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Kids on strike

(60 Posts)
trisher Tue 03-May-16 10:03:23

Thousands have joined in to support children and parents boycotting the SATs today. I think it is wonderful that so many people are concerned about their children and want more than 'teaching to the test'. I wish them all the best. (But I'm not sure they will succeed)

Lillie Tue 03-May-16 10:38:05

I'm not sure that I would agree with skipping school due to the tests, although they are ridiculous at that age.
What message does that give the children when they are 16 and sitting GCSEs? ..... "I'm not turning up to school today, my parents thought it fine to take me out of school for SATs, so obviously I can do my own thing."

Penstemmon Tue 03-May-16 11:21:56

I do not think the current campaign is about GCSEs but about the DfE thinking up things to try to demonstrate that this government have 'improved standards'

They do this by testing stuff that has not been taught at a particular age before (often for very good reason hmm) .

Mostly it is naming parts of speech/ grammatical structures that even university professors are still disagreeing about the terminology!

The subsequent test data is then presented by the government to the general public and they can claim that xx% children are better at Spelling, Punctuation and Grammar: hoorah for us says Nicky Morgan

The fact that kids may have known / been able to use the concepts and structures in their writing previously but not actually know the technical term the DfE has attributed to it for test purposes is brushed under the carpet!

It is all a stupid political game and kids are the pawns.

p.s. i am NOT against assessing/testing children..I just want it to be about diagnosing their learning/needs not for political point scoring!

NotTooOld Tue 03-May-16 11:29:02

Good post, Penstemmon. It is very sad that children of that age are put under such stress. If they must be tested - and I sort of see the point - can it not be done without all the stress-inducing hype? I remember taking the 11-plus without realising what it was. I suppose we must have been 'taught to the test' but we didn't realise it and felt no pressure. I sometimes wonder if it is the parents who induce the stress just as much as the schools but then who is to blame them?

NotTooOld Tue 03-May-16 11:30:08

PS As for striking, I feel sorry for the working parents who cannot keep their kids off school to make a point as they have to be in work themselves.

vampirequeen Tue 03-May-16 11:31:25

I'm not against assessing and testing a teacher I assessed constantly and adjusted my teaching accordingly. I am totally against SATS. They are nothing to do with education and everything to do with government statistics and get used as a stick to beat schools and teachers with. There is far more to education than the results of one test on a particular day. I also saw so much time wasted teaching exam techniques to little children. A ridiculous waste but necessary if the school is going to achieve it's targets.

I applaud those parents taking a stand. Six and seven year olds should be enjoying learning and, within reason, going off on tangents if something attracts their attention not working towards a series of tests that limits the curriculum at such an early age.

Cherrytree59 Tue 03-May-16 11:32:28

Yes I agree let children be children!
At a young age they all have different learning capabilities.
My GS will be starting school at just 4yrs old (a summer baby) whereas his younger brother will be 4yrs 9 months( winter baby) when he starts.
A vast difference in capabilities at that age.
The messsage is sends out that is that parents not the state know what's in their childrens interest and sometimes you have to stand up for what you believe to be right.
We had an afternoon strike when I was at school.
It resulted in girls being allowed to wear trousers as part of school uniform.
In Nordic Countries children don't attend school until they are 6 yrs old

Cherrytree59 Tue 03-May-16 11:35:26

Sorry too many 'that's!'

LullyDully Tue 03-May-16 14:59:33

I am amazed by the technical terms needed to be learned at such a young age. At 6/7 children need to enjoy reading and writing for their own sakes. Do they need to analyse language so finely?

I remember doing something called box analysis at 10/11 which I used to enjoy, backed up by First Aid in English.

But a 7 year old needs to buzz with the excitement of reading by themselves......if they are able to.They also need to have a lot of stories read to them to enjoy language.

Let's not forget that in countries such as Norway they don't go to school until 7.

I wouldn't have taken my children out of school as it sends a poor message. A little boy on Victoria Derbyshire was very disturbed this morning. I am sure he would have been happier at school.

Deedaa Tue 03-May-16 21:38:39

I would much prefer to see children being taught not to say "Was you" and "Would of" and "May have" instead of "Might have" and the correct use of the apostrophe. It would be nice if they could be "fazed" by things instead of "phased" Things like this would help them express themselves in writing far more than learning obscure grammatical terms.

FarNorth Tue 03-May-16 22:22:33

LullyDully maybe he would have been happier doing something at home or out and about with his Mum, rather than being the focus of attention in a TV studio.

FarNorth Tue 03-May-16 22:28:02

Parents whose children are on strike clearly feel strongly that SATs are not good for their children's education. They are sending a strong message that they will not subject their children to unnecessary pressure and will help them to stand up for themselves.

daphnedill Tue 03-May-16 22:31:25

Deedaa, I prefer to hear people using grammar correctly, but that's not what these tests are about. They require 11 year olds to use grammatical terminology which is more appropriate for undergraduate level linguistics.

Jalima Tue 03-May-16 23:33:36

Here is Nick Gibb on the subject of grammar:

Now - is he right because he wants to ensure children are taught grammar properly because he is of that generation who were not taught it at primary school?
Or is it a box-ticking exercise to improve Government statistics.

DGD (7) was poorly today; the school website says 'please try to ensure that your child is in school this week'. So will she 'fail'?

