SATs, SATs, everyone's talking about SATs this week. Are they easy or are they too hard? Why should kids do them? How stressed everyone is.
Now, I consider myself a bit of a veteran in this area. My third child is this week going through the sheer joy that is Year 6 SATs week. And that's all it is. Just one week. A week of tests. After which? Everything goes back to normal. Like it never happened.
And we all wonder what the fuss was about in the first place.
But this week everyone is stressed apparently.
(Why on earth are the kids stressed? Who is stressing them out? Hmm?)
I have to say, that I am yet to see the stress that others seem to. I have told my son to do his best, and that if his older siblings can manage it then he will be fine too. The word stress has not entered my vocabulary, or his, once.
Is he stressed? No. At the moment he is upstairs playing Minecraft on his XBox.
He told me yesterday that one teacher said that it would be a good idea to practice every spelling he knows in preparation for today's test. I have told him that this is both impossible and unnecessary.
(I tend to think that if he doesn't know it now then he hasn't been taught it and so the test results will be an accurate reflection on his school, which is kind of the point of the SATs isn't it?)
The same teacher has also given the children all a sheet of relaxation techniques - don't even get me started on this...
Has he done some revision? Yes, a little bit over Easter, along with doing normal kid stuff, and probably playing too much XBox. We haven't pushed it.
I can see why as a first time parent experiencing SATs, you might be anxious for your child. Believe me, I have been there, with a child desperate to do his best and me willing him on from the sidelines for the better part of a term in preparation for them. And the outcome? The results were withheld while the school's testing area was investigated for not being satisfactory. The results finally came in the second term of Year 7, by which time he was more than half way through his first year of high school, and the SATs had long since been forgotten.
They meant nothing to anyone. An anticlimax to say the least.
I'm not for one minute saying that if you are a parent going through this for the first time, that you should simply chill the f*ck out (although maybe I am, I'm not really sure until I get to the end of writing this). I just think that it's a bad idea to place so much emphasis on one week of tests.
I can't see a reason why anyone would need to.
Which is why in this family we're carrying on as normal this week. The boy will take his tests. We'll ask him how he got on, tell him "well done" and move on. I have to confess that until I caught a sniff of this in the media, I had almost forgotten that this was the week. (You could say that it's because he's my third child but I prefer to think we've got this whole SATs thing under control, ha!)
We won't even mention the word stress.
And the results. Will. Not. Define. Him.
So yes, I do think we all need to start worrying less about testing in schools. And what if we were to stop referring to them as stressful? Maybe the kids wouldn't worry so much.
Just a thought.