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Year 5 and 6 Spellings

Are you looking to find out more about Year 5 and 6 spellings?

Are you looking for a list of the common exception words for Year 5 and 6?

Are you looking to find out what the National Curriculum says about Year 5 and 6 spellings?

Want to know how spelling is assessed at the end of KS2?

Then read on to find out the answers to these questions and much more in our handy guide to Year 6 and 6 spellings!

Year 5 and 6 spellings classroom

How is spelling assessed at the end of KS2?

When children are in Year 6, they will sit two Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling SATS tests. These are known as:

Grammar, Punctuation and Spelling PAPER 1 (45 mins)

Grammar Punctuation and Spelling PAPER 2 (15 mins approximately)

The papers must be administered in order. Pupils may have a break between the papers.  

It is in Paper 2 that year 6 children's spelling will be assessed. The paper consists of 20 sentences with missing words. The teacher will read out the sentences including the missing word. Children will be required to write the correct spelling of each missing word.

Teachers are provided with a booklet with specific guidance on how to adminsiter the test with their class.

Year 5 and 6 Spellings - The National Curriculum

These are the statutory requirements in regard to spelling in the National Curriculum for Year 5 and 6:


Endings which sound like /əs/ ʃ spelt –cious or –tious

Examples: vicious, precious, conscious, delicious, malicious, suspicious ambitious, cautious, fictitious, infectious, nutritious


Endings which sound like /ʃəl/

Examples: official, special, artificial, partial, confidential, essential


Words ending in –ant, –ance/–ancy, –ent, –ence/–ency

Examples: observant, observance, (observation), expectant (expectation), hesitant, hesitancy (hesitation), tolerant, tolerance (toleration), substance (substantial) innocent, innocence, decent, decency, frequent, frequency, confident, confidence (confidential) assistant, assistance, obedient, obedience, independent, independence


Words ending in –able and –ible Words ending in –ably and –ibly

Examples: applicable/applicably (application), considerable/considerably (consideration), tolerable/tolerably (toleration) changeable, noticeable, forcible, legible dependable, comfortable, understandable, reasonable, enjoyable, reliable possible/possibly, horrible/horribly, terrible/terribly, visible/visibly, incredible/incredibly, sensible/sensibly


Adding suffixes beginning with vowel letters to words ending in –fer

Examples: referring, referred, referral, preferring, preferred, transferring, transferred reference, referee, preference, transference


Use of the hyphen

Examples: co-ordinate, re-enter, co-operate, co-own


Words with the /i:/ sound spelt ei after c

Examples: deceive, conceive, receive, perceive, ceiling


Words containing the letter-string ough

Examples: ought, bought, thought, nought, brought, fought rough, tough, enough cough though, although, dough through thorough, borough plough, bough


Words with ‘silent’ letters (i.e. letters whose presence cannot be predicted from the pronunciation of the word)

Examples: doubt, island, lamb, solemn, thistle, knight


Homophones and other words that are often confused

Examples: advice/advise device/devise licence/license practice/practise prophecy/prophesy farther: further father: a male parent guessed: past tense of the verb guess guest: visitor heard: past tense of the verb hear herd: a group of animals led: past tense of the verb lead lead: present tense of that verb, or else the metal which is very heavy (as heavy as lead) morning: before noon mourning: grieving for someone who has died past: noun or adjective referring to a previous time (e.g. In the past) or preposition or adverb showing place (e.g. he walked past me) passed: past tense of the verb ‘pass’ (e.g. I passed him in the road) precede: go in front of or before proceed: go on principal: adjective – most important (e.g. principal ballerina) noun – important person (e.g. principal of a college) principle: basic truth or belief profit: money that is made in selling things prophet: someone who foretells the future someone (e.g. Whose jacket is that?) stationary: not moving stationery: paper, envelopes etc. steal: take something that does not belong to you steel: metal wary: cautious weary: tired who’s: contraction of who is or who has whose: belonging to


Common Exception Words

Year 5 and 6 Spellings - Games and Activities

Schools use a range of different methods to help children learn their spellings. Here are some of the most popular ways to help children learn their spelling words:

1. Wordsearches: spelling words could be hidden in a wordsearch for children to find. If they are learning, for example, how to add +tion to root words, perhaps only the root words could be provided!

2. Hangman: playing a game of hangman on a whiteboard is also another popular way to help children memorise spellings.

3. Anagrams: children could be given anagrams of spelling words which they have to unscramble.

4. Spelling Art: draw an overlapping wiggly line with space in each section you create. Choose one word for each sentence and challenge children to write the word as many times as they can within each section.

5. Word rank: from a range of spelling words, ask children to rank them from what they think are the easiest to spell to the hardest. Try to identify why the words at the bottom are hardest and work on these first. Children could write them out, identifying the trickiest letters and making sure to write these letters larger than the others.

6. Silly sentences: make up silly sentences that use all the words from a given list of spellings. What’s the silliest sentence you can make?!

7. Table tennis spelling: in pairs, children to imagine they are playing table tennis but they bat letters instead of balls! They take it in turns to ping pong each letter in a word in order to each other until they have spelt the word between them.

Year 5 and 6 spellings children in classroom

Year 5 and 6 Spellings - Look Say Cover Write Check

Children are typically given a Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check template which has a list of spelling words they need to learn in the first column. These may be common exception words, mis-spelt words identified in their writing or they may be words with a common spelling pattern they need to learn.

The idea of Look, Say, Cover, Write, Check is that the children take each spelling word in turn. First they will look at the word. The next step is to say it aloud so they can hear it. After that, they cover the word over with either their hand or a piece of paper. Then, they will try to write the word in the next column of the table. Finally, they check their spelling by either removing their hand or the piece of paper. This process can be repeated until children have successfully learnt the spelling.

Here are some possible ways in which the Look, Say, Cover, Write Check technique for learning spellings could be used:

- As a morning task when children come into the classroom before registration

-During spelling sessions as a way to provide practise for children in learning spellings

-As a homework task to support parents in helping children learn their spellings

Year 5 and 6 spellings classroom with teacher

Year 5 and 6 Spellings - Useful Blogs and Articles

Here at PlanBee we not only have a huge library of resources to support teachers, but we also write expert articles and blogs on a range of subjects. Here are some that you might like to read to find out more about Year 5 and 6 Spellings:


FREE: Printable Letter Tiles

FREE: Homophones Game

FREE: Year 5 Spelling List

FREE: Year 6 Spelling List