Information for local authorities on training and standardisation for moderators of key stages 1 and 2 English writing.

Standardisation provides schools with assurance that local authority (LA) moderation teams have the required knowledge to undertake moderation of key stage 1 (KS1) and key stage 2 (KS2) English writing teacher assessment (TA).

It ensures:

  • the consistency and accuracy of TA and its moderation across England
  • LA moderators are familiar with the KS1 and KS2 English writing frameworks for the 2020 to 2021 academic year

Each key stage is moderated annually (excluding 2020). LAs are required to moderate at least 25% of maintained schools and 25% of academies and participating independent schools, that have opted in to the LA’s external moderation process.

Approval to moderate

Standardisation exercises are used to gain STA approval to moderate and are normally undertaken annually. However, the usual approach to standardisation exercises has been suspended for 2021.

External moderation is still planned for the 2021 summer term.

STA approval to moderate will be granted in the following order:

  1. Approved moderators from 2019/20 – this should cover the vast majority.

  2. Approved moderators from 2018/19 who did not attempt a standardisation exercise in 2019/20.

  3. Approved moderators from 2018/19 who were unsuccessful in 2019/20 standardisation. These moderators must be cognisant of the issued commentaries, have had a discussion with their moderation manager and the moderation manager must have confidence in the moderator’s ability to make accurate judgments.

LAs should compile their list of approved moderators based on this order of precedence and note it in their moderation plans. All materials from the 2020/21 training events will be available for LAs and schools to download from the Primary Assessment Gateway (PAG), as well as previous years’ training materials. LA moderators can choose to use these materials for training, if required.

Standardisation exercise

As a contingency, STA will make one standardisation exercise available in the 2020 autumn term through the PAG. It can be used by LAs that do not have sufficient approved moderators after following the criteria above. Participation is expected to be low.

Details of the full process for the exercise, which must be successfully completed, are included in the timeline below.

Standardisation and training timeline

Activities Dates
STA to share 2020/21 KS1 and KS2 approval to moderate blank certificates with LAs. 21 September 2020
Completion period for KS1 and KS2 standardisation exercise, for use by LAs that do not have sufficient approved moderators. 2 November to 6 November 2020
2018/19 and 2019/20 standardisation training materials, and exercise and commentaries for 2020/21 standardisation exercise, uploaded to the Primary Assessment Gateway. 13 November 2020
LAs to provide STA with the names of moderators who successfully completed an exercise in 2020, via a survey. 13 November to 20 November 2020
Regional on-line training events for moderation managers/lead moderators. Week commencing 18 January, 25 January or 1 February 2021
Materials from the 2020/21 training events made available to LAs and schools on the Primary Assessment Gateway. 15 February 2021

Moderation training events

In readiness for the 2021 test cycle, STA will be hosting a number of half-day, online TA moderation training events for LAs during January and February 2021. These events will support understanding of national standards in relation to the teacher assessment frameworks for English writing.

We have allocated each LA 2 places for online training, at each key stage. We recommend this includes the moderation manager and a lead moderator.

Independent education consultants, moderating on behalf of an LA, can attend by contacting the LA they work with and agreeing to attend on their behalf.

LA moderation managers will automatically receive a link to book their attendees onto these events.

Training event dates

20 January 2021 21 January 2021
27 January 2021 28 January 2021
3 February 2021 4 February 2021


If you have any queries about LA moderation, or moderator training and standardisation, please contact the national curriculum assessments helpline on 0300 303 3013 or email [email protected].

Published 7 September 2018
Last updated 21 September 2020 + show all updates

  1. Updated for the 2020/21 academic year.

  2. Changes to standardisation training event and exercise dates for the 2019/20 test cycle. Updates to allow LAs to plan for the standardisation activities.

  3. Updated dates to confirm when approval to moderate letters will be issued.

  4. First published.