Wish them luck

SATs week is upon us. No more can be done. They’ve been coached, coerced and crammed. They’ve been drilled to death. They are machines. Tomorrow, they will sit in their rows, silent. Tomorrow, they must deliver.

The stakes are high for all schools but for mine in particular; on their eleven year old shoulders lies a heavy burden.

If they succeed, if targets are met and hoops are jumped through, then we are safe for another year. If they come up short, by one mark or by more, then an unspoken calamity will occur. Heads will roll. Or, more likely, the Head will roll.

The long history of neglect at the school, dating back a decade or more, long before any of the incumbents were in place, matters not one jot.

The school, like an oil tanker, may be turning a corner and heading towards a brighter horizon. There are good teachers in every class. The corridors, once chaotic, are now calm. Empty chairs are being filled with new children keen to come to a school that, not long ago, was bottom of every list. We’re going places.

But all this comes crashing to a halt if our Year 6 don’t do the business this week. The innocent victims of abysmal teaching in their early years, they have had a huge mountain to scale this year. For some, this has meant making three years progress in just over two terms. Whatever happens, they will have succeeded. They will not have failed.

The grim truth is that we need them to pass; level 4 is our golden ticket, our get out of jail card. Most are there and many comfortably so. This, however, is a game of percentages. We’ve known since September that it’ll be one or two children that will tip us over the edge, one way or another. More than likely, it will come down to one mark in a reading test or two in a maths test.

All that is left is to wish them luck.

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3 Comments

Filed under Assessment, Schools

3 responses to “Wish them luck

  1. What do we want from our 11-year-olds?

    Social skills have to be the top priority. We should be doing everything in our power to make sure that kids are not coming in to secondary unable to sit still, pay attention and respect the part that others play in the classroom. In broader terms, we want children to be empathetic, humble and interested in the world around them.

    All of these qualities get lost in the mad drive for the best percentage results in SATs. The ability to read and write are important but by allowing them to define a child as a “success” or a “failure” at age 11 – and devoting so much of our energy towards artificially dragging up a few individuals for an arbitrarily-timed test in them – we lose sight of the qualities that really matter.

    Best of luck, by the way, and be glad when it’s over.

  2. Kate

    Love this post. I’m a Y6 teacher in East London and keyed up hoping the best for my class this week. They are great at the reading and SPAG but there are a few dodgy borderliners when it comes to the maths. On top of everything we had OFSTED last week! Imagine getting the OFSTED call the week before SATs – at least it took our minds off the latter for a few days. We had to stop doing revision and do a couple of whizzy lessons instead for the inspectors. Good luck to all Year 6s this week!

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