Spring has sprung. Daffodils are blooming, lambs are leaping and the air is thick with the sounds of birds and bees. And every parent of Year 6 students up and down the land are preparing to have ‘the chat’ with their children about the s word. SATs.
Now I don’t know about you but this word fills me with a real rage. You know that level of wrath that only a parent can reach.
When my youngest step-daughter did her SATs a few years ago it caused her so much anxiety that I swear her stress levels were comparable with those of the man who signed the nuclear codes over to President Trump. I remember then looking into these tests and what they meant, knowing that I’d had nothing more stressful than weekly spellings whilst I was in primary school. I was trying to imagine something that could cause this amount of stress in those so young, aged 11 all we had to worry about was whether we got the steps right to the latest New Kids on the Block dance.
I’ve spoken to a few people, read a few things, and I still can’t really see why our children should be subjected to this amount of stress over what appears to be a measure of how well the school is doing, rather than having any actual impact on our children’s education.
Luckily for my youngest child the research I did after my step-daughters SATs meant that I was pre-armed. Before the school’s SATs propaganda wagon could get into full flow I put in my Mummy Manifesto: how I didn’t want my child to worry about something that was really only of relevance to Ofsted, how I didn’t want him to think I cared about what test results he got and how I could guarantee that when he sat down for the job interview of his dreams in 10-15 years time no one would be asking him about his SATs score.
Now the SATs are imminent and whilst I think my Mummy Manifesto did the trick in keeping my boy’s stress levels low mine are on the rise. How had I been so blindsided? I was concentrating on the pressures on my son I had forgotten about the pressures on parents. That thing that drives us to post school uniform photographs every September and to bask in our child’s brilliance after parent’s evenings. I’d forgotten about the Facebook factor. I obviously won’t hand this pressure onto my son, I know however he does I will be proud. I might just be hoping for big news to distract us that day. Maybe President Trump and those nuclear codes…