This year it is planned that children will leave junior school with a statement that they either meet, or do not meet age related expectations. This means that seven years of primary education are summed up with an equivalent of pass or fail.
Unfortunately, this does not mean that the government have invested millions into our crumbling buildings or raised the pay of hardworking and dedicated teachers and support staff. It does not even mean that the children are being given a higher standard of education than previously. “Raising Standards” just means that you have increased the threshold for the equivalent of a “pass mark”.
Under the new system, the teachers have to teach 10 or 11 year old children work they would not have previously done until secondary. Teachers have to get their pupils to meet age related expectations which are significantly more challenging than they have previously been. We have the same children as last year: the same learning difficulties, the same social and emotional challenges and yet teachers are expected to magically up their game and increase what these children learn.
Teachers are committed and dedicated to getting the best possible results from every child in their class. They are already at breaking point. You cannot expect them to work harder than they already do.
The fact stands that no matter how hard some children work this year, it is very unlikely they will meet age related expectations.
Is this really fair? Can we really judge our children against a standardized norm? Do we want a generation who grow up to feel they are failures already at the age of 11?
What matters is whether they love books and has got a love of language. It matters that they are creative and imaginative. These are not standards by which they are judged in the new SATs. Similarly, in today’s society it does not matter if you can’t do long division.We no longer teach our children to be inquisitive and love learning for its own sake. It is now just an exercise in exam technique.
It is not my child’s fault that he was born in the school year that all the goalposts change. It is not his fault that the new tests are judging him against standards that he will struggle to reach. In Government, you do not see the child who burst into tears tonight at the thought that he would not be able to “make the grade”… Do you want a generation of disaffected children? Do you want children to be reluctant to learn as no matter how hard they try they will always be found wanting? If the answer is no, I would ask you to reconsider this new change to the education system, and instead concentrate on “raising the standards” of education in its true sense: a love of learning and the joy of achievement.
Words taken from a letter to the Prime Minister, written by worried parent Lucy Hoggan.
Re written by Debbie Henson for this blog to hit home to every parent who is living this hellish education system.
Photo credit: my son who couldn’t finish his food through sheer exhaustion after a day at school. He is 5.