There are families and children up and down the country getting into a real pickle about the up and coming Primary SATs tests. I am currently taking at least 3 calls per day from anxious parents and carers worried about how their children are going to perform in these assessments and what they should do to help. All of these families are saying that they are worried that they are not doing enough to help their children and want to know what more they can do to. There are lots of things that you can do to help your child but none of it should cause stress or anxiety for either them or you!
Children will most probably be spending the majority of their time in school on uninspiring SATs questions focussing on content, question type and exam techniques. They may also be expected to attend booster sessions and complete further papers at home as a means of making sure they reach their target grade. This is more than enough in my mind.
SATs tests have no real importance in the real world for your child or their future.
Therefore, in order to minimise any stress relating to these assessments I would recommend the following:
- Praise hard work and effort When you see your child trying their hardest, particularly in subjects they find tough, praise their determination and effort above any grades or scores they achieve. This will help them develop a mindset that encourages them believe that they can get smarter.
- Encourage a love of learning and exploration If these assessments have unleashed a desire to study and revise then you may want to invest in a quality tutor to satisfy your child’s ambition. This is also the opportunity to develop a regular study regime in preparation for the transition to secondary school. It is also an excellent opportunity to introduce a wider range of subjects for your child to explore as any additional learning will expand vocabulary and critical thinking.
- Cherish and promote play time Whilst schools and teachers will be encouraging your child to become an independent learner in preparation for the SATs they are still a kid. Let them be kids, have fun and play.
And above all:
- Limit SATs talk Unless there is an absolute need to mention SATs then don’t. Keep the whole thing as low-key and stress free as you can.
Whilst many within the educational profession oppose SATs our children still have to sit them. As parents and carers, it is our job to protect our children from the unnecessary pressure and stress and avoid the politically motivated furore surrounding them.
Of course, encourage your child to try hard and do well but more importantly let them have fun and play. Their mental health, happiness and well-being is far more important that any SATs result.