My daughter walked through the door and slung her bag down on the settee…
“Have you had a good day at school?” I greeted her. Glass of milk and biscuit on the side.
“No, it has been really bad..” She said. “I didn’t finish my paper, I ran out of time…”
Her disappointment was evident on her little tanned face. She had spent her weekend playing out with friends and spending time with me in the garden. We’d decided she’d worked hard enough. What will be will be.
“It doesn’t matter” I shrugged.
I genuinely meant it.
There has been so much uproar surrounding the SATs tests and how they put our children under too much pressure.
But I know that my daughter has tried her best. She has spent her time practising the papers for 20 mins each day. She’s tackled the homework on her own and the questions that she hasn’t understood she’s asked for help. She’s also been attending extra classes in the morning before school – she’s done this off her own back. So I know she wanted to try and I know she has tried her best.
As a mother who has put older children through an 11+ which I see as more pressure. With the 11+ it’s a pass or a fail. Their secondary school choice is dependent upon it. But it was clear with my daughter that the 11+ system was not going to be the right choice for her as it was for her brothers. I totally believe in the right school for the right child and protecting our child’s mental health. It’s not healthy to push them too hard beyond their limits. It’s also not healthy to push them to pass a test which they could then move into a school that isn’t right for them and they constantly struggle.
But the SATs I feel more laid back about them. I see them as just a measure as to what our children are up to now. I’ve explained to my daughter it’s effort over grades and she has certainly put the effort in. Therefore as a parent how can I grumble?
“They’re just a measure…” I explained to her. “Just a measure as to what you are up to. When I was child there were always tests.”
I’ve turned it around that the measure will show her strengths and weaknesses, therefore what she’s weak on can be worked on. I think it’s a healthy way to look at it and a way that won’t discourage her from learning.
SATs are just a measure. A measure that will guide our children on so that they move on at the levels they need. And we need to remember that they are only an academic measure. They don’t measure all of the other skills that will push our children on in life.
For my daughter it’s her humour, her have a go attitude, her physical energy, independence, her drive and her ability with people.
My daughters school teacher has a sign on the wall…
“It’s OK not to know, never ok to not try.”
She’s tried. I’m happy. I also think…
“Pah, not finished the paper, it doesn’t mean the other questions haven’t been answered correctly, she was clearly taking her time…”
So for any nervous parents who are going through this week with their youngsters. Just remember. It’s just a measure. Their entire futures are not dependent upon it.
Unlike my eldest who is preparing for his GCSE examinations. The pressure is on but thankfully he’s taking them in his stride. You see he’s used to tests, test such as SATs.