Has anyone else taken their child out from school specifically to avoid the SATS? Is this ‘allowed’, I mean I am thinking my child’s education is mine alone to decide…... and that I do not need ‘permission’ to do this?
My son was home educated until last year and decided to try school so as to have more opportunity to socialise on a more frequent basis.
~I feel this year, since Christmas, the emphasis of teaching in his class has been ‘teaching to test’. Utterly geared towards these SATS tests. Thus the curriculum as a whole feels narrowed and limited and not a broad spectrum of learning one would hope in a year 6 setting. The teaching has been limited and narrowed down to Maths and English taking up lots of time.
~ I feel a more enjoyable and productive few months might have been had if this emphasis had not been on the SATS.
~ I feel this approach and high levels of anxiety (by teachers) has started to poison my son’s feeling towards education. As mentioned previously, as a home educated child he believed he could/would/was good at anything he tried, and has been utterly squashed by the current teaching and constant assessment. he comes home telling me how much has has gotten ‘wrong’ . His self image is suffering. His self confidence and self esteem too, obviously. he seems sort of hesitant when talking, as if he might be getting something wrong! it is horrifying to see.
~Just reading this I am sort of wondering why the hell I allowed him to go to school! I feel now perhaps I should have taken further steps to simply increase outside social time when at home (we already did lots of groups and activities, my son is just super sociable).
~It all seems like such a wasted year, especially when ongoing teacher assessment happens anyway, as a matter of course.
~Can I contact the school and tell then he will not be coming in that week? What will they do? I don’t feel I need ‘permission’. But am wondering what might be the consequences…..? Anyone know?
The school already said that the results have no effect on subject streaming in High School, it’s just a matter of league tables. My son also knows this but still, it all seems to bother/worry him.
I posted the above on mumsnet (why oh why) and it was my first post there (again, why oh why). It’s a bitchy place full of criticism and rage against anything that even deviates from the norm /mainstream schools of thought (lots of snide comments about my parenting and even towards my son!). Anyway this is still an issue for us right now and wondering if anyone else with children of this age group are facing anything similar?
Also just to add. He is currently level 4/5, if you know about school grading this is fine and good for his age and obviously he is not lacking in areas his school deem important. But obviously the pressure and monotony of teaching/subject matter is getting to him.
I was accused over at mumsnet for being anxious my poor home educating of him would show up in the testing and that was my real reason for not wanting him to sit the tests. That really made me laugh. The idea that I even would consider such arbitrary (pointless, non beneficial) testing an indication of human potential it has never ever even crossed my mind to worry about such an issue! Kids get assessed by their teachers continuously, I know how well he reads/writes/ etc, after all I did have him at home with me for a decade (what sort of parent would not know these things???) Besides which, I don’t even feel these sorts of ‘skills’ are the essence of what educating a human is all about! Very foolish of me to post on such a blank, boring, mindless and narrow, snide forum (besides which no one even really answered my questions, just poked holes/fun). Lesson learnt about where to spend online time
I really don’t know the answer, being from another county, but I just wanted to send a big cyber hug.
What does he feel about coming out of school again. I know from what you have said before that he values the social aspect, but now he is more known to his peers, perhaps he may feel able to step back and see them at other places instead xxx
Claire, I don’t know the answer either, but I just wanted to say I thought your original post was so well articulated and full of wisdom and understanding.
Sorry to hear you had such horrid replies! It never ceased to amaze (and worry) me how many people INSIST on finding fault in absolutely everything!
Unfortunately the anonymity of internet brings out the worst in many people.
Imagine if they took all that furious energy and turned it into something positive and constructive instead!
Do you mean just not sending him in on the days when the SATS are to be set, or taking him out now to avoid all the preparation and narrowed curriculum? I have a friend who “home educated” her son from March to August to avoid the SATS (age 7), he then started the Junior school not having been exposed to any more of the stress of the SATS that he had already picked up on at the end of the Spring term of that year. It did him the world of good, my friend had help from her MIL to do some tutoring in what she felt unable to do so that he didn’t start his new school at a disadvantage. Of course as a home educator myself I’m very supportive of this kind of thing, it is counterproductive IMHO to test children in this way ESPECIALLY as it is not done for the benefit of the child, but the system as a whole!!
My Babes is aged six as you may remember. There are tests at the end of Year II - we have discussed these with head and teacher and are opting out of them for Babes. I was not previously aware this was an option and don’t know if any parents have tried this with Sats in Year six, but it is worth asking - and/or asking organisations like Authors against Sats for further sources of advice, sorry I don’t know the exact answer but hope this helps. http://www.teachers.org.uk/authors-against-sats
It might be worth having a talk to the school. I know many teachers see SATS as a waste of time but have to work within the remit of them. They may be able to reassure your son about his self-confidence. I have had the experience (admittedly KS 1 SATS) where DS1 had been complaining he was learning nothing during year 2 and then came out with his SATS at the highest possible level across the board. I was then able to go to the school and say this is what he can achieve when he is bored, perhaps he needs a bit more of a challenge. They responded, and the following year was tonnes better. So whilst the SATS are rather controversial, they worked to our advantage in that instance.
As for removing him from school for the week. I know the middle school where my Ds2 will be sitting his SATS next week will not grant any leave for that week, but should he fall ill….
wow, (((HUGS))) people are so fearful of ‘different’ choices aren’t they?
