YEP Letters: May 16

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Check out today’s YEP letters

A Leeds headteacher has spoken of her heartbreak at having to console 11-year-old pupils who burst into tears during this week’s SATs exams. Year Six children at Five Lanes Primary School in Wortley also struggled to sleep the night before their maths tests and worried they were going to fail if they got questions wrong. Jo Fiddes has labelled the controversial tests as “cruel” and an “unnecessary pressure”. She said: “I have had children burst into tears this week in the middle of an exam. It’s heartbreaking. What has happened to having a childhood? Some of the questions are quite difficult and if there are two or three in a row that pupils can’t get you can see their shoulders slump and heads go down and they feel like they have failed.” Here’s what YEP readers think..

Fay Walker

My six year old is having to sit SATs and the pressure is ridiculous, you can see her just giving up and it breaks my heart.

Georgia Walker

I passed my 11plus and didn’t feel any pressure because you just got on with it.

Parents today are too obsessed with their kids’ SATs results, OFSTED reports, attendance percentage etc. Parents put the pressure on the kids, can’t you just accept that the kids do their best?

Stephanie Jones

At last a teacher with the guts to speak out! Hope this sets a trend.

Emma Murphy

Totally agree. My son didn’t eat or sleep properly, he seemed withdrawn right from the mock tests and that’s a child who loves school.

Christine Johnson

They need to stop putting kids under so much pressure.

The deputy teacher made a fairy on the Christmas tree out of a SATS paper and told the kids it was there so they wouldn’t forget about how important it was to study. It’s mixed up and really unnecessary.

Chris Burdon

When my son was finding his SATS stressful I told him that it wasn’t to test him, it was to see if the school is doing well. I told him that if he didn’t do well it is because the school and the education system was failing him. These ridiculous, cruel tests should be scrapped at the earliest opportunity.

Michele Cairns

I had tests when I was in middle school aged 11 and I had to get to school on my bike as there was a bus strike as well.

So a two mile bike ride and a test. I survived. Children are wrapped up in cotton wool nowadays. I think yes to scrapping the test for 7 year olds as they are too young, but not 11.

I mean, why not scrap GCSEs for 16 year olds and A levels for 17 year olds as they are under pressure as well? Then we can have a society with people with no qualifications and living on the dole.

Debbie Clarke

Agree it’s all about the schools targets and Ofsted reports. Schools are not interested in their pupils it’s more about how the school is achieving.

Bullying in school is a big issue which needs addressing but teachers are more concerned about the school having a bad name then sorting the bully out... so, so wrong.

Matthew Stringer

I had similar tests decades ago, don’t recall everyone being stressed. How do these tests compare to the what the rest of the world does?

Lindsay Cook

Had a chat with my nephew doing his SATs this week and he said a couple of things that surprised me.

One was they had not done any other subjects other than Maths and English for months. All their class time was spent preparing for these tests. No history, science, geography or anything else but one PE session per week.

The other was he spent both break times a day cleaning up another classroom. This was supposed to teach responsibility ( long with other pupils in his class). I’m sure it does, but do children not need to be able to play out and get some exercise too?

Jan Bow

My 7 year olds are in year 2 and doing some form of SATS papers nex week.

I am starting to see them worry, but keep telling them not to worry and these SATS are to see if they are being taught right.Too much pressure on all young children, constant weekly homework from 6 years of age (even in all school holidays). When I was at school, school holidays were holidays and no homework in sight and I only started getting homework in high school. Give children a break,let them enjoy their childhood and holidays, because as we all know time passes by so quickly.

Brian Eric

That’s simple the invention of the computer and giving it to kids. No fun, no imagination, no exploring and no kid activities. So sad to see.

Tonia Thomas

My child’s school put no pressure on them at all. They all came in early to have a really nice breakfast made for them and their homework the weekend before was to not study, have fun and do stuff they enjoy.

Jessica Birkby

I’m sure Five Lanes have done a fantastic job looking after year 6 pupils whilst they do their SATS.

Both of my daughters go to Five Lanes and love it! Happiness is more important than academic success in my opinion.

I wish the government put as much money, time and effort into ensuring children’s happiness and promoting well being. It’s important that my children get a good education, but it’s equally important that they become kind, decent, well rounded individuals who will make a positive contribution in the future.

