What to expect in Year 2
Welcome to Year 2! Your child has now entered an important stage of their primary school experience: this is the year of the Key Stage 1 (KS1) end of year attainment tests known as SATS which mark the end of their KS1 journey. For many parents, this can feel like an emotional time, as their child prepares for their first formal testing and reaches the end of their stage as an infant. While you do need to be mindful of the end goal for this year, it is also important to see it for the wonderful year that it is.
The final year of KS1 will see your child being encouraged to work more independently. At this age, most children will have improved their ability to coordinate movement and their language/speech will be increasingly complex and grammatically correct, so it’s an exciting year for children, parents and teachers. This guide will help you to understand what your child will be learning and suggest helpful ways in which you can support them at home.
What will my child do in Year 2?
Developing literacy skills
In English, the children will continue to work on the phonics they have learned in Year 1, aiming to read words by sight without having to sound them out individually. They will learn further spelling patterns and rules, and begin to apply those in their writing. They will look at the possessive apostrophe, homophones and near homophones and suffixes.
There will be a more detailed focus on handwriting, with children encouraged to form their letters correctly, learn which letters are to be joined and make letters a consistent size. Children will learn to write for a range of purposes including stories, poetry and real events.
Grammar is a hot topic in Year 2! Children this age are expected to understand the following terms, to be able to spot them in their reading and apply them in their writing:
Noun, adjective, adverb, suffix, subordination, noun phrase, past tense, present tense, statement, question, exclamation, command, capital letter, full stop, question mark, exclamation mark, compound sentence and expanded noun phrase.
Mathematics in Year 2 focuses on the 2, 5 and 10 times-tables. Children in Year 2 will learn to add and subtract with two-digit and one-digit numbers. They will learn multiplication and division facts for the 2, 5 and 10 times-tables. In fractions, they will find 1/3, 1/4 1/2 and 3/4 of a shape or a quantity of objects. They will study measures, including weight, capacity and length, and they will learn to tell the time to five minutes. They will also study properties of 2D and 3D shapes, as well as a range of data-handling methods such as bar charts and pictograms. By the end of Year 2, pupils will be expected to know the number bonds to 20 and be precise in using and understanding place value. The new curriculum ‘mastery’ style of teaching concentrates on breadth of knowledge and children will be encouraged to use their understanding of the new concepts to solve challenges to deepen their understanding.
Science in Year 2 is engaging and fun. Expect your child to learn about living things and their habitats, plants, animals (including humans) and uses of everyday materials. They will also learn how to work scientifically, how to observe closely, and how to record their observations.
What do the KS1 SATs entail?
At the end of Year 2, all pupils will take SATS in reading, SPAG (spelling, punctuation and grammar) and maths. In 2017, the SPAG paper was optional and schools decided whether to administer it or not.
The reading test is made up of two papers, each worth 50% of the marks. They are designed to take roughly 30 minutes, although the children won’t be strictly timed. The SPAG test consists of two papers; one is a spelling test of approximately 15 minutes and the other is another short paper which will focus on punctuation and grammar. Maths is also split into two papers. The first is arithmetic where the basic understanding of place value and number is tested. The second is reasoning, where your child will need to apply their problem solving and reasoning skills to show their understanding.
The chances are that your child will be completely oblivious to the SATs process. Some schools prepare for the tests without ever using the word ‘test’ or ‘exam’, and most will try and keep it light. Your child’s school is likely to hold information evenings nearer the time, so look out for these as a chance to ask any questions you may have.
You can find more information about the tests on our Key Stage 1 SATs page.
How can I help my child in Year 2?
Help them understand what they read
As reading comprehension is so important this year, checking your child's understanding of the book they are reading is an excellent way to support them. Asking questions about the plot such as: 'What might happen next? Why do you think the boy is feeling sad? What sort of mood is being created?' will help them to engage with their reading on a deeper level.
You can also do this when you are reading to them, which is still so important at this age. Children learn a lot from the way we read aloud and we can encourage them to see how the author's use of punctuation changes the way we read their work. Think about pointing out statements, commands, questions or exclamations when reading with your child. You might want to use a range of voices to show how types of sentences and punctuation can be read in different ways.
Mix it up
Giving your child access to a variety of writing styles — including a range of fiction and non-fiction books — will expand their vocabulary and knowledge as well as develop their reading fluency. Take a look at our recommendations in our Find a book section.
Any opportunity to use maths in a real-life context is really useful. For example, ask them to help you pay for goods or calculate change when shopping. This will help to develop their reasoning and problem solving skills. Learning to tell the time, especially to five minutes, is another great way to support your child's learning at home; this also links neatly to their counting in 5s in the 5 times-table.
Perhaps most importantly for maths, you can help your child at home by practising their times tables (2, 5 and 10) regularly. There are many different ways you can do this, but it is beneficial if your child can use and apply this knowledge — for example, not just knowing that 10 x 2 is 20, but also realising that 20 divided by 2 is 10. You could use journey time to school to give your child fun times table challenges. You can also make up word problems relating times-tables facts to real life
Finally, you can develop their independence at home by encouraging your child to get dressed on their own or organise their belongings more independently. This will help enormously as they move up through the school!
Useful resources on the Oxford Owl website
- Key Stage 1 SATs
- How grammar is taught at school
- Practise reading with our free eBooks
- Make learning times tables fun
National Curriculum for England, Scotland and Wales
All information on Oxford Owl for Home is aligned with the National Curriculum for England. Much of this information is also relevant for children in Scotland and Wales, but do refer to the following curriculum links for more detail.
National curriculum in England: primary
Education in Scotland
School curriculum in Wales