Key stage 1

This phase of education has become a more demanding and complex time with formal learning, testing and a strict curriculum is in place in schools from day 1. Children are expected to pick up the phonic skills and be reading and writing very early in this phase with demanding academic targets set even within the reception year.

Schools may flag up difficulties to parents, which can come as a shock and they are unsure how to help their child with early but complex skills, such as blending sounds and applying spelling rules.

Sometimes the school hasn’t flagged up any difficulty but many parents we talk to know when their child is not performing at the level required or expected, in relation to their other abilities. They may not be at the level to receive individualised extra support in school but without additional input, struggling pupils fall further behind their peers, year-on-year. The consequences are wide-ranging: long-term poor academic achievement, low self-esteem, lower motivation and disengagement with education long term.

There are also students who have literacy and numeracy skills beyond that of their peers and are finding Key Stage 1 work easy. Some parents are keen for additional learning opportunities as they worry that their child may become disengaged, bored or feel that their potential is not being realised through the lack of challenge at school.