The Parents' Guide to Every School Year

A Parent's Guide To Key Stage 2

Year 3

Year 3 marks one of the major milestones in your child’s academic journey. They’ll be moving from Key Stage 1 to Key Stage 2. From your child’s point of view, they’ll be moving from the “Juniors” to the “Seniors”. That means a big step up in the amount and complexity of work.

Key Maths Learnings

  • Adding and subtracting three-digit numbers.
  • Learn 3, 4, and 8 times tables.
  • Finding fractions of quantities.
  • Understand perimeter, angles, and parallel lines.
  • More advanced data presentation using bar charts and pictograms.

Key English Learnings

  • Preparing poems and stories to perform aloud.
  • Thinking about inference and predicting the course of a story.
  • Using descriptive words to enhance their writing.
  • Advanced conjunctions, such as “because”, “which”, and “before”.
  • Formatting dialogue.

Key Science Learning

  • Life cycles of plants.
  • Nutrition of animals, and a focus on skeleton and muscle.
  • Comparing different types of rocks, understanding how soil and fossils form.
  • How light can be reflected and how shadows can form.
  • Magnetic properties, including attraction, repulsion, and the two poles.

Personal Development

Your child will be more responsible for looking after themselves and their peers.

As their relationships become more complex, they may start experiencing bullying and unkind behaviour, either to themselves or other kids. Make sure you keep an eye out.

They will be required to work more independently, encouraged to try and find out the answers for themselves.

Exams

There are no important exams in Year 3, though your child’s school may set some internal tests throughout the year.

Year 4

Year 4 is largely a continuation of Year 3. The subject matter will become slightly more complex, and homework will start being stepped up a gear.

Key Maths Learnings

  • Addition and subtraction of four-digit numbers.
  • Confidence in all times tables up to 12.
  • Solving problems involving fractions and decimals.
  • Calculating the area and perimeter of shapes, and converting units of measurement.
  • Increasing understanding of angles and coordinates.

Key English Learnings

  • Preparing play scripts to perform.
  • Confidence in writing neat, joined-up handwriting.
  • Thinking about setting, plot, and characters of a story.
  • Using apostrophes to denote plural possession.
  • Improving the use of correctly formatted dialogue.

Key Science Learnings

  • The habitats and environments of living things.
  • Teeth, digestion, and food chains.
  • Grouping materials by their state of matter, and learning about condensation and evaporation.
  • How vibration creates sound, and changes in pitch and volume.
  • Constructing an electrical circuit, and understanding conductors/insulators.

Personal Development

Your child will become more confident in themselves, and more tolerant of others. They’ll become more adept at co-operation and teamwork.

They may also start showing more signs of independence, and wanting to spend time alone.

Exams

There are no important exams in Year 4, but early preparation for KS2 SATs may start. Your child’s school might also set tests throughout the year.

Year 5

Year 5 is the first year that your child will start properly preparing for their KS2 SATs. Though the exams don’t take place until Year 6, the work will start ramping up as Year 5 progresses.

Key Maths Learnings

  • Start to see how Maths fits into everyday life.
  • Confidence in knowing which mathematical function is appropriate for a problem.
  • Understanding fractions, decimals, and percentages.
  • Drawing, measuring, and calculating different angles.
  • Interpreting information in line graphs and tables.

Key English Learnings

  • Inferring characters’ motives and feelings.
  • Thinking about figurative language (simile, metaphor).
  • Spelling more sophisticated words with an understanding of prefixes and suffixes.
  • Selecting the most relevant words and presentational devices for their writing.
  • Using a range of punctuation correctly, including brackets, dashes, and commas.

Key Science Learnings

  • Life cycles of mammals, amphibians, insects, and birds.
  • Identifying the changes that occur in humans from childhood to adulthood.
  • Properties of materials and how they can be changed (eg. dissolving).
  • The movement of the sun, moon, and Earth.
  • Key forces, including gravity, air resistance, and friction.

Personal Development

Your child will start learning to take more responsibility for their actions, and learning that everything they do will have consequences.

They will now have an idea of time, and the concept of the future. With that understanding comes a potential for stress and anxiety about what might happen.

Exams

No important exams take place in Year 5, but preparation for KS2 SATs will be in full swing. Some schools may choose to start setting practice papers for the SATs, and will introduce the concept of revision and preparing for exams.

Year 6

Year 6 is your child’s final year at Primary School. It can often be an emotional and stressful time, both for parents and kids alike!

SATs, secondary schools, and the end of an era — there’s a lot packed into this year for you to unravel.

Key Maths Learnings

  • Understanding square, prime, and negative numbers.
  • Multiplying and dividing four-digit numbers.
  • Basic ratios and proportions, and an introduction to algebra.
  • Measuring the volume of different shapes.
  • More advanced coordinates (using all four quadrants).

Key English Learnings

  • More thorough understanding of inferring characters’ motives.
  • Discuss and evaluate how and why authors use figurative language.
  • Spelling more complicated words.
  • Thinking about synonyms and antonyms.
  • Introducing correct usage of semicolons, colons, and hyphens.

Key Science Learnings

  • Classifying microorganisms, plants, and animals.
  • Diet and exercise in humans and other animals.
  • Evolution and genetic inheritance, including reproduction and adaptation.
  • How light travels and how shadows work.
  • The function of lamps, buzzers, cells, and switches in electric circuits.

Personal Development

Year 6 presents a lot of changes into your child’s life. They need to think about secondary school, and how any choices they make could affect their future. They’ll need to consider the fact that their friendship groups may be threatened.

They’ll also have to cope with the stress of exams, and the increased workload in the run-up to their SATs.

As a result, your child will mature emotionally, and become more proactive when it comes to their future development.

Exams

Your child will sit their KS2 SATs towards the end of Year 6. There are three different exams:

  • Reading
  • Grammar, punctuation, and writing
  • Maths

Teachers will also provide assessments for the core areas of Reading, Writing, Maths, and Science.

SATs results are generally only used by your child’s secondary school, to help sort them into the correct class, and so they know how much support your child will need. Having said that, a lot of secondary schools will set their own tests at the start of Year 7 for this purpose.

If your child wishes to attend an independent school, then chances are they’ll have to sit an 11+ entrance exam. These exams usually cover core topics across English and Maths, as well as Verbal and Non-Verbal Reasoning.

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