acepuppets

Is SATs Preparation Stifling Enthusiasm For Writing?

Posted on: May 21, 2015


mr-spider1

The year seems to go so very quickly and it seems that once we have settled back into a routine after one set of school holidays we are preparing for another.  It is the final half term before the big summer holidays and quite frankly my son is ready for a break from the school system.  My son has a decidedly laid back approach to writing, which I am sure will be an issue at parent’s evening tonight, it is not that he hasn’t got the ability or the content – he just wants to be able to take longer than the restricted time allocated to writing.  As a writer myself I can see where he is coming because deciding what to write about and making sure that it is something that is worth reading can often involve a lot of thinking, correcting and changing the title until it sounds just right.  The pressure to write has increased in intensity as the year has gone on and my son has revolted against it by writing coded letters to the fairies requesting that the teachers are turned into bubbles and blown away so he doesn’t have to write any more.

Before he went to school, my son told stories all of the time and tales of Mr Spider and Pimpa Pimpa were shared between him and his granddad.  He enjoys every other aspect of school and is very capable at maths, reading, comprehension, listening and speaking and spelling but writing is his bugbear.  The last parents evening I attended involved a lot of discussion about SATs and I felt a wave of stress come over me, until I remembered that he was only in year one and he wasn’t going to do SATs until next year and the big ones for another five years.  It is such a great shame that even in a school that values play the pressure to teach to the test always wins out in the end. This is most definitely related to the impact low SATs results has on a school’s OFSTED grading, the ironic part of all this is that secondary schools only use Key Stage SATs results as a weak guide to the groups they should be in.

It really makes you wonder why the Government has harped on about the importance of play in the early years only to begin hot housing them when they start school.  The pressure to compete with other countries has meant that passing tests and ticking boxes has become the sole purpose of teaching and learning.  When you read articles about how play can incorporate all aspects of learning such as this one by Playdale Playgrounds celebrating the learning potential of sand and water.  I am afraid that this need to test all of the time is going to take away the excitement of learning and gradually switch children off.

I guess I am just going to have to start installing an enthusiasm for writing in my son and hopefully this will be just a phase he is going through.

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