Well, that was a hoot, wasn’t it? SATs are all over bar the awkward meetings where they make up a suitably puzzling grade boundary, and teachers across the land are now able to focus on the more important things in life…or, at least, which set of assessments or report-writing is up next. We laid on snacks for the kids before the tests started, as we know many don’t have a proper breakfast – note to certain parents, sending them off with a can of Monster does not count. That swill is why your kid can’t sleep, can’t concentrate and finds school harder as a result.
In light of the tales of anxiety, stress and “Billy hasn’t slept since Easter” I’ve seen reported from across the nation, I was wondering what state our Year 6s would arrive in. Thankfully, however, ours are upstanding, stoic folk. They were aware the odds were stacked against them – indeed, many seemed to take a gleeful relish in the challenge – yet they displayed great character to tackle the tests with gusto regardless.
The reading test was plainly designed to trip up all but the most talented readers, and was in no way a useful assessment indicator for a range of abilities. Government 1, Kids 0.
The SPAG test was a curious animal. The kids actually found most of it less befuddling than the past papers they’d done. I read it myself. On one of the questions I’d have flipped a coin for which answer to tick, and a couple I had to read two or three times as the phrasing was clumsier than an ice-skating centipede. One question was a real gem. 5 members of staff couldn’t agree on it with certainty afterwards, but my favourite reaction was one girl whispering to me, “Present perfect – what the hell is that?” In the aftermath of this test – which, by the way, is an affront to our beautiful language – a GCSE student posted on social media one of the SPAG questions, stating their amazement that it was harder than her GCSE English questions yet was aimed at 11-year-olds. Having said all that, my lot weren’t especially worried about what came up, and frolicked on the field afterwards as a tsunami of relief washed over them, so I’ll declare it an honourable draw – Government 1, Kids 1.
It’s a testing time, indeed. We have some truly incredible kids in Year 6. Some of the finest people I’ve ever met, in fact, so we owed them as good a week as we could give them. The government have long ago forgotten children are actual people, reducing them to numbers that fill a spreadsheet, just as they have held teachers in contempt for years; with this SATs farce they have dumped on the nation’s kids from a great height yet again, but that doesn’t mean we can’t rush around frantically with a poop-a-scoop and a can of Febreze to help them out.
A final word for our friend who leaked the test papers online to give every teacher, teaching assistant, child and parent in the country a chuckle on the dawn of the tests: Bravo.