Use of a reader in the KS2 SATs

Information about using readers in the KS2 SATs

DfE guidance on the use of a reader during the KS2 SATs


The use of a reader must be normal classroom practice and schools must have evidence to show that resources are routinely committed to providing this support. A reader must only be used on a one-to-one basis. In most cases, this will apply to children whose reading age is considerably lower than their actual age.

Readers are usually teachers or support assistants but do not need to be specialists in the subject being tested. They should be able to read accurately and at a reasonable speed. They must not be another child at the school or a relative, carer or guardian of the child.

Before the test period, the school needs to make sure readers understand:

the test format and style

their role, including what may and may not be read to a child in particular test

any subject-specific issues that might occur.

Children must not read their answers to a test administrator, unless they are working on a one-to-one basis with a test administrator in a separate room.

Eligible circumstances for using a reader

English reading tests

The reader may help the child to read the general instructions. This includes information on the front cover of the test paper and any directions that are not part of the actual questions, for example ‘These questions are about the story of Quiet Heroine.’ The reader must not read the questions on the paper to the child or read back any of the child’s responses.

English grammar, punctuation and spelling tests

Readers will be allowed for the English grammar, punctuation and spelling test if it is part of normal classroom practice. Examples of how the Short answer questions papers can be read to a child are provided in the Notes for readers in the English grammar, punctuation and spelling test: short answer questions.

Mathematics tests

A reader may help a child to read the mathematics tests. They may

clarify instructions, as long as no additional information is given and the assessment is not


read, but not clarify subject-specific vocabulary

refer a child back to the previous part of the question in multi-part questions

If a child asks for clarification of a mathematics question you may read words and numbers but not mathematical symbols.

A child may need more than single words or sentences read to them. Some children’s identified needs, for example their individual education plan, will show that they need the whole question paper read to them so that they can access the test. Where this is the case, schools should consider testing the child in a separate room.

If a child requests it, the reader may also read back any part of a child’s response.

Circumstances where a reader must not be used

Readers must not be used with children who are capable of reading the test materials on their own. STA will monitor whether schools are using readers correctly during the national curriculum test period. The inappropriate use of readers may lead to the annulment of a child’s results.

Making arrangements to use a reader

Schools do not need to seek permission from STA or their local authority before making arrangements for a reader to be on hand for a child taking a national curriculum test.



Published: 05/05/2015
Audience: Headteachers, Deputy Headteachers, Y6 teachers
Contact: Alison Philipson

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