This week we are holding a practice SATs week. We are trying out different ways to arrange the children. We are doing a dummy run because we want to take the fear away for children. SATs are important but they are not the most important thing. Last week two people said to me 'Teachers only want good SATs results because it makes them ( the teachers) look good'.
I was astounded and saddened that people could actually believe this. Do doctors and nurses only take care of patients because it is better for hospital league tables? Do footballers only play because it looks good for the team? I can honestly say that I trained to be a teacher because I love seeing children learn, it is fantastic to see that moment when the light bulb comes on and learning suddenly happens. As teachers we have the curriculum to share with children, we plan the learning, assess the learning, adapt and re-shape the learning. SATS are a culmination of that work and we want children to do well because we want them to shine. We want the daily work and effort to have an effect on children. We know that the SATs results are not a reflection of the child. If you can find a teacher who agrees with SATs testing I would be amazed. I know none of them work at Kippax Ash Tree.
SATs results do not tell you about the great sense of humour that Josh has, about the way that Cole gets absorbed in a book or that Mikey represents Great Britain in his spare time. SATs markers don't know that Kiera has patience and kindness or that Ellie dances like a dream. Stan has the energy of 10 children put together and Mattthew eats maths equations for breakfast. Emily always sees things from a different perspective and Alishia has the voice of reason.That won't be shown in a test. The SATS marked will not find that information in the test papers.
All the SATs results will tell us is that our children are below, at or beyond the 'expected' level. There is no reflection of the hours of detailed marking and feedback that Miss Howlett puts into year 6, or that Mr McAlinden often misses his little boys bedtime because he is with Ash Tree children helping them to be successful beyond the classroom. Miss Rolls teaches and tutors before and after school most days because she wants children to be confident and happy learners - none of us, even for a single moment, does what we do because of a league table or result set. We do that despite the result sets and league tables.
We have the pleasure of spending everyday with bright, intelligent, wise, funny, tenacious and engaged learners. We want them to do well in SATs just like we want them to do well in all aspects of their lives.
This week we are practising because we want them to know it is ok to mess up sometimes, that sometimes it isn't as bad as you think, that sometimes parts are even easier than you thought. That the hard work can pay off and if it didn't today - it s ok - we can always try again tomorrow. The SATS are not the most important thing about year 6. The children are.