Sats Exams and Stress: Mental Health Awareness Week

The Sats are in full swing in our seven year twin girls school at the moment, but if you ask them you wouldn’t be any the wiser that they were doing any sort of exam. We asked the question, as you do on the school pick-up, what did you do at school today? During the Sats they would say comprehension or maths and that was it. They didn’t expand beyond that.

The reason I think this happened like this is because of the way the school our seven year old twin girls attend have done the Sats. They’ve done it in such a way that the children have no idea they are taking a test.

At a recent parents evening their teacher explained exactly how the Sats was going to happen. It would be done in the classroom while all the other pupils were around. So the way it worked was 4-6 children would sit around a table, a book was stood up between each pupil to stop any copying of work and that was simply it. That’s exactly what happened and the girls in my opinion really were none the wiser that they had taken any sort of exam.

We were also told that the results were only for the school and the children and us parents will never know the results.

My overall opinion of the Sats is they were very laid back and casual and our seven year old twin girls were not stressed at all.

Of course I know that this is not the same for all seven year old children taking Sats, but the issue in my humble opinion is parents and more importantly parents of older children in primary school are getting themselves wound up over the Sats. This is undoubtedly going to cause anxiety in their children. These exams are designed to see how a school is performing not how clever your child is or where they are positioned amongst their peers. So parents take note, these exams are not about your children.

Schools should also remember that if the right teaching practices are in place, good results from the Sats tests will prevail. So please would some schools stop encouraging parents to coach their kids, so that the school can possibly top the school charts.

Unfortunately as we move into high school this is where the pushy parent out does themselves in my opinion by pushing their children too hard to get top marks in every subject as this will without question lead to children throughout high school being susceptible to anxiety, depression, low self esteem and having no confidence which could lead to some children withdrawing into themselves, which can also lead to self-harm and in the worst case scenario suicide.

The warning for parents is actually quite simple. Not every child will go to university. It’s not that they are not academically bright enough, it could be they struggle with exams or they have more creative talents. Look for their strengths and encourage those strengths. In a nutshell talk to your children and more importantly listen to them.

The pressures on young people are big enough and we as parents don’t need to add to that. What we need to do is support, comfort and encourage our children to be the best they are, not our idea of the best they should be.

If you have a teenager that is currently doing GCSE’s or A’levels talk to them about their fears and worries about the exams, rather than expecting them to get A Star results tell them it’s ok to get C’s and D ‘s and all you can do is try your best.

Let’s look after our young people’s minds and nurture a mentally well generation.

What do you think? Do parents put too much pressure on their children from an early age when it comes to tests and exams? I would love to hear in the comments below,

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