You are here:

Last reviewed on 11 November 2021
Ref: 2228
School types: All · School phases: Primary

Find out who decides which pupils participate in Key Stage (KS) 2 SATs, and get advice on how to work with and get buy-in from parents for the assessments.

The headteacher decides, but parents can appeal 

The headteacher's decision on pupils' participation in the tests is final, but parents have a right to appeal it. 

Find out which pupils are eligible and how to decide whether you should withdraw pupils. 

How to get parental buy-in for the tests

You should:

  • Communicate the importance of the tests to all parents - e.g. explain how results may influence their child's education going forward through inappropriate target grades, to help parents understand the consequences 
  • Focus on doing your best to prepare the pupil for the tests
  • Take steps to help you understand the parents' point of view
  • Try not to be accusatory (especially if all you have is a suspicion)
  • Discuss with parents and teachers whether pupils should participate

This advice was given to us by the union ASCL.

Parents that don't allow pupils to attend on test days

You can't force parents to bring their child in on test dates.

More from The Key


Bitesize training with a big impact

Our on-demand training has your whole board covered and lets them learn at a time and pace that suits them.

Help your new governors hit the ground running with our expertly-designed induction training, and our role-specific courses support your link governors develop key skills and confidence in their role.


New eLearning: DSL refresher training

Your DSL’s training should be refreshed at least once every 2 years. 

Designed in collaboration with safeguarding experts, our 2.5 hour online refresher training course reminds DSLs how to put their knowledge into practice, with in-depth, real-world scenarios.


The Key has taken great care in publishing this article. However, some of the article's content and information may come from or link to third party sources whose quality, relevance, accuracy, completeness, currency and reliability we do not guarantee. Accordingly, we will not be held liable for any use of or reliance placed on this article's content or the links or downloads it provides. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.