Lynn Illingworth

Yes - more kids than ever are suffering from mental health issues and I can’t help wondering if this potentially has something to do with the constant pressure of testing from infants through secondary school. There is a blatant lack of down time and arts/creativity in whatever form.

Andrea Riley

Well said Jo, schools are hamstrung by an archaic, narrow view on education by the current government.

Children need to have their wellbeing prioritised and need to have many varied enriching experiences so that they develop a sense of their strengths and talents, identity and self awareness.

Gail Swinfield

Let’s bring back “love to learn”, tests kill learning for our future we need adults who are creative, inquisitive , social, and many humanistic traits. Why test with same formulae that does not take into account how wonderful the human race is.

Chrissy Bentley

Unnecessary stress to our babies. They are going to face enough stress in their lives. Their mental health is much more precious than this.

Victoria Richmond

We have to compete on the world stage. Yes childhood quality time is essential and a huge priority but so is academia. Sorry fact of life, a good education matters.

Caroline Hill

It’s time schools boycotted SATS. There’s too much pressure on children these days. It’s the same with older children, they are stressed beyond their years and cannot cope.

Disappointed at funeral costs decision

Shaun Kavanagh, Leeds 27

Aisha Iqbal’s article (YEP May 10) regarding the impending rise in funeral costs will leave many readers amazed and disappointed at the decision of Leeds City Council (LCC) to raise costs for those residents sending relatives on their final journey, a decision which will add further stress on households, and at a time of extreme sadness.

The council’s move to increase funeral/cremation costs in Leeds is disgraceful when considering it makes Leeds the costliest in Yorkshire and probably one of the highest in Britain, another example of bad management.

Why is it other towns and cities in Yorkshire charge far far less e.g. Selby, as quoted in the article, charges £1,500.00 less than the Leeds charge of £2,427 for a burial.

What is the difference between Leeds and Selby with the service basically being the same. The cost differential simply cannot be justified and LCC is getting rich at people’s expense.

The charges put forward by LCC are astronomical i.e. £1,369.00 to prepare the burial plot and £1,058.00 for the interment.

These costs are an insult to the people of Leeds and James Dunn, co-founder of Funeralbooker, describes the Leeds charges as a stealth tax and that many will question whether LCC fees genuinely reflect the service provided with many believing not.

Such increases will only become evident to many as and when the need arises. Not all residents will read of the fact in advance which shows the council is introducing such rises without real notification.

It is noticeable that the council leader doesn’t put her name to the article but relies on a spokeswoman making the statement on behalf of the council, which appears to hide itself behind a faceless individual.

Also, the spokeswoman states “the council welcomes and considers all feedback and are committed to providing a fair charging policy for all.” When do LCC ever listen, or consider, anything put to them by residents they are supposed to represent? In a word, never.

Lost pleasures of motoring

Ernest Lundy, by email

Driving up to Gildersome recently and seeing the proliferation of new speed camera signs and other restrictions on the route elsewhere, I suddenly realised that driving is no longer a pleasure.

This, after over 70 years on the road. Yes, I know that something must be done to reduce the road accident toll, help the free movement of traffic, by the introduction of speed humps, mounds and other measures, but the pleasures of driving are no longer there.

In some respects it seems that the powers that be are determined to make things as difficult as possible for the hapless motorist, and make as much money as possible by so doing.

Motoring organisations such as the RAC and AA seem to longer have a voice, and councils seem to have carte blanche in imposing even more restrictions at will.

May I also point out that cars today are not designed to run at 20mph, essential though that may be in certain areas.

My final thoughts are as always: If there is a genuine intention to reduce accidents (I’m sure there is) a much better procedure would be to put off the road altogether those who are proved to be culpable in repeated accidents; or other driving offences such as being under the influence of drugs or drink. Their records must be there for all to see. So why not use them?

When the authorities fail to use such information everybody suffers.

State of park was a let down

A Audsley, Ossett

I have just been to watch the Race for Life in Thornes Park in Wakefield and whilst the event was superb the state of the park let everyone down.

Taking into account that their would be hundreds of visitors all the bins were overflowing and there was broken glass from a campfire close to the run route.

Shame on you Wakefield Council. An utter disgrace.

No golf courses and now no bin collection. What next?