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Frequently asked questions

A set of guidance resources to help schools staff to complete their assessment data returns

Key Stage assessments - Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

This is a set of guidance resources provided to help schools staff to complete their Key Stage assessment data returns.


Autumn 2021 Phonics Year 2

You can download a file with all the Autumn Phonics FAQ below - we have reproduced some of the content here:

Guidance on determining which pupils to include in the assessment cohort

1. Recent arrivals on roll

Includes recent arrivals on roll, pupils from overseas, and pupils arriving or leaving during the autumn term.
All pupils who sit the Phonics Screening Check at your school must have their score submitted.  

2. Pupils with English as an additional language 

If a pupil has limited fluency in English, you may decide they should not take the check. Pupils should not take the Phonics check if they have recently moved to the country and are unable to understand letters and sounds in English.

3. Pupils working below the standard

If a pupil has shown no understanding of grapheme-phoneme correspondences, they should not participate in the check. (A “D” code will need to be submitted – see further guidance in dowload)

4. Pupils who use British Sign Language

You should consider whether it is appropriate for pupils to take the check if they use British Sign Language (BSL) or other sign-supported communication to spell out individual letters, but are not using phonics in the sense of linking letters and sounds.

5. Pupils who are mute or selectively mute

Pupils who are mute, or selectively mute, are unable to participate in the check if they do not give verbal responses in school. They may be able to identify the words but will not be able to demonstrate that knowledge by speaking the answers aloud.
Selectively mute pupils may demonstrate their knowledge at home informally with a family member who can discuss the outcome with the teacher. This arrangement will ensure the pupil has a similar experience to their peers and gives them an opportunity to demonstrate their skills

6. Pupils who leave before, during and after the test period

If an eligible pupil changes school:
• before the October half term – the receiving school should assess the pupil and submit data for them
• after the October half term – the receiving school should find out whether the pupil has already taken the autumn check (if not, they should assess the pupil and submit data for them)
• after taking the check – their result should be submitted by the school where they took the check and be provided to the new school in the common transfer file (CTF)
• during the Christmas holiday – the previous school should have assessed the pupil and should include the pupil in their data submission to the LA

7. Pupils out of year

There are specific rules about what to do with pupils who are Out-of-Year – i.e. pupils who are not in the Year Group of their date of birth. Generally, you submit assessments based on the year they are TAUGHT in. 


• Chronological Year – the Year Group based on the pupil’s date of birth 
• Year Taught – the Year Group the pupil is actually taught in (regardless of date of birth) 

Recording the correct NC year for the child in the MIS 

The school MIS should record the NC Year the pupils is TAUGHT IN rather than their Chronological Year Group This will ensure the pupil(s) is included in any pupil lists produced by the MIS for recording Key Stage assessment.

Submitting the Assessment Data

If the pupil’s NC Year Group is not recorded correctly in your MIS then it is possible to miss including them in your data submission – you need to check carefully that you have submitted the correct pupils results/assessments

Problems submitting data with a CTF file from the school MIS

You may find using an excel file may be easier than submitting a CTF file direct from the school MIS system.  Details are available here:

KS Assessments using an Excel csv file


Once you submit your data to the LA you are able to access School Summary and pupil-level reports in Perspective Lite, and so are able to check that all the correct pupils have been submitted– see the Perspective Lite Help Pages for more information on how this works. 

Further queries

If you are unable or unsure which pupils to include in your data then please contact the Data Team for further guidance.

Full FAQs

More detailed guidance on including or removing pupils from your data and the list of valid codes can be found in the full FAQ document.

Full FAQ document


Related files and downloads

Documents and forms