YEP Letters: May 20

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Check out today’s YEP letters

Head teacher bans SATs tests: your views

A Leeds headteacher was so upset by her 10 and 11-year-old pupils being in “floods of tears” during SATS exams she decided not to run them at her school this year despite the move putting her job under threat. Jill Wood from Little London Primary said she was willing to take a stand against the controversial national curriculum tests for the sake of the children’s emotional well-being. After consulting parents and governors the decision was taken not to participate in this month’s exams - instead opting to measure children’s progress using alternative methods including learning checks throughout the year as well as assessments at the beginning of July. During SATS week earlier this month pupils were instead taken on educational visits to Whitby and Ingleton waterfalls. Here’s what YEP readers think of the decision..

Kath Quinn

Respect for this Head. Hope she doesn’t get censured.

Katie Farrell

The experience of my SATs scarred me for life.

Thinking back to those years when I had no other pressure at all, actually having to go home after school and do a little bit of revision sends shivers down my spine. The thought that I was made to consolidate my knowledge of all the important things I’d learnt in order to pass a test is just horrifying. It’s also really affected me in my later life. Every time I have to pass an exam I think back to that time when I learnt some discipline and developed a strategy of how to revise, it just brings all the pain back.

Sometimes I think to myself was it it even worth passing GCSEs, A-levels, degree exams, my driver theory test and countless assessments for job training just to avoid those memories. Probably not, if I didn’t have my SATs I could have played out a lot more or gone on the PlayStation or watched tv. What a waste of time.

Nic Carpenter

Aww the poor babies. They are going to get kicked from pillar to post when they leave school and start trying to get/getting jobs if they think SATs are stressful.

Dawn Halliday

What exactly are you teaching children then? If you kick up enough fuss you won’t have to do things you don’t like? Two of my children in Years 2 and 6 did SATs last week, and neither felt any pressure as teachers prepared them fully for months before. Not just the education side, but emotionally and mentally too. I realise not all schools do this, and there’s the problem, not the actual exam.

Tracey Mercer

Wish others would follow suit. Too much pressure on the kids and the link she makes to young mental health is spot on. Well done to her for standing up for her beliefs! She is an inspiration.

Evi Demetri

My seven-year-old is currently doing them in year 2 and she’s using words like stressed and was very upset at the weekend. Kids shouldn’t be stressing.

Johnny Harmer

My young one did them last year. She wasn’t put under stress by us or the school. We just told her that she has to do them and no matter what the result as long as she tries her best that’s all that matters.

Mavis Coils

Good for you lady. You should see how happy the children are in Finland where they are allowed to be children and no pressure and the results they are getting is amazing.

Maggie Paylor

Get a grip! Life is full of tests at all levels. Better to start young and get used to pressure. Life isn’t a bed of roses and children need to be challenged in small ways early on.

Karen Moffat Maguire

My child has just sat these SATs, she wasn’t bothered in the slightest, no stress no tears. I always told her whatever you do if you try your best that’s all you can do and I’m proud of you no matter what the test results say. I do know some of the children in her class were very stressed crying and didn’t want to go to school.

Jon Kirkham

I can fully understand why she’s doing this.

I failed my 11 plus whereas my two siblings passed. I went to secondary modern while they went to grammar schools. I was always way too scared in those days so I never did well. Out of the three of us, I am the now only one with a university degree. I suppose I’m saying that if it’s there it’ll come out, just maybe not when YOU want it to.

Martin Walker

Isn’t it the head and teachers’ jobs to prepare kids for the SATs?

Life is about doing things you don’t want to have to do, like exams. High school has these things, college and university too.

Katy Palmer

Hurray! When are parents going to revolt and just keep their pupils off that week? The SATs system has become a farce.

Linda Eggenton Pearson

If children feel under stress maybe schools and parents need to look themselves.

My grandchildren were never put under stress because of SATs and that was down to how teachers and the parents handled them.

Sindy Smetham

Sadly SATs are more about school results than kids.

Life isn’t easy and they will have to deal with this ‘stuff’ as they grow, but when did life become so pressured that they stopped being ‘kids’ at 10/11?

We seem to have forgotten that they are still young and deserve a childhood that isn’t based around exams.

Harriet Whittam

Well done – good to see teachers standing up for what is right. If others would follow perhaps government will get the message.

Maryse Goodall

Kids have to get used to doing tests and exams unless it is considered that they are unable to cope with it.But most kids take them in their stride and they are going to be part of life as they get older.

Kate Sibson

Jill is an amazing Head Teacher, I hope more take her lead and ditch these ridiculous tests. Progress should be measured, but I’d rather kids be taught than prepped for months.

Sam Barton

They are breaking children to get good grades just so they get more money. The higher the grades, the higher their payment and not to forget an outstanding Ofsted report for ‘their school’. I agree they should have some sort of tests but within a classroom and not put under pressure/stress from every teacher within that year looking over their shoulders.

Will Lockwood

Setting the kids up to be chronic complaining messes in later life. The struggle is real guys and stresses don’t get any easier.

We need rigour in education system

Bernard Duffy, by email

recent letters from A Davids and Judy Goodwin bring a sense of proportion and reality about the arguments over testing in schools. Ever since John Prescott failed the 11 plus we’ve had excuse after excuse for poor performing schools.

We had to walk to school, outside toilets frozen up, a coal fire in the classroom, cold taps in the cloakroom and even sat at desks facing the blackboard and not allowed to talk during lessons. Weekly spelling, tables and mental arithmetic tests were the norm from seven, as well as standing up and reading a page or paragraph from the set book in rotation all around the class. No exceptions. All the above were taken in our stride. The tests are there to demonstrate the schools and teachers’ ability. No other profession has had as much money spent on it for such a poor return and end product as education. The reason the NUT hate these tests is because they highlight the failure of their members since the 60s. Until we get grammar schools back and get some rigour into our system, with value for vocational courses like engineering, electronics etc, we will continue our downward spiral.

YEP Letters: October 19