School aiming to tackle stress

Simon Benn leads the confidence-boosting sessions for Year 6 pupils at Five Lanes Primary School in Wortley. Picture Tony Johnson.
Simon Benn leads the confidence-boosting sessions for Year 6 pupils at Five Lanes Primary School in Wortley. Picture Tony Johnson.
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A leeds primary school has run a series of confidence-boosting sessions for Year 6 pupils ahead of upcoming Sats exams in a bid to tackle anxiety.

As the pressure mounts ahead of the controversial primary school tests in three weeks’ time, pupils from Five Lanes Primary, Wortley, learnt how to manage stress and become more confident.

It comes as teaching unions continue to raise major concerns about the increasing strain that comes from national tests on pupils, with many teachers backing plans for a boycott.

Headteacher Jo Fiddes, who took part in a national boycott of the Sats in 2010, described the exams as a “cruel measure” of school performance.

She said: “Sats are really stressful for pupils and teachers. It’s a tough time. At the end of the day, the pupils are only 11. They are still very young children and it’s a big ask of them.

“The exams are so over important now in terms of what Ofsted looks at. It is a test of a child’s ability on one single day and doesn’t encompass everything a child does.”

Mrs Fiddes said relaxation activities were added to the timetable ahead of the exams each year, however, for the first time, the school decided to bring in an outside expert. Social enterprise Jack Cherry ran workshops that helped the pupils to channel positive feelings, using fruit as an analogy. Founder Simon Benn, from Hunsingore, said: “I was shocked at the levels of anxiety, worry and stress around SATs and set out to do something about it so children can be more confident and do better in their tests.”

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