Education & Family

Sats: 'I've told my son not to worry'

School pupils practising spelling
Image caption Sats assess children's grasp of the new primary school national curriculum

Year 6 pupils across England are sitting Sats this week, but are children feeling the pressure?

The tests have been controversial with many parents claiming they make children feel stressed and anxious.

Here, parents reveal how their children are coping with the test.

Andrew Smith, from West Sussex, has an 11-year-old daughter who is taking her Sats.

"She is a bit apprehensive as they are a set of tests, and yes, they are allegedly a bit harder this year."

"But she will do her best despite a bad throat and the recent warm weather hindering sleep."

Image copyright Andrew Smith

"She knows the tests are a fact of school life and that they were coming up - she has been prepared quite well and her school has been supportive."

"Teachers don't make light of the tests but they try to make them as fun as possible by including art and making things."

"I do simple maths quizzes or spelling tests with my daughter during a car journey, for example, to encourage her to work out things in the practical sense."

"The media have hyped it up - on Monday morning there was the news of children doing Sats - my daughter didn't need to hear that before breakfast to add stress on her."

"Throughout most modern history there has been some sort of exam at this age, be it the 11 plus, Sats or just end-of-year exams."

"My attitude is that if our children stand a chance of getting on in life, exams are something they are going to have to live with."

"Children need to get used to performing under pressure for exams, interviews, etc in the future - they should not be wrapped up in cotton wool."

"But the tests are not the be-all and end-all."

Michelle Harvey, from London, has a 10-year-old who is doing tests this week.

"I'm a strong believer that tests are good for children to see how they are doing at school and where they might need help."

"However, it's the insane pressure that's put on the children that I am against."

"Sats, in my opinion, are too hard and the children have been pushed and hounded to learn all they must to pass."

"My son has spent weeks and weeks doing practice paper after practice paper."

"I've told my son not to worry and try to keep him as relaxed as possible."

"But when he comes home from school I can see he is under pressure and is worried about not getting things right."

"In the latest newsletter from the school, I was shocked to read that parents must bring their child in even if the child is ill, just to do these tests."

Image copyright Michelle Harvey

"Our children forced to sit at school while sick for the benefit of what? Not for the benefit of the child."

"I feel we are not educating our children, just teaching them to pass these tests."

"These tests are purely for the school not for the children."

Alexandra Edwards, in East Sussex, has two children doing Sats.

"As a parent of two Year 6 children, I am appalled by yet another unsurprising twist in this farce."

"I sat one of the mock Spag (spelling, punctuation and grammar) tests myself last night and I found it challenging, to say the least."

"Many of the questions are set to catch children out at every turn."

"I am a primary school teacher and so is my husband and we have had concerns about these tests for some time."

"I have given up hope with the current regime completely."

"I am glad about the NUT stance on this - as I have been telling my children all the way through, this has very little to do with them and what is important is their learning."

"The trouble is that vulnerable 10-year-olds are in the middle of this and I feel that we are failing them in our duty to give them a rounded, challenging and creative education."

"I think we do need some sort of assessment but these tests go too far - the curriculum is difficult and the testing is over-rigorous.

"My husband and I try not to let our children feel any of the pressure - we don't buy them extra books or go over things all the time."

"We're able to leave a barrier there because of our understanding of the school system but we see the whole picture."

"The tests are in the interests of the school and government, not the children."

Compiled by Andree Massiah

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