Sats tests for primary school pupils in England is also a time when teachers’ encouragement goes viral on social media. It is a ritual almost as established as the exams themselves. The Sats, or national curriculum assessments as they are formally known, test pupils against key stages 1 and 2 of the national curriculum. The majority of pupils taking the tests are aged seven or 11.
All over the country, teachers are doing their best to relax and encourage their pupils before they sit for the exams. For example, John Newport from Marden Bridge Middle School, sent pupils a letter encouraging them to remember that the tests is all it is, and “will not define who you are [because] you are worth more and are better than that”. His letter has since gone viral and follows in the footsteps of what Linda Hardman, principal of Bishop Wood Church of England School, said in her letter to pupils in 2017 which also went viral. Principal Hardman reassured pupils that “the people who create these tests and score them do not know each of you the way that we do”.
Another letter that has been gaining national attention comes from Mark Frost, Micklands Primary School’s principal. In it, he tells pupils what they need to do over the weekend to fully prepare themselves for the tests. Instead of citing more revision though, he goes on to list such activities as reading a book, playing board games, watching films, getting exercise through sports games or physical activities, and spending time at home with family and loved ones. He ends the letter by reminding pupils that Sats “do not test the following qualities: compassion, creativity, happiness, love, generosity, confidence, kindness, faith, bravery, and many more things that are far more important in real life”.
Coming across this article, I am struck by how heartwarming it is for teachers and principals to encourage their students and reassure them. More often than not, students and even parents, get too caught up in chasing good grades that they forget it’s just a number. Grades and test scores do not define a person or what he or she is worth. What we as educators must do, is to strive to ignite our students’ passion for learning. Only then will his or her character be moulded accordingly.
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