Tuesday, 22 March 2016

Is the Stress of SATs too Much? Simple Ways to Help

Gee is not a confident child at all and up until the last few weeks we had turned a corner with her stress and anxieties, OCD traits had largely been overcome and she had begun to feel happier and more at ease with life's battles.  Then came the preparation for SATs in May.

SATs this year have changed and the tests are far more rigorous with children being tested on reading, maths, spelling, punctuation and grammar.  A lot of the questions are what the Year 8s have been completing up until now and although I do agree with helping children to achieve more, for children like Gee who worry and sometimes struggle to grasp certain things, it is likely to lead to more children suffering from mental health problems.

I have sat with Gee and devised a plan that she is happy with which will hopefully help her feel more in control of her fears.  Although we always talk and she is very open with me, I do get concerned when she bottles things up about school work. 
  1. We discuss her day at school and I always ask her if she is concerned about anything she has had to do that day.
  2. For half an hour after school we look at a subject that she is finding particularly hard, last week we spent a lot of time looking at fractions.
  3. Try and make it fun, hot chocolate with fancy toppings and cake add something to look forward to.
  4. Reassure your child that the SATs are a way of measuring school's performance and not theirs.
  5. Last but not least, boost their self esteem as much as possible even if they are struggling, every child is good at something.
I do not believe that one test should fit all children, they are individuals and each child will learn at their own pace.  The change in the new SATs should have been gradual, there has been far too much new material added, how can Education Authorities expect our children to learn this in such a short timeframe.

Yes she is still worried but hopefully I am helping her to be less stressed and more confident in dealing with her emotions around the SATs.  Isn't it about time children were valued for what they can achieve and not measured on tests that may be above them. We should be nurturing them through the learning process and cherishing every moment of their early years.

I would love to hear your views on the new SATs and if you have any good advice for other parents?


  1. I can't really give any advice as my little boy is only 15 months. But I think the tips you have given are very helpful.

  2. It sounds like you're helping her so much - giving her the support, and just as important, letting her talk about her fears. My daughter doesn't start school until September, so we have a way to go before she's assessed but I hate to think of primary school kids being so stressed by it all.

  3. I know it's easy to say but try not to worry. It sounds like you are doing everything you can to support your girl. I think there is way too much pressure put on children when it comes to the SATS.

  4. Oh bless her. Our school tries to make it fun with a breakfast treat before they start and a fun activity to look forward to. Hope she gets through without too much stress

  5. I dont have any children but it sounds as though the support you are giving her is amazing x

  6. It's really important to give support and be there for them through a stressful period. Sounds like you are both managing it well. Good luck!

  7. So sad that they have to go through this stress at such a young age. I'm sure she will do brilliantly. x

  8. I am not looking forward to this with my little boy! He is only 3 at the moment so we have a while yet but saying that time flies! Good luck to everyone who is doing these, I wouldn't want to do them again

  9. Great tips - I have a teen son in year 9 choosing his options , my youngest daughter in year 11 doing GCSE's and eldest daughter in Uni! We have a lot of school related stress here! Kaz x