I have been thinking about writing this post for a while. Year 6 SATs are a massive deal for primary school - the results are used as one way of judging the effectiveness of a school by people such as OFSTED. It seems that a lot of schools are also making them a big deal for children too. This has led to worrying stories about Year 6 children getting stressed and anxious about them. As I am sure anybody would agree, that isn't good.
Where does this stress come from? Is it something that is filtered down from the teachers because they are feeling the pressure. They know the impact a 'bad' set of results could have on their own performance management (if that is one of their targets). They also know that the results matter for the school. It could affect what category OFSTED put the school in and all the ramifications that come with that.
Is it pressure from the media? There's usually a few stories about SATs on the television news or in the papers.
Is it pressure from parents because they want their child to do well because they have been given the impression by someone or something that it will affect the life chances of their child?
Is it pressure created by the school due to all the pre and post SATs events such as booster classes and after SATs parties and trips? What about the other year groups that work just as hard but don't get a trip/party? Does a Year 6 child really work harder in SATs week than in a normal teaching week?
Imagine a child that was feeling the pressure from ALL of these places. That is a lot for a child who is eleven to handle.
What about if we didn't tell them? What if we just gave them the tests on the day and didn't mention any kind of significance. I like what @shinpad1 (Sinead) said on Twitter about how they call them puzzle books with their children. No big deal. Just do them and move on. If the children receive high quality teaching throughout KS2 then there should be no need for booster classes. I realise this may be an ideal world but are we going about things the wrong way?
I'm not advocating a particular stance but I do worry about the pressure that SATs puts on our children and whether we can alleviate it by going about things in a different way.
Thanks for reading and I'd be very interested in your thoughts.