Key Stage 2 Prior Attainment Bands with Scaled Scores (November 2021)


Following the publication of Academic Year 2020/21 Key stage 4 performance on 4th November 2021, the DFE have now confirmed how prior attainment groups are categorised for the 2020/2021 cohort who had scaled scores as their KS2 results instead of national curriculum levels (see 

This new categorising has changed the distribution of the numbers in each group with less pupils in the High prior attainer group and more students in the middle and low prior attaining groups compared to previous years.

The new categories are calculated in the following way: 

  • Low prior attainers (code L) have an average scaled score (average of their English reading and maths scaled scores) of below 100.
  • Middle prior attainers (code M) have an average scaled score greater than or equal to 100 but less than 110.
  • High prior attainers (code U) have an average scaled score greater than or equal to 110.


How to replicate this in 4Matrix for cohorts from 2021 and beyond

  1. Select your required series.
  2. Navigate to Admin > Edit Markbook.
  3. Click on More Columns > More Columns. A pop-up appears with fields that can be added to the grid. Click and drag the UPN field into the column Header row.
  4. Click on File > Export to Excel.
  5. Delete rows 1 and 2.
  6. Delete all columns except for Forename, Surname, Gender, Prior Attainment Band, UPN Reading Scaled Score and Maths Scaled Score.
  7. Add one new column entitled ‘Reading & Maths Average’ and second new column entitled ‘New prior attainment band’.
  8. Copy the entire sheet contents into a new sheet.
  9. Highlight the two KS2 Scaled Scores columns (except headings) and click on the yellow exclamation mark to select ‘Convert to Number’.
  10. Add an AVERAGE formula to work out the average of Reading and Maths scaled scores in Reading & Maths Average column e.g. =AVERAGE(F2:G2)
  11. Select a cell in the table and then select Data > Sort in the ribbon. Sort by the ‘Reading & Maths Average’ field.
  12. Add L, M and U values into the ‘New Prior Attainment Band’ field as per the categories defined above. You can copy a value from a cell to adjacent rows by hovering the cursor over the bottom right of a cell (so that the cursor changes to +) and dragging.
  13. Save the spreadsheet.
  14. Import into 4Matrix via Admin > Spreadsheet > Pupil/Results route. Map Surname, Forename, Gender, UPN to the similarly named fields if they haven’t auto mapped.
  15. The ‘New Prior Attainment Band’ will need to be mapped to Prior Attainment Band. Map the original Prior Attainment Band column to “Not Included”.
  16. Retain the spreadsheet so you have a record of previous prior attainment bands.



You can also edit each pupil's PA Band value in Admin > Edit Pupils tool manually by clicking on the cell. The Prior Attainment Band is pupil-focussed which means it only needs to be entered once and the same value will show across all series. PA Bands can be used in the main Pupil Filter control and there will be a row for them by default in the KPI Summary and Subject Overview.


However, users do need to be aware that if using Research Groups the pupil populations within these do not update automatically. If you need further help or advice, please do contact support at


Article revised: 10/11/2021