board: before, during & after KS2 SATS

Much of this will be achieved by doing the above: maintaining a positive ethos, using work to boost confidence, and avoiding making changes to their routine and work. But how else can you keep pupils engaged and enthused in the run-up to the tests?

First of all, don’t stop working. All you can do is keep going but with tasks the children enjoy doing. You yourself will know what works well for your children but there are a few things you could try to keep the energy levels up:

‘Gamify’ your KS2 SATs preparation

Collaboration is proven to help children learn, so why not get your pupils working in teams to solve test-style problems in maths?

For example, each mark could be worth 5 Lego bricks and the winners could be judged on the best model made at the end. You can pick almost any traditional party game and rework it to involve revision! Try some of these games our SATs revision made easy blog.

A daily reasoning question, like the ones found on the Third Space Learning Topical Maths 365 resource, are just the ticket for quick problem solving tasks.


‘What A Bad One Looks Like’ is always a great choice. Children love to find the mistakes of others and are very good at it, even when they are blind to their own!

Provide some KS2 SATs questions which have been answered incorrectly and get the children to troubleshoot them, correcting them and writing explanations of why they were wrong. If you like a bit of role play then encourage them to think and act like a teacher or examiner marking the questions.

Third Space has lots of downloadable SATs questions to use for this:

Peer tutoring – use your assessment data

Children often listen to the advice their friends have to give, so don’t underestimate the power of peer tutoring during KS2 SATs preparation.

Using your knowledge of pupil relationships and abilities, you can pair them up in order to produce great learning partnerships. No doubt you’ve got assessment data coming out of your ears to show children’s strengths and weaknesses – so use this to make the right pairings.

While this time of year may be a bit late to introduce this, research shows it is an effective approach and can actually be quite productive at this time of year. You could also have children who are particularly strong on a particular area prepare and present an input to the whole class.


As part of the Third Space Learning offer to schools, the personalised Year 6 SATs revision programme of online one to one SATs tutoring can be supplemented by hundreds of free SATs revision resources. The most popular of these include:
– free SATs papers
– free Year 6 maths reasoning questions
– over 250 more free SATs questions

The best way to access these and more is to join the Third Space Learning online maths hub. Registration is free, and if you like the free resources, you can sign up for the premium resources too such as Fluent in Five and Rapid Reasoning.

SATs revision lesson slide
Slide from a Third Space Learning online one-to-one SATs revision lesson

Don’t forget your teacher well-being 5 a day

There never was a better time to get involved in Martyn Reah’s teacher 5 a day initiative. The five things you should do each day to ensure your well-being levels are high are:

  1. Connect
  2. Exercise
  3. Notice
  4. Learn
  5. Volunteer

Make sure that in the lead-up to KS2 SATs week you stay connected with your friends and family, consider where you can fit in a bit of exercise (even if you have to park the car and walk the last bit of the way to work), notice the beauty of nature around you, attempt to learn something new to keep your mind preoccupied by something else and volunteer – even if it’s only something small like helping someone with a lesson idea.

Of course, eating healthily won’t affect you negatively either – a good diet will leave you feeling less stressed and ready to support the children, your colleagues and yourself through SATs preparation and National Assessment week.

Plan your pre and post SATs weekend

Although it might not feel like it, there is life beyond SATs week. It’s time to start allowing yourself to think beyond 14th May instead of willing time to go as slowly as possible so as to cram as much more learning in as possible.

Make plans for the weekends before and after 2023 SATs, and don’t dwell – it won’t help anyone. Perhaps try to arrange things that eclipse SATs – things that you absolutely cannot wait for! Thinking back to the those teacher 5 a day headings might help here.

The sunshine of the summer glimmers on dewy grass. Soon those long and endless days will be upon us and the preoccupations of these few weeks will become a hazy and distant memory. This soon will pass, and, if nothing else keeps you going over the next few weeks, let that hope for the future be what keeps you calm, collected and most importantly, stress-free.

Third Space Learning Upsell Section


Every week Third Space Learning’s specialist primary maths tutors support thousands of students across hundreds of schools with weekly online 1 to 1 maths lessons designed to plug gaps and boost progress.


Since 2013 these personalised one to one lessons have helped over 150,000 primary and secondary students become more confident, able mathematicians.


Learn about the SATs revision programme or request a personalised quote for your school to speak to us about your school’s needs and how we can help.


FREE Year 6 Survival Pack

A selection of fun activities to use with your Year 6 class after SATs plus our most downloaded free SATs resources to support next year's cohort.

Includes KS2 maths games and investigations and our most popular resource, Fluent in Five!

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