Food science experiments - Nikki Young Writes Image/Wikipedia

Showing how learning can be fun

Food science experiments - Nikki Young Writes

Image/Wikipedia

I am not the protesting type. To my shame actually.

I’m one of the sheep who just gets on with things.

But ever since my son’s school called a meeting to show parents the new SATS tests, something has been niggling away at me.

First of all, when my older girls sat the tests there was nothing made of them, other than they were told they were doing some quiet work and were not allowed to talk to the person next to them.

We didn’t even discuss the results. After all, they are for the school’s use and the aim of the school is to show that they’ve brought the child on significantly from the year 2 SATS to the subsequent ones they sit in year 6.

So the first thing that bothered me about these new tests was the question of why are they involving us parents at all? These tests are nothing to do with us.

I understand why they let parents know about them. For one thing, they are much, much harder and parents have a right to know that. They also have to know in advance why their son or daughter was above expected level last year, but has moved down to as expected or below. Because we were told that would likely be the case.

I understand the teachers don’t want 30 parents knocking on their door demanding to know why their children are failing at school.

We know this isn’t the case at all, but that’s what these tests are going to make it look like.

So that was the first thing that bugged me. The second was the guilt that it felt the school were unwittingly passing on to us. If we don’t help them, they are never going to get our children up to the standards of these tests and then they’ll do worse and we’ll all be unhappy. Such is the pressure, it is being passed on to all sides.

I don’t think that’s fair. To go from not knowing anything about the year 2 SATS to being asked to help tutor our children to get them through is just ludicrous to me.

The thing was, I didn’t know what to do about it.

I thought maybe I would just not send him in to do them, but then I thought, he will probably just have to do them another time, on his own.

What would that achieve?

Thank goodness I wasn’t the only one thinking this way.

The Let Our Kids Be Kids campaign has taken up the challenge of standing up to the Government on this one. Backed up by the #THISislearning movement, it looks like the message might just get through after all.

Of course we want our kids to get on at school and learn and achieve in life, but there is a common view amongst people like myself that at 7 years old, the children shouldn’t be put through these rigorous test in order to prove they are learning. There is so much more the teachers can do to inspire confidence and teach them about life and education.

That’s what May 3rd is all about and it’s why I’m going to be joining in.

I’ve already decided we will have a day of experimenting in the kitchen. If ever there was a time to put my food science qualifications in to practice, then this is it.

Here are some of my ideas so far:

  • Baking soda and vinegar volcano
  • UV jelly
  • Coloured cabbage leaves
  • Soda fountain
  • Making butter
  • bread making

Through these experiments, we will be looking at not only chemical reactions, but biology as well. We will be using maths skills for weighing and measuring and most importantly we will be having fun.

Are you taking part in this campaign and if so what will you be doing?

What are your thoughts on testing for children at such a young age?

Writing Bubble

Comments (9)

  1. maddy@writingbubble 28th April 2016 at 11:58 am

    Great post Nicola and, of course, I understand your concerns entirely! So glad you are joining in on May third and thanks for the #THISislearning shoutout. Your plans for the day sound fab – a great way to learn and apply different skills while also having fun. Feel free to link to the #THISislearning linky too: http://writingbubble.co.uk/thisislearning-join-us/ xx

    • Nicola Young 28th April 2016 at 1:51 pm

      I might be the only one at the school, I don’t know! But still, now I’ve made up my mind, we are doing it. Hope to make some videos for YouTube to show what we got up to.

  2. Charlie 28th April 2016 at 1:45 pm

    Inspiring! I want to keep my daughter off on May 3rd – I’d like a trip to the science museum, but what do we do with older siblings? We won’t be home in time. I’m torn, and I have to make a decision tonight so I can send the letter in tomorrow. Any advice? Is the boycott a legitimate reason to keep a year 3 off too?

  3. Louise 3rd May 2016 at 3:59 am

    I love the idea behind this initiative! We’re in Canada, so different school system, but I know the first round of standardized tests come soon (my eldest is 6 – I think they happen in two years from now) and the pressure to “keep up” even at this age is pretty high. It’s a lot to put on a kid so young. I hope you have a great day tomorrow!

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