SATs – Unnecessary Stress for my 6-Year-Old

Silly-Assessment-Test is what my school head teacher used to call them. He highlighted that they are nothing more than ridiculous tests school aged children have to take every three years until they are ready to sit their GCSEs.

I have to hand it to him, he made me feel so much better when faced with my year 9 SATs. However, years later, I wonder whether I am  doing enough to reduce the stress put onto my 6-year-old as he enters into his first hurdle of tests.

When it come to education, I think that school is very important, if not essential, for children and I hope that my children will continue their education till at least 18. However, as my eldest sits his SATs on this coming Monday, I can’t help but feel that they are very unnecessary and that these assessments are mainly to monitor the schools progress and measure the effectiveness of their teaching. But why do our children have to be put in such a stressful situation. Are schools pushing them around this time of year to ensure that they do well on their tests, or do they push our children to do well so that it good results reflect how successful the school is?

Assessment is closely linked to the accountability system in primary schools, with Key Stage 2 results used to hold schools and teachers to account on the progress and attainment of pupils.

It seems as though childhood stress and anxiety is on a rise and I cant help but feel that some of this is to do with the unnecessary stress that is placed on them especially around exam times. I have also found that the amount of homework that my son has been given recently has been very heavy to the point where it takes over his weekend as he is sat at the kitchen table trying to complete past papers. I am all for homework and continuing learning at home but recently it has been a ridiculous. At primary school age, I used to look forward to the weekends as this was the time where I could have fun. My brother and I could go on our own adventures and be free of our school uniform. It was a chance for us to really be free young children. As a mother, I still look forward to a school free weekend when I can take my children to the park, zoo, museums, or visit family. They are still learning, just not in the classroom. Instead being stuck indoors, my son becomes upset and frustrated and quite frankly, bored. 7 days a week practicing the same things repeatedly, not to mention having to get to school early once a week for extra English writing classes. It’s starting to give him a negative view on school, and I cannot blame him. As much as I support him and try to make things interesting, he is just losing interest which is upsetting as my son loves learning and has always been very inquisitive.

To add to this, over the last few weeks, my son has been refusing to eat lunch at school which has never been a problem. He has mentioned that he becomes ill close to lunch time and as a result gone the whole school day with only eating an apple. I have offered him packed lunch which has also refused. Forcing children to eat has never been something I have ever agreed with and as he is at school there is very little that I can do except answer numerous phone calls from the deputy head on days that he hasn’t eaten. Unfortunately, it is only now that I have started to wonder if there is a connection between his school work and eating habits at school as he is fine when he comes home for dinner. I am not surprised as morning lessons for him consist of Reading, English, and Maths which are subjects that will be tested.

Last month, evidence presented by teachers across the country revealed concerns that children as young as four were suffering from mental health problems such as panic attacks, eating disorders, anxiety and depression.

I cannot wait for next week to be over and for his equilibrium to be restored as this period has been a headache for me, and horrible for my child. I am very pleased that as of next year these test for six and seven-year-olds will be scrapped, unfortunately, this comes a little too late as this year the SATs have been made harder based on the national curriculum. For his younger siblings, it seems as though they will not have to undergo such measures but then again in the next few years something else may have changed in the education department.


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