Anyway, yes you can take your child out; you are under no obligation for him to sit the SATS; the only benefit is to the school for their league tables. I think THEY will get a 0% as a result of you not letting your son sit them, but hey, that’s too bad!
however, how does HE feel about taking them? (sorry if you covered this, I had to speed read). I understand he is having issues with confidence etc. but what about taking the actual exams - does he mind? Would he mind taking them and not worrying about the outcome?
Just throwing out all possiblities for you. Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in what WE think is right and our kids are feeling differently. My DD decided to go to school after being HEd and it was so difficult; she made no friends, got bullied etc and I wanted to take her out but SHE wanted to go and see it through - she’s got balls I’ll say that for her!
I think what I’m saying is don’t be hasty; ask your LO what they want and find something that feels comfortable to you both
Failing that - book a holiday for that week
GOod luck; we have year 6 SATS too and the amount of homework DD is getting is horrendous; I’ve told her not to bother but she is determined to do well <sigh> xx
Oh, forgot a bit - having a senior moment - INSTEAD of the test at the end of year II - we agreed with our head that Babes could be continuously assessed on the work she had been doing - they call it ‘benchmarking’ - it may be too late in they year to do this, but it might be worth asking about
My dd is not bothered by sitting exams, she says its nice and quiet and she can get on with it. Some of her friends do get very anxious about it and Im guessing is pressure and anxiety from parents? and maybe its difficult if you get low results and everyone compares marks? I am lucky dd has no problems at school and while I insist she works hard at school and tries her best I dont pay much attention to results. Dd found year 2 really boring with the prescibed hour of literacy and numeracy, taught in a specific way, everyday, with endless practise SATS papers. Even if you opt out of the exams, you can’t avoid that. I think to a certain extent if you are in the school system you have to go along with it, I have found my attitude has been the biggest tool to changing dd’s experience of school. My dd is in year 6, but as she is now at a private school will not be doing SATS. She will be doing written exams in most subjects over 4 days in June. She is looking forward to revising over half term and trying to beat her last set of results. She is not really competitive and the children don’t seem to share results anyway, but she is starting to see that when she revises she gets a better result. I think this is usefull to learn as she will sit more exams at school and possibly university, depending on what she chooses to do. There is pressure to work hard and do well, and she is aware her results will partly determine which school she goes on to, but she doesnt seem at all stressed, she enjoys the challenge and still enjoys free time away from school. The age dd is now I expect she would choose to do what her friends are doing if I gave her the choice of opting out.
Michael Rosen (the children’s author—he wrote _We’re Going on a Bear Hunt_ and lots of other books) is on Facebook, and is very vocal about this issue. You can add him as a friend (you don’t have to know him; I don’t, and he has a couple of thousand FB friends ), and then you’ll get to read all his posts and also his links to other people who are writing about/discussing the SATs. I seem to recall there was a petition recently—admittedly I haven’t followed the debate too closely myself because we don’t have a child sitting the SATs. Mamauk, it won’t solve your immediate problem, but it may help you connect with like-minded parents (and teachers) out there, and may help you feel less isolated in that way. Good luck with your decision!
I was accused over at mumsnet for being anxious my poor home educating of him would show up in the testing and that was my real reason for not wanting him to sit the tests.
That hadn’t even crossed my mind reading your post!!
I suppose the first option would be to speak to the school. But as it would probably be classed as a 0% for their league tables they’re going to persuade you to have him take them. My junior school had the main special needs unit for the whole council area so we had a really high proportion of children with special needs, some of which I don’t think had to sit SATs (and those that did wouldn’t have scored high grades) and that used to pull the school down in the league tables, which is not fair on the school at all!
I sincerely fear for the attiudesof the children of some of these bitchy, nasty, condescending, snidey, arogant idiots, who apparently cannot accept an alternativ point of view.
There are a few people fighting your corner thogh, I love this post… “I wish I could fast forward 15 years and know what wonderful and amazing things your children will be doing with their lives and for humanity.”
I’d sign out of Mumsnet permanently. Why have people like that in your life, real or online?
You’re an amazing Mama, we can all see that from the fact that you are considering all options of what might be best for your children. Pay them no mind, and have a laugh about it here. x
I read through the original thread too - I have to say, I was really shocked at how blasé some of the parents were about the standard of education in yr 6 (and in yr 5 in some cases); there seemed to be an attitude of “yes, it’s all practise for exams/teaching to the test in the first half of yr 6 - there’s no real new education, but that’s ok because they get to do shows/trips/fun stuff in the second half of the year”
It worries me that an entire year (sometimes two by the sound of it!) is given over to either strictly learning “to the test” or totally kicking back. Neither sound like great learning conditions to me! Hope we are still HEing or SATS have been scrapped by the time we get to that stage!
I haven’t read through the original thread, but tbh I don’t think it’s just Mumsnet or just discussions about parenting/HEing or whatever. It’s the internet—I mean, the internet is a wonderful place for many reasons, but it also tends to bring out the worst in many people. People will say things on the internet that they would (or should!) never, ever say to you face-to-face. Sometimes it’s the cover of anonymity, and sometimes it’s not even that—I think that people somehow forget that they are dealing with actual human beings. Just yesterday I myself asked to be removed from a mailing list (unrelated to this subject or to parenting in any way) after a spectacular bout of nastiness left me in tears, and I felt quite relieved and liberated afterwards . I agree with Mamapixie; unless you usually get a lot of satisfaction out of Mumsnet, just remove yourself. I’d rather save my energy for people I like than use it all up agonising over hateful commenters! There’s so much nastiness out there, too—on FB, in comment threads on blogs—that I don’t need to invite more of it into my life.