Jalima Tue 03-May-16 23:42:04

Will they all be fined for unauthorised absence?

daphnedill Wed 04-May-16 00:45:12

Not if the parents say they were ill. ;-)

A few years ago, the school where I was teaching insisted that all the pupils came into school the morning before a GCSE English exam and wouldn't listen to the parents who wanted study leave. About half the year group had a dentist appointment that morning! Amazing, because when I asked what time the appointment was, most of them were at about the same time with the same dentist. :-o

In any case, there was a court case about attendance. I can't remember the details, but I think the law says something about 'regular attendance'. If the children have attended regularly throughout the year, there are no grounds for fines.

daphnedill Wed 04-May-16 00:50:12

Jalima, I'm all for children being able to use grammar correctly, but they seriously don't need to know what a subordinating conjunction is. I passed my 11+ too and I'm absolutely sure I didn't know what one was when I was 11, nor did I know much of the other terminology the children are being forced to learn. It's totally unnecessary at that age.

M0nica Wed 04-May-16 08:23:57

If I look back to my own schooling formal testing was a constant and integral part of school from the age of 5. Spelling tests, end of term tests, end of year tests. Nobody was bothered about them; parents didn't worry, teachers didn't worry and so neither we did we children.

We have in today's parents a generation that came through school during the the 1970s, 80s and 90s, a time when educational standards were dropping, when educational rigour and challenging children was considered inappropriate and any kind of testing was frowned on.

Certainly children today are learning grammar at an earlier age than we did, but for other subjects; history and geography they are learning less. But the school curriculum has always changed and been rebalanced from generation to generation. In my youth older people were deploring the loss of Greek and Latin from the curriculum. My aunt deplored my limited A level English syllabus compared with what she did for matriculation. But on examination the whole aim and purpose of the English examinations were entirely different.

trisher Wed 04-May-16 08:37:07

M0nica I don't think there was any great emphasis on the tests we had at school. The problem with SATs is they are tests that are 'taught to' that is children are given particular lessons which deal with the requirements of the test- like the grammatical terms. Other areas necessarily suffer. They are also used to rate schools. One of the arguments about this year's test is that it has been brought in very soon after the changed National Curriculum with no time for schools to adjust. Many think this is to do with the proposed academisation-prove a school is failing through its test results then make it an academy.
Parents want more creativity and child centred education.

M0nica Wed 04-May-16 09:02:22

The education I want for my DGC is one that enables them to be readily employable and able to hold their own in what will be an international world when they grow up.

The whole point of examinations and tests is to test a child's knowledge of the subjects and contents, which are considered at any moment in time, to form an essential part of the school curriculum and that is no different to the tests that I did at school. My DGC (aged 5 and 8) are at a very good school that manages to teach the knowledge for the exam and still offer a creative curriculum.

There should not be any emphasis on tests. Children should just take them in their stride. The emphasis comes from the adults around the child and they shold know better. A relaxed child will do much better in tests than one wound up by the adults around them working themselves into a tizz.

My DGD was not the most confident of children and at first found tests daunting particularly if she couldn't do anything but now, at 8, she is much more confident. She has learnt that failure to know the answer to a question or finding a question too hard is not the end of the world. If she gets something wrong now she asks how and why she got it wrong so she doesn't repeat her mistakes.

trisher Wed 04-May-16 09:43:42

The tests and the curriculum have changed M0nica. Your 5 year old will not have the same experience your 8 year old had. She would have been in the group of children who were teacher assessed at a time suitable for them during Year 2. Your 5 year old will get a standard test she will have to take with all the other children her age.

Luckygirl Wed 04-May-16 09:57:21

Jalima - there is no pass or fail for the child - it is pass or fail for the school if insufficient children reach the required standard. The standard is set by people with no knowledge of the school or the level of SEN pupils in the class. Tests to measure how each child is making progress within their own capabilities make sense within schools; tests that expect ALL children to reach a certain standard and arise from outside of the school are nonsense and do not measure how successful the school is in helping each child to reach their own reasonable standard.

Year 2 children who were taken out of school yesterday will not have missed a day's education - yesterday was not a day of education for them; it was a day of unnecessary tests.

jennyg Wed 04-May-16 10:51:46

who would want to be a teacher these days ? no wonder there are growing shortages , with their professional competence and judgement being talked down and disregarded at every opportunity.

helmacd Wed 04-May-16 11:16:31

Oh MOnica - a girl after my own heart. Sound sense and exactly the points I would make.
Have also read that there was a political motivation behind the push to keep children out of school; it certainly wasn't a child led motivation! And do remember that the Press pick out the most controversial points they can - a child who is struggling, for whatever reason, won't be expected to deal with some of the more advanced questions.
I do believe that it would be far better if politics was kept out of education; politicians are forever fiddling with it yet none are experts, and the number and weight of changes is just ridiculous.
Finally, if only parents would keep a sense of proportion and allow their children to accept that tests are a matter of course, then there would be minimal stress. Life is full of tests so the sooner they learn to deal with that the better.

vampirequeen Wed 04-May-16 11:26:19

There is nothing wrong with testing as long as it is part of a clear and necessary assessment system. The SATS have nothing to do with assessment and everything to do with government statistics. During my teaching career I regularly assessed children by observation and testing but the testing had a purpose. The SATS rely on children being able to read and write under pressure. I had children who were perfectly capable of explaining how they had achieved a solution to a problem but were incapable of writing it down. Does understanding rely on being able to write under pressure?

DH is dyslexic. He's can read and write but sometimes it takes longer than non-dyslexics and sometimes he misreads/misspells words. . He wouldn't have passed the current SATS for 6/7 year olds because he can't read under pressure and his spelling is sometimes unusual. That doesn't mean he doesn't understand and can't explain things. He was an Area Manager before he became my carer.