A recent conversation with a fellow blogger http://kindergartenknowledge.com/ had me thinking about the pressure young children are under at school. As a previous school teacher, she found this pressure difficult for both the teachers and young students. I thought about how a 7 year might feel when being asked to sit exams. I live in Scotland so my child doesn’t have to worry about such exams, but if he did he may feel like this:
Can’t I have fun and play as I learn?
All this hard work is causing concern.
Those tests you give me are so confusing
I’m only 7 – but already I’m losing.
I don’t care if you have boxes to tick
Can’t you just show me a magic trick?
I can learn about illusion and present to a crowd –
I might be good and for once I’d feel proud!
I see you’re busy – you’re got papers to mark,
I wish you had more time to get me on track.
I’m not a winner and feel bad about that
My work is unfinished and I just feel – flat.
Mum says she’s worried about those grammar schools;
says I won’t get in, if I don’t have the tools.
So in 4 short years I’ll be tested again
and no doubt be told – I’ve a rubbish brain.
I could be great if you were patient with me.
With such a hurry, I’m afraid you won’t see.
I’ll be pulled apart from my friends who are clever
be labelled as thick – stuck in a box forever.
In England and Wales, children in year 2 (ages 6 and 7) sit Standard Assessment Tests to measure how much progress each child has made over the past few years of schooling. This has been controversial, as many believe it has a negative impact of childrens’ learning. This Guardian article ‘Sats stress is crushing children’s love of learning’
More recently, our Prime Minister Theresa May, has declared her eagerness to reintroduce Grammar schools. These are schools the brightest students would attend after passing exams at age 11. This suggestion has also proven to be controversial, with many doubting the benefits of such schools.
I’m no expert myself, but I do remember my dad telling me that he and his brother attended different secondary schools. My dad spent most of his childhood in and out of hospitals and missed out on much of his early education. He didn’t get into the grammar school. My uncle did. I often wonder how different his life would be if he hadn’t been ill as a youngster. Did the testing at a young age hinder his chances? We will never know.