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Key Stage 2 English: SPaG

By Atom | Jun 20, 2023, 4:11 PM

Key Stage 2 English: spelling, punctuation and grammar

Are you looking for ways to support your child with spelling, punctuation and grammar? Read Atom's handy guide to Key Stage 2 SPaG. Find out which topics your child will learn and download some free practice questions!

What is SPaG?

SPaG stands for spelling, punctuation and grammar. These are important building blocks for children to be able to write, read and understand the English language. Children with a strong knowledge of spelling, punctuation and grammar can write clearly and accurately.

  • Spelling: forming words with the correct letters in the correct order. This includes applying spelling rules to new vocabulary

  • Grammar: the structure of language, ordering sentences to form meaning

  • Punctuation: the symbols that enhance meaning and add clarity to written language.

The national curriculum aims to ensure that, by the end of Year 6, children can control their speaking and writing and use Standard English. At the end of Year 6, children are tested on their SPaG knowledge in Key Stage 2 SATs(Standard Assessment Tests).

What topics will my child learn at school?

Here is an overview of the spelling, punctuation and grammar topics that your child will have covered in primary school by the end of Year 6.

More in-depth topic breakdowns are available at the bottom of this page.

  • Nouns

  • Verbs

  • Adjectives

  • Conjunctions

  • Pronouns (possessive and relative)

  • Adverbs

  • Prepositions

  • Determiners

  • Subject and object

Punctuation & grammar practice questions

This free pack of 20 questions will help your child practise the topics they will encounter on the Year 6 SATs English Paper 1.

There is a separate pack with answers and explanations.

Download now
Punctuation and grammar question pack

What is the Year 6 SPaG test?

All children in UK primary schools take SATs (Standard Assessment Tests) at the end of Year 6. They assess pupils’ knowledge of the Key Stage 2 curriculum. The UK government also uses SATs results to determine the quality of education across schools in the country.

Children take three English papers as part of their SATs. Two of the three papers test SPaG.

Paper 1: grammar and punctuation

The spelling, grammar and punctuation test will take place on Monday 13th May 2024. Your child will have 45 minutes to complete the test, with 50 marks available.

Paper 2: spelling

The spelling test will also take place on Monday 13th May 2024. The test is taken one-on-one with a teacher or classroom assistant.

Like the grammar and punctuation test, the Year 6 SATs spelling test is on Tuesday 9th May 2023. The teacher will read out 20 words over the course of around 15 minutes, and your child will need to write down the correct spelling for each word in the provided answer booklet. 20 marks are available, with one mark for each word spelled correctly.

A grammar question on a Year 6 SATs English mock test on Atom

Example of a question in a Year 6 SATs English grammar and punctuation practice test on Atom

How to prepare for English SATs
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More ways to support your child's learning

The most reliable way to perform well in the SATs is to build a stable understanding of the Key Stage 2 curriculum. Atom is a home learning programme created by teachers, designed to help your child build knowledge and confidence across English, maths and science.

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  • 70,000+ interactive questions

  • Year 6 SATs English and maths practice tests

  • Helpsheets and tutorial videos

  • 500+ hours of video lessons

  • Easy progress tracking

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Practice tests

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Example of the Atom Nucleus platform

Key Stage 2 national curriculum for SPaG

Year 3 (ages 7–8)

  • Formation of nouns using a range of prefixes (e.g. super–, anti–, auto–)

  • Use of the forms a or an according to whether the next word begins with a consonant or a vowel (e.g. a rock, an open box)

  • Word families based on common words, showing how words are related in form and meaning (e.g. solve, solution, solver, dissolve, insoluble)

Year 4 (ages 8–9)

  • The grammatical difference between plural and possessive –s

  • Standard English forms for verb inflections instead of local spoken forms (e.g. we were instead of we was, or I did instead of I done)

Year 5 (ages 9–10)

  • Converting nouns or adjectives into verbs using suffixes (e.g. –ate; –ise; –ify)

  • Verb prefixes (e.g. dis–, de–, mis–, over– and re–)

Year 6 (ages 10–11)

  • The difference between vocabulary typical of informal speech and vocabulary appropriate for formal speech and writing (e.g. find out/discover; ask for/request; go in/enter)

  • How words are related by meaning as synonyms and antonyms (e.g. big, large, little)

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