This blog is going slightly off course from the usual subjects I cover, but in the UK it is very pertinent as we are approaching SATS week. If you are in another country, you too may be approaching exams for 11 year olds at school, so this may be relevant too.
Over the past few years at Inkpots, I haven’t been able to help but notice just how the Year 6s begin to get more and more anxious from January onwards – right up until their SATs exams in May.
Not all the children – obviously – are affected in the same way. But there is always a growing sense of concern as the weeks go on. Some children will come and have a chat about it all with me, others become noticeably quieter. Then there are some that get very down – completely convinced that they were set to fail.
I’m not here to comment on the rights and wrongs of the testing system here in England, but it is the first time that some of these children are beginning to think about success and failure.
For a couple of years, I made sure that the Inkpots children felt that they had a safe space to talk about their worries. Then last year, I decided that I needed to do something else, as I said, not every child wants to have a cosy chat.
I put together a support sheet for all our Year 6 children and they really liked it. Then I mentioned it a few times on social media so that other children could benefit – and it was a resounding success. So, this year I felt it was worthwhile making it look more better and I am delighted to be sharing the sheet again.
The information has been put together based on my own experiences of supporting my own children through school and university – tips that I know really work.
But how many 11 year olds want to