The life and times of a happy go lucky blogger in London
The Great SATS debate – where do you sit on the education fence?

With all this talk of elections, there’s a few other burning issues that I’m mulling over with regards to the future and they are a lot closer to home and heart.

One is SATS – the for and against. The second is tutors – should you or shouldn’t you. The third is private versus public schooling. Big decisions which come with huge responsbility attached to them.

My daughter’s school is not going to put year 6 through the SATS process this year on the basis it detracts from the more fully rounded education they receive in years 3 to 5 and it also adds undue pressure on the children who are already facing a huge step up as they prepare to leave junior school and head into senior / secondary / high school (or whatever you want to call it). I’m not convinced that this is such a good idea when the grown up world is so competitive in the workplace. The decision has been made without consulting parents and it is neither national nor unilateral. What do you think? Are your children undergoing SATS this year?

It seems it is academia or bust for the under 11s. The trend for parents to employ tutors for their children outside of school is one that I am seeing more often among my friends and also school parents I know. They claim their children are behind or not top of the class. Some say their child goes to a school that disapproves of tutors, so they don’t tell the teacher. Others want to give their children a competitive edge, they may have to do entrance exams. It’s a minefield. I don’t use tutors and I’m left wondering if I’m missing a trick.

Secondary School – Pay up or put up?
I am not going to decry the state of the English education system. I don’t have the right. My deep concerns about my daughter’s current education is the lack of sports and arts. Unless you are prepared to go private, you really have to put up with your lot. Or do you? I went through the private system and there was a great deal of pressure to produce results, after all, you pay for a service and you expect a certain level of return on that investment don’t you? Thankfully we still have time to decide on the secondary option. I’m not convinced the independent education sector delivers the social empathy and understanding of society as a whole that the public sector does. Ask me again in a year and I’ll let you know the outcome.

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8 Comments to “The Great SATS debate – where do you sit on the education fence?”

  1. Tricky. For me, with a child who has special needs, having extra tutors is always a good thing, not that it happens right now. It might be that one day she will have no choice but to attend a school for special needs kids rather than the mainstream school and that means paying. Depending on the mood of the government I suspect it won’t be cheap.

    CJ xx

    • admin says:

      Wow you are lucky your daughter can go to mainstream school, my brother who is autistic always had special education. He went to one school which was next to our junior school so me and my siblings knew he was beside us, but he was never supported in normal school. He went to Sybil Elgar school in Ealing at secondary stage which was brilliant xx

  2. Expat Mum says:

    Exams in general – I know everyone says it’s a competitive world out there, and it is, but when was the last time an adult had to sit down under timed conditions and try to get everything they know down on paper, with no chance of going back to correct errors? Exams prepare you for very little other than being able to take exams. I was lucky in that I seemed to do much better than I should have in exams, but many kids get so anxious that they can’t think straight.
    I admire any educational establishment that takes a stand like this.
    .-= Expat Mum´s last blog ..A Brit’s views on the USA =-.

    • admin says:

      Yes I think you are right but as always, no one wants to be a social experiment so my concern is that this school will be removing something that other schools are not and even though it is a pressure, I don’t want my daughter to be at a disadvantage. My school days are so long ago that I can barely remember doing any big tests at school at the age of 10! x

  3. Linda says:

    I have so much to say about this, I will write a big long reply if I get chance – I can understand why people would want to send their children to private school and respect their decision to do so but I couldn’t. This is easy for me to say, we live in a village with a lovely school with after school activities they love – skipping and art are the two they do. My daughters are starting SATs today, they have worked hard and love learning, I’m not convinced SATs are the right way to go at all but the teachers felt everyone had worked so hard they wanted to see it through.
    .-= Linda´s last blog ..The treadmill and me: One step beyond… =-.

    • admin says:

      Yep, if they’ve done the work, they should be able to follow through on the process, that’s agreed. I’m still concerned that with some school dropping SATS and others aiming to continue, there will be even more of an uneven playing field. I’ve had interesting conversations with school kids about it; they don’t worry about it as much as we do is what I’m told.

  4. L goes to a private school and they don’t do SATS there at all so I’ve not had to worry about it. They don’t see the need for them, as the children are continually assessed which involves no stress for the children. Any work they are falling behind on, they are given more one to one help with as they go along.

    We went for private for many reasons. L has some learning issues and as we’re rural we have only one choice of local state primary which is really overcrowded (35+ in a class) and one local secondary which has a GCSE pass rate A-C of 33%.

    I grew up on a council estate in South London and having struggled through an equally not great state school system as a kid I didn’t want to send my child to one, especially as she already had problems.

    But it’s interesting it’s nothing like I was expecting. It’s not all rich kids there are a few but not many. Most people there are old school working/middle class and I’d say a good 50% are children of immigrants we have Polish, Danish, African, American, French, Swedish, Sri Lanken, Indian which is what I wanted for her. If she’d gone to the local state she probably wouldn’t have met anyone from outside our small rural town.

    The school don’t pressure the children and it’s all about turning out well balanced children, if they’re not especially academic it’s fine they’ll just find the thing that child is good at and encourage them at that.

    I’d say find the right school for her be it in state or private and she’ll be happy and achieve.

    • admin says:

      I went to a private school and we had a real mix of backgrounds and geographies; that did lead to very empty holidays as lots of kids went home to very exotic places. I think your point about local options is very valid. I’m going to keep looking x

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