The Parents' Guide to Every School Year

A Parent's Guide To Key Stage 1

Reception

Your child’s first year of school is an important time in their educational development. Your child will start to learn basic concepts across the core subjects of English, Maths, and Science.

Key Maths Learnings

  • Use number lines to do basic addition and subtraction.
  • Recognise simple 2D and 3D shapes.
  • Form patterns and describe events in chronological order.

Key English Learnings

  • Know the alphabet and common words (the, and, to).
  • Understand basic grammar.
  • Start practicing handwriting.

Key Science Learnings

  • Introduction to observing and discussing.
  • Presenting basic information.
  • ICT fundamentals.

Personal Development

From a personal development standpoint, Reception will introduce your child to other kids from different backgrounds. Some of the friendships they form with their classmates may well last the rest of their lives!

Your child will start to grow in confidence, both academically and socially. They’ll learn to question the world around them, and become curious about how things work.

Exams

There are no important exams this year, though individual schools may well set their own tests. These are simply designed to assess and track your child’s progress, and have no major bearing on their academic future.

Year 1

Returning to school for Year 1 won’t be as stressful as the previous year. Your child will now be more comfortable with their classmates and school in general. The work will now start to increase in complexity.

Key Maths Learnings

  • Counting up to 100 and back down to 0.
  • Addition and subtraction facts to 20, and basic times tables.
  • Finding halves/quarters of shapes.
  • Learning to tell the time.

Key English Learnings

  • Consolidate knowledge of phonics.
  • Read a wide range of stories and poetry.
  • Improved spelling ability.
  • Punctuating sentences.

Key Science Learnings

  • Identifying plants and understanding their basic structure.
  • Naming a range of animals and learning the different groups.
  • Observing properties of materials.
  • Categorising the seasons and different types of weather.

Personal Development

Friendships made in Reception will grow stronger in Year 1. Your child will learn how to communicate better with other people, and will start forming more ideas of their own.

They’ll also start to show more of an interest in learning, and may well rope you in to help them. Expect them to read to you frequently, and enlist your help with times tables. Better brush up!

Exams

There are no important exams during Year 1, but some of the work your child covers will be useful when it comes to the Key Stage 1 SATs, which take place in Year 2. School may still set their own internal tests to gauge progress.

Year 2

In many ways, Year 2 can be seen as a continuation of Year 1. The work will become tougher in the run up to your child’s first “proper” exams, the KS1 SATs.

Key Maths Learnings

  • Addition and subtraction of two-digit numbers.
  • Multiplication and division facts for 2, 5, and 10 times tables.
  • Finding more complex fractions (one-third, three-quarters) of shapes or quantities.
  • Measurements of weight, length, capacity, and time.
  • Interpreting different graphs, including pictograms, tally charts, and block graphs.

Key English Learnings

  • Automatically reading words without having to “sound them out”.
  • Introduction to non-fiction books and more complex fiction.
  • Start joining up handwriting.
  • Writing their own stories and poetry.
  • Learning to create more complex sentences using conjunctions (if, when, because).

Key Science Learnings

  • Relationships between living things and habitats.
  • Observing the life cycle of plants.
  • Key aspects of animal life, including reproduction, nutrition, and exercise.
  • Uses of everyday materials.
  • The effects of force on different objects and materials.

Personal Development

Your child will continue to grow in confidence when playing with their friends. Social relationships will become more complex as kids learn to communicate their thoughts.

The work may become too complex for some children at this point so further support, in the form of private tutoring or help from parents, might be required.

Your child may also start becoming increasingly stressed in the run-up to SATs.

Exams

The KS1 SATs are likely to be your child’s first experience of official exams. While the results of these aren’t important in the long-term, they do give you and the school an idea of how much progress your child is making.

The SATs take place later in the year, but you should help your child prepare as early as possible. This will reduce their stress and anxiety, and lead to better performance.

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