Just before half term, it occurred to me that I hadn’t seen Master Frugal’s PE kit in a while and I joked to him that it must be getting smelly as I couldn’t remember the last time he’d brought it home to wash. His reply astounded me….
It’s OK Mam, it’s not dirty because we haven’t had PE in a while.
We’re way too busy doing extra SATs work to do PE!
I spoke to his teacher and he was right, the year 6 pupils are apparently too busy revising for the SATs to do any PE and there were no plans to bring it back until after the SATs had been done. His teacher was lovely and tried to reassure me that after the SATs were finished that they’d be making up for lost time and things would be much more relaxed at school.
It’s not good enough though!
I hate the pressure that the schools are putting on children these days to get results which ultimately have no impact on the children as they move up to secondary school. Miss Frugal did amazing in her SATs and came out above average but as clever as I know she is, I think her outstanding results were more to do with the fact that from the start of year 5 until the week before SATs take place, the children at our school do a practice test paper. Her results were more about her being exam ready than her wider knowledge if you know what I mean.
She got more and more scared the closer we got to SATs and the pressure the school put on her was immense and for the whole week of the tests themselves she was just a bag of nerves. The day she got her results was worse as she was terrified to open the envelope in case she hadn’t done well.
This is all in spite of the fact that I constantly told her that the only thing that mattered was that she tried her best which is all I would ever expect. Every time I told her that, the school told her the opposite and drummed it into her that she was expected to achieve.
She cried when she saw her results which were brilliant and well above the national average as was expected from all students at our school. And what did these amazing results get her when she went up to secondary school? Absolutely nothing at all other than higher targets to achieve by the end of year 7 as her school use the SATs results to set aspirational targets.
Master Frugal is a whole different ball game – he’s done excellent in all of his practice test papers and has so far escaped the dreaded booster lessons before and after school and hasn’t been called out in class for his test results as many of his classmates have. He’s pretty confident going in to the exams at the moment and when we discussed the strike action that’s taking place across the country today, he was adamant that he did not want to stay off school.
I explained that I didn’t believe in SATs and that I felt that they were unfair and not a true reflection of ability and he said he agreed but he didn’t want to let the school down and that if he wasn’t worried about them then I should be.
There’s not much I can say to that is there?
So as much as I wanted to keep him off school and give my support to the growing movement of parents who are objecting to the SATs, I couldn’t.
I wholeheartedly support all those parents who did keep their children off school today though.
Let’s hope that it made a difference!
** I did just want to say that in all other aspects, the school Master Frugal goes to is amazing and all of the staff without exception want the best for our children. It’s just a shame that they have to go to the lengths they do to push students to achieve. I’m not going to pretend I understand why schools need to do well but there is clearly pressure being put on them from above as so many other parents are having the same experience with their children’s schools right now. **
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Image credit: Shutterstock, Kozini