My letter to Nicky Morgan MP. ‪#‎KidsStrike3rdMay‬

Please take time to read this letter of support from one of the thousands of our supporters who will be joining #‎KidsStrike3rdMay‬ …


Dear Nicky Morgan,

Enough is enough. I can no longer remain silent about the relentless and extensive destruction you are wreaking on our education system.

The changes to the KS1 SATs tests have finally tipped me over the edge: I cannot stand by and watch you mercilessly set up my children, other people’s children, an entire generation of children to fail. Some of the children taking these tests are just SIX years old – too young for formal education in many other countries, yet the British government deems them old enough to be subjected to the stress and pressure of high-stakes tests which are now apparently designed to fail all but the most exceptional children.

One of my children is currently in Year 2 and is due to take his KS1 SATs next month. My older children took their SATs as expected, yet this year, I have tried and failed to find even one single compelling reason for my son to take the new, much harder KS1 SATs.

I cannot find one way in which taking the KS1 SATs will benefit my child.

In previous years, I allowed my children to take SATs because their teachers reassured me that my children could cope with the content of the tests. This year is different. My child is in Year 2, yet since the curriculum reforms, he is now expected to know what was previously expected knowledge for children in Years 3 and 4. The change of curriculum has been sudden and drastic, without making allowances for the fact that it takes time to teach and learn this level of knowledge – time our teachers and children have not had. I am forced to draw the conclusion that the children in this cohort are being set up to fail their KS1 SATs. Why would any parent want their child to fail at six or seven years old? Why would any parent want to risk their child developing a lifelong sense of failure about themselves so early on in their education?

This year more than any other year, SATs have impacted negatively on the school curriculum. Curriculum reforms which place greater and developmentally inappropriate demands, greater stress and greater pressure on our children are clearly not in the best interests of our children. Children need a varied, creative, enjoyable, stimulating curriculum designed to inspire in them a lifelong love of learning, not a stifling curriculum which has been stripped right down to the ability to memorise and regurgitate maths facts and arbitrary grammar terms which are unlikely to be of use to them in adult life. Will any future employer ever be interested in the mark they got in their SATs? This is most definitely NOT an attack on our teachers and headteachers, who still do an amazing job of delivering a stimulating and creative curriculum in our schools in spite of government directives. If schools are having to find ways around government directives in order to provide an appropriate and stimulating curriculum, why should parents believe you when you tell us that your directives are in the best interests of our children?

In previous years, I allowed my children to take SATs because I was confident that my children’s teachers would administer the tests in a low-key, stress-free manner. And they did an outstanding job. This year I see the increased demands of unrealistically high-stakes testing in KS1 are placing an unacceptably high burden on my child’s wonderful teacher in that she must not only achieve the impossible task of teaching several years’ worth of knowledge in just a few months, but must also work so much harder to protect our children from the stress of the new KS1 tests. When stressed and overworked teachers have to strive their utmost to protect our children from the stress and pressure of government tests, why should parents believe you when you tell us that KS1 and KS2 SATs are in the best interests of our children?

In previous years, one of the reasons I have allowed my children to take their SATs is because it would reflect badly on our lovely school and teachers and their years of hard work if I withdrew them. This year is different. This year, I find myself debating whether it would reflect badly on our school if I were to actually allow my child to sit KS1 SATs which appear designed to make him and his teachers and his school fail. In other words, even the perspective that taking the SATs might be useful to our school is an argument that now easily falls apart.

Why make children take SATs tests they are apparently designed to fail? When these SATs results are released and virtually every school and every child in the country is found to be “below standard”, will the government take into account that teachers and children have had too little time to get to grips with the unrealistically high demands of the sudden education reforms? Or will these results be used as government propaganda against a “failing” education system, so academy chains can be brought in much more rapidly to “rescue” these hundreds of “failing” schools? This government has already repeatedly shown itself to be excessively manipulative and dishonest – can parents really trust that the SATs results from this cohort will not be manipulated in a devious way? Who will profit from the rapid academisation of hundreds of “failing” schools? In exactly whose best interests is this? If this is indeed the direction in which our education system is heading, I cannot allow my child to be part of a KS1 SATs results cohort which will be used to further discredit and damage our schools and teachers. This is an abuse of my child, an abuse of his teachers and an abuse of your position.

For the above reasons, I fully support a national boycott of the 2016 KS1 and KS2 SATs. I will be keeping my children off school on Tuesday, 3rd May and standing alongside thousands of other parents across the UK, who fully support our teachers, headteachers and their unions in boycotting this year’s KS1 and KS2 SATs. Our participation in the 3rd May Kids’ Strike Day is a vote of no confidence in you; it is a vote of no confidence in David Cameron; it is a vote of no confidence the Conservative Party’s ability to run an effective education system in the UK.

Regards,

Anne-Marie

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7 thoughts on “My letter to Nicky Morgan MP. ‪#‎KidsStrike3rdMay‬

  1. I work in education and am horrified at the pressure being placed on such young children.
    Both my children are in the firing line for KS1 / KS2 tests this year.
    Both are bright and hard working girls in the top of their classes – but this system has not benefited either of them.
    The last year at primary school for the eldest has been ruined by constant mock testing and removal of creative topics, just so the school can fill the knowledge gaps caused by the rush to introduce this flawed system.
    Education should prepare children for LIFE! inspire a LOVE of Learning and be FUN!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I totally agree, children should be allowed to be “children” my daughter was 26 a couple of weeks ago however when she was 8yrs old one of her teachers who she loved so much was to hand in her notice as she felt far too much pressure was being placed on such young children… This has not eased off its become far worse, I’m aware that a child’s brain is like a sponge but come on do we really need a world full of Einstein’s? I think a world of “happy” stress free people would be a better solution but hey what do I know!!!???

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I feel that a point is being missed here — these tests are designed to test the performance of a school and its staff, not the children. The results of these tests are (as pointed out) irrelevant to the child and should also be considered irrelevant by parents. They are relevant only to the authorities that are trying to understand how well a school is performing.

    I disagree fundamentally with league tables, but this kind of reaction to a system of organisational performance measurement actually increases the pressure on our children as parents too often misunderstand the aims of these tests.

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    • Then you have missed the point too!
      These tests have been made increasingly difficult, both of my children are going to do ks1 and ks2 tests this year, completely different to those of other years. My 10 year old, yr 6, is expected to know and understand information that most learn in year 10! Year 2 have learnt thinhs they would have approached until yeats 3 and 4. So yes these tests might be to see how well the school is performing, but these school are expected to teach things that the children are not ready to learn, in an extremely short space of time. Many children are ill with worry, as are the teachers, my eldest misses out on PE so they can practice to pass a test! Schools that last year were doing very well at guiding children and helping grow happy people, will not get the “performce” that the government requires because they have set the bar too high and made expectations unrealistic for many!
      It is like asking someone who is just learning to swim, who normally would be asked to swim the width of the pool, to see how their teacher is doing, to swim the Pacific ocean!

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  4. As a retired teacher I am horrified at the amount of work my granddaughter (KS2 SATS ) has to do.
    The spellings are appalling I would like Mrs Morgan to give the test to her colleagues in Parliament and see how they fare possibly as well as she did with her times tables.

    School days,especially for primary childre ,used to be “the happiest days”, not any more.

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  5. Perhaps the best way around this is for all schools to boycot the tests. Just refuse to do them. There shouldn’t be any pressure put on young children especially ages 6 & 7, at this age they are what they are, Kids!

    Like

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