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A comment on recent SATS headlines
What on earth are adults doing? Stop this bloody madness
I feel compelled to comment on a recent headline about one of the standardised assessment tests completed this week by all the year six children, in particular a reading English paper.
Firstly, disclaimers - my 10 year old also sat said paper, I as a parent and a professional hold an opinion that these particular assessment tools are nothing but a measure of how well a school has taught a child to recall, and finally I hold a concern that children are being increasingly told they have ‘mental health’ issues.
So on to my commentary.
It has been reported by a headteacher’s union that there are claims that an English paper left some pupils ‘in tears’ and damaged ther ‘mental health and wellbeing’. Apparently hundreds of parents and teachers have complained online and the National Association of Head Teachers says it plans to raise the issue with exams teams.
Children are only going to feel the strain if they have been exposed to an environment which has indicated that not to do well at these tests is going to an issue, and that they will be less than or have no value if they do not reach a required standard.
This is not the fault of the tests, this is down to the adults wihtin the enviornment influencing the thoughts and beliefs of what these tests stand for.
Doing badly at one thing, or not being able to complete one thing is not ‘normally’ a reason for a child to have ‘mental health’ issues. If they are having breakdowns in healthy psychological states, again it is the fault of those adults around them, who have influenced and conditioned them into this being the right coping strategy.
Apparently a headteacher from a Cheshire primary school has written to her local MP to state that this year’s sats have seen ‘the most negative impact on our children that we have ever experienced,’ apparently ‘tears flowed from our most capable readers and stress levels rose amongst all others, thiswas the most challenging reading test I have seen in my 29 years as a teacher.’
Is she for real?
The most negative impact on children ever experienced in her teaching career was the nonsensical policies enacted on children throughout the pandemic.
The systematic isolation, the enforced screen time (which is so bad for the developing brain), the wearing of masks by adults, which interupts the mirror neuron system and prevents growth and learning in children. The fear and anxiety projected onto children by adults who really should have had more critical thinking and been more assertive around their children and their wellbeing.
This was the most negative impact on children in her teaching career.
Not a reading test that children should have been aware is not a guage of how they are developing as human beings but as a measure of school performance.
This is the problem I think.
Adults who are complaining about this test and its perceived difficulty, and I say perceived as my son was not in a mental breakdown because of it, nor were his peers, need to take a good long look at themselves and how they relate to children.
It is being all too normal for emotions to be projected onto issues that really do not warrant that emotion, or drama. Yet where children need to be supported, loved and cared for this being ignored, minimised and simply dysfunction and negativity being normalised.
I am so troubled by the increasing focus on making children unwell.
The real world is not fair, it does not have fairness built into it. The sooner children are taught this and that sometimes they will experience things that they may not be prepared for, may be tougher than they thought and that this is part of life’s rich tapestry then the better prepared for growth and development they will be.
It should not ilicit crying and declarations of ‘mental health’ when a child cannot complete a reading test to the standard what they had been told they should be at.
There should be no outpouring on social media of parents and teachers using inappropriate language to describe what was a test experienced by some as difficult.
It is not normal to do this.
It says a lot about the state of the adults who are actually doing this.
Maybe these adults should think more about how they could have safeguarded their children from March 2020 and not allowed them to be politicised in a health issue that had evidence from a very early stage that children were neither vulnerable to serious issues nor super spreaders of said virus.
These tests should not be a source of stress or ill health for children.
They merely are as I have written a test of school performance, and as the complaints actually have highlighted the children who struggled were unable to apply knowledge to a subject that may not have been familiar to them. This is what parents should be questioning. Asking teachers why children cannot apply knowledge, as from where I am observing this inability to think, and to problem solve is a huge issue.
I did not want my son to take his SATS as I really did not feel that the department of education deserves his intelligence, his curiosity and his enjoyment of learning. I would have quite happily paid a fine for him not attending school this week. However he wanted to do them, has had an truly enjoyable week sitting these tests and is a happy, balanced, normal ten year old little boy.
This is the story that we need to be spreading.
That there are well adjusted, balanced children going around doing children things in a child way.
Stop allowing abnormal to be the normal. It is not normal to be dysfunctional, to be stressed and unwell as a 10 or 11 year old child. It is a huge indication that the environment that the child is within is toxic and not supportive.
Think about that.
The test is not the problem.
It is the environment that the test is taken in that is.
You can't really know what you are made of until you are tested.