According to my DD teacher, the english was very subtle. It seems that KCC may have cracked this as the questions and answers were designed to show children who had deep and broad litteracy skills, rather than children who had been tutored in a particular "style".
Teacher described it very elloquently and it made sense. It was much more about understanding text, interpretation, context and the general litteracy skills rather than "data extraction".
The maths questions however were not overly difficult according to teacher. What was challenging was that kids only had less time to answer questions compared to 1 min in previous tests. Parents seemed to get freaked out that DC did not finish the tests as all their revision papers were structured differently. However, its still relative. Maths results in DS cohort accurately reflected ability across the group. Teacher also said that the maths questions were very varied so children with a broad maths skills, and sound mental math abilities at KS2 would score well.
Thanks for the info Colmans, if this is a true account of the test this year, it sounds as if this test has suited the naturally able whilst stretching their ability. Which is exactly what the grammar schools want.
My DS's English is his weakest area, so the fact they had introduced English was a concern here! We focused on plenty of paper practice and building up of vocabulary by reading more books (he loves reading thank goodness) He was a 4C at the end of year 5 and managed to score 118, which we were happy with under the circumstances.