Strike out test protests

Strike out test protests

On Tuesday the news bulletins were filled with scenes of happy children stomping through woods and playing among nature.

But this wasn’t because the bank holiday had been extended – no, these children should have been at school.

It was the first ‘kids strike’ when thousands of parents deliberately kept their children away from school in protest at six and seven-year-olds having to sit the SATs tests.

‘Let children be children’ was the cry from many. Testing children at such a young age, they claimed, was unnecessary and too stressful.

Testing is a way of life at school and if we’re ever going to improve our increasingly low academic standing in the world, they are a necessity.

The sooner you introduce testing the better as it just becomes second nature to children – thus reducing the impact of stress in their later school years.

Good primary schools and teachers conduct tests in such a way that the children don’t even realise they’re being tested.

If your child is stressed by SATs at six or seven then it could be that the school is doing something wrong in the way in which their children are being tested.

It’s crucial that the government of the day has reliable information about children’s progress in schools.

The UK has been slipping down the league tables in literacy and numeracy for years and it is essential to arrest this decline. Without reliable feedback on a national level from the classroom, this is very hard to do.

Michael Wilshaw, the Chief Inspector of Schools, has criticised parents for this action and politicians are fairly united on the need for these tests.

If Britain is to compete with countries like Singapore (where testing young children is seen as completely normal) we need to do similar things to ensure that standards are improved.

All the focus is on SATs but tests take place throughout the year and every year.

Teachers are constantly testing children informally in the classroom to ensure they have understood the content of the lesson. Children will also have spelling tests, and be asked to answer maths and literacy questions in the classroom to confirm that they have grasped the material and for the teacher to understand what needs additional attention.

Although testing children can be seen as very stressful – all learning requires pressure and some elements of stress as that is how change and growth are achieved.

The idea that we can shield children from all forms of stress is unrealistic and actually detrimental to their future success. In testing children, teachers are trying to prepare them for the real world and the mantra ‘let kids be kids’ is rather hollow when it becomes a means of avoiding education.

Deliberately taking your child out of school is irresponsible towards the child and disrespectful to the teacher as well as a waste of public money.

All education should be highly treasured by parents in this country and never wasted. If we consider the plight of children in other countries who have no opportunities at all to be educated this kind of action shows that these people’s perspectives are skewed in the wrong direction.