Doing well at school is key to long-term happiness

Doing well at school is key to long-term happiness

Last week a survey of parents revealed that a large majority measure a school’s success on how happy the children are.

Meanwhile, a very small percentage said they took SATs results into consideration when judging where to send their child to school and 73% said they thought their children were under too much pressure from tests.

These results have led the campaign group More Than a Score – who paid for the YouGov survey – to call for SATs to be scrapped.

The issue of happiness is usually raised in a bid to remove any form of testing – so this call from More Than a Score doesn’t surprise me at all.

Pressure groups like these say tests put too much pressure on children and therefore make them unhappy.

I would argue that not doing well at school and maximising your potential has the prospect of leaving the grown-up child very unhappy indeed at the end of the education process.

We live in a competitive world and it is crucial that children are well equipped to meet the challenges of a global economy. If that doesn’t happen they will be poorer and less able to be productive and earn a living.

We all experience pressure and this produces character if it is managed properly. If you want to strengthen a piece of steel you temper it.

There seems to be an idealised view of childhood popular with some educationalists that seeks to protect children from anything difficult or challenging. This is not the way to produce effective and healthy adults for the future.

Testing is crucial as standards must be maintained by the government. This is the only effective measure they have and schools must be held accountable.

Interestingly, 63% of the same parents surveyed said they would prioritise “how well children progress in a variety of different subjects” – how can they find out how well their children are progressing without standardised testing? Teacher assessments?

Unfortunately, teacher assessments would not be comparable to other schools, as it’s very much based on how an individual teacher and school operates. The only fair way to make comparisons is through national, standardised tests.

The results speak for themselves – the standards in reading, writing and maths are improving thanks in part to SATs and also to the changes made to the curriculum six years ago.

Parents in this survey said one of the things most important to them were teachers that inspire a love of learning.

There’s no reason why this and SATs cannot go hand-in-hand.

If teachers are teaching the curriculum effectively there also is no reason why they cannot engage their pupils across a wide range of subjects, while also successfully preparing them with the knowledge needed to do well in their SATs.