acepuppets

Posts Tagged ‘SATs


year11

The Spring term is the shortest one in the year but probably the most intense. Teachers of year two and six will be psyching themselves up for the SATs that can now determine whether a school is good or not. My son has finally reached the age where testing will play a major part of his school life and he will be expected to perform to his best abilities to prove that he has been taught correctly. He will participate in writing, reading and maths tests and will face an onslaught of practice tests until he has to do the real ones.

I am all for assessment and how it informs planning for his further learning but I hate the way that it is also a test for the teachers. There are many things that teachers do that are not accounted for in the test so their true worth is not represented in the results. The tests don’t take into account the non academic strengths a child may have and we get so tunnel visioned about what children can do in the test that all of the other important life skills are forgotten.

GCSEs and A levels are understandably stressful because they are transitional and the better you do the greater your career choices but with SATs there are no obvious benefits for the child. Motivating a child to do a test that has no reward seems to be cruel and unnecessary and the pressure is too great at such a young age. I really don’t like the concept of a child perceiving themselves as a success or a failure at such a young age.

My son is looking forward to going back to school to see his friends and play on the playground equipment in the play area next to the school. He loves learning and finds learning opportunities everywhere left to his own devices he has learnt how to follow instructions to build Lego sets, figured out how to build a computer game, how to look after a puppy, that adults are only human and that he loves performing. He sets himself challenges and gets so excited when he achieves them, his first words were, ‘I did it’.

I don’t want vigorous testing to destroy that thirst for knowledge and a curiosity to learn. I feel nervous about the tests in the same way I did when I let him have the MMR vaccine.

Advertisements

I have to admit I have been a particularly bad parent this summer holidays because I have worked for most of it and only engaged in, ‘perfect’, activities a minimal number of times with my son.  So to write a condescending post about entertaining children seems exceptionally hypocritical.  It is not that I am not interested in spending time with my son because when we are together we gel so well that we chat and entertain each other with simple things.  I am constantly encouraging him to think for himself and find ways that he can entertain himself as a complete contrast to the intensity of the school day.  Is it my imagination or do children look lost the first few days of the holidays because nobody is telling them what to do.

When my son was born I dedicated all my efforts into getting him ready to learn and fortified him with so many words and sounds that he could pick them up pretty quickly when he got to school.  Now that he is six and achieving exactly what I was aiming for, I feel that it is time for him to start applying his skills more so that they become practical rather than theoretical so they are of concrete use to him.  This type of parenting involves only giving him a helping hand after he has tried or nudge him in the right direction – which looks like lazy parenting.  I put in such a lot of ground work to learn everything about my son when was small I don’t really have to nag him very much and only have to raise my voice to remind him that six year olds have to listen sometimes.

Next year is SATs for my son and although he seems to find tests quite amicable and just gets on with it, I feel rather sad that the first seven years of my son’s life is going to be summarised by some form of levelling, (which no longer seems clear). My son still believes in magic and is a cuddly and considerate little boy who can tell if you need kind words to make you feel better.  When he goes to the playground he finds friends to play with and enjoys socialising with people.  At school he appreciates everything that the teachers have set up for him in the school playground and never likes to leave.

Although I missed my son for part days during the holidays I did spend loads of time with him and just got used to him bouncing around singing, dancing, talking and cuddling up to me.  I am really dreading dropping him off at the school playground at the beginning of term because I love him more and more every single day and want to keep him in his magic bubble.


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.


brick

You know what they say,  those who give up smoking are the really anti smoking, the same can be said of education.  Since I gave up the annoying habit of trying get children interested in full stops and capital letters when they wanted to do something more interesting instead, I have become so anti education system.  I surprise myself at how I look upon it the same it was depicted in the the Pink Floyd video, ‘Another Brick In The Wall’, my revulsion of the system has intensified since having my son and seeing him getting used to Literacy hour and Numeracy hour.

My son goes to a great school where dinosaur eggs and fairy rings can be found in the playground, all of the children are allowed to be themselves and flourish in a small environment.  All the teachers are dedicated and the headteacher likes to get dirty (muddy) with the kids.  The other parents are great and there is no playground or birthday party politics to worry about so in essence everything is pucker.  The only spectre on the horizon is the impact SATs test results have on the school’s OFSTED grading.

It is amazing that the two worst parts of the education system have been reduced to a six letter and three letter acronyms invented by a whole load of toffs that have never experienced children as anything but statistics in long winded reports.  I know they the value added bit so that schools cannot coast any more and low achieving schools can show improvement but the statistics don’t show the things that really matter.

Most parents don’t really give a toss about SATs results because to them their child has achieved so many great things already and the fact that they are still young when they take the tests doesn’t really reflect what they are capable of achieving later on in life. SATs must be the only test that children take that doesn’t reward them with tangible success, if you do well in your GCSE’s you can do A Levels you are interested in, if you do well at A Level you get to the university you want, if you do well at university you increase chances of getting a better job and earning more money.  In reality believing that passing exams alone is going to make you successful is bunkum Bill Gates’s classmates who were good at exams ended up working for him.  Richard Branson was more innovative than academic and Jamie Oliver was a special needs child due to being dyslexic.  They are all millionaires so not doing well at primary school has no real indication of what you are able to achieve.

I completely believe that children should be educated and consider that the social and routine experience of school is as important as the academic part.  The thing that I find difficult to swallow is how children are suddenly expected to develop in a linear fashion when start school as opposed to the opportunistic way I thoroughly enjoyed when my son was younger.

This wonderful infographic by Playdale Playgrounds reminds us how much a child learns through play and that the only levels that they need to be concerned with are the height of the slide.

The Effects Of Play On Child Development


Hey I’m on Mumsnet!!

mumsnet bloggers network

Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

Join 322 other followers

Calendar

July 2018
M T W T F S S
« Feb    
 1
2345678
9101112131415
16171819202122
23242526272829
3031  

Hey I am On Tots 100!

TOTS100 - UK Parent Blogs
TOTS100
Advertisements