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Parents needed to speak out against SATs

ROS is getting more and more media requests for parents willing to speak out against SATS. If you have something to say, please get in touch with us via email.

This Post Has 4 Comments

  1. Hi, I know year 2 SATs aren’t as hated as year 6 SATs, but I hate them right now and would love for them to just stop! My son Lucas is 7, he’s an incredibly bright, curious and caring boy who started reception with a zeal for knowledge that his teachers couldn’t keep up with. His first teacher told me that it took her a few weeks to realise that he just needed to continually be learning to keep him occupied. He’s not a traditional learner, like most boys his age he needs to be moving around, learning by doing and seeing and touching. He doesn’t enjoy reading but can do it when pushed. When he finished year 1 his teacher hailed him a mathematical genius for his natural ability in the subject and his love for it. In year 2 I have seen all of his curiosity, all of his passion and his drive and his joy seep out of him. When I ask what he learned at school, compared with reception and year 1 when he would gush about the amazing things he learned and be so keen to show me his new skills and knowledge, he now just shrugs and tells me he can’t remember. He says they sit at tables all day and do English and maths. Even ‘topic’ work, which is supposed to be their time to get away from grammar and arithmetic, is simply reading about things and writing about them. They went on a trip to the botanic gardens and he learned about habitats and hedgehogs and was full of enthusiasm for it. When he returned to school the following day he had to simply write a page of A4 about his trip.

    I’ve been for meetings with his teacher, had discussions with the head and all I am hearing is that he doesn’t listen, that he won’t engage with any of the subjects, that he doesn’t finish his work and that he will quite happily sit and stare at a wall for an hour while the other kids are working. Then he gets outside at play time and goes wild, barrelling around and knocking other kids over like bowling pins because he has so much energy and it just explodes out of him. So I get called up to school to deal with his ‘behaviour’ and told that he is too rough and can’t play with the other kids, that he’s being kept in at play times because he can’t stop himself from pushing and jumping and throwing himself around. His teacher even said to me recently that he doesn’t seem to care when he is kept in, he just sits and stares at the wall and counts down the time until he can leave.

    Does that sound healthy for a 7 year old whose enthusiasm for school could barely be contained at ages 4, 5 and 6?

    We have decided that it falls to us to fill in all of the gaps in his education at home. So we are doing art, science, music, PE, history, RE, performing arts, DT and everything other than maths and English on top of our full time jobs and while caring for our other child. We have drafted in grandparents to help with all of the things that we feel he simply isn’t getting out of school. We are all (grandparents included) educated and intelligent professionals with a vast array of individual skills and we have taught our son to know what each of our ‘specialist subjects’ is so if he has a question he knows which of us to ask. When we have suggested in the past that he asks his teacher he tells us that he has tried and she has said either she doesn’t have time to tell him or that she does not know.

    Clearly we are aware that this is one sided, that we are not in the classroom day to day and do not know what the pressures on his teacher and other staff members are when dealing with him and his friends. We are also sympathetic that the teachers themselves are not enjoying this focus on maths and English and that they did not choose this curriculum. So it isn’t without some degree of sympathy and understanding that we approach this issue.

    Our concern is that our son does not simply switch off entirely from education at the age of 7. We are also conscious that our 4 year old daughter will start school in September and would very much like her not to have to go through any of this.

  2. As a prior teacher and a parent, we need to educate other parents on how damaging and pointless SATs are. They are stressful and unnecessary. The take over in y6 (and in y5 in some schools) of SATs practice is damaging and ruining school for children. It does not foster a love of learning. We need more play, love, nurture and creative learning in our schools. Not practising how to pass tests and learn test content. A persons worth should not be measured on their test results only as they currently are in schools. Teachers and heads sit around discussing children by their ability and what target they can be bumped up to in order for the school to look good. They don’t sit around and discuss children by their qualities, if they are kind and thoughtful, if they’re happy in school, if School is helping them to be a happier person and how the curriculum can teach h them compassion, kindness, how to look after their mental health, how to look after each other, life skills, loving learning, becoming musicians, scientists, artists. It’s the latter that the curriculum should focus on.

  3. My elder son (now 12) had a miserable final year at Primary school and while part of it was down to high hormone levels in his peers, making them all stressed and bad tempered, much of it was due to the intolerable pressure placed on him by teachers desperate to get them all through SATS. My son is academic and above average ability and was destined to do well with or without the pressure. I have a younger son (8) and I am seriously considering boycotting the SATS. I think they are deplorable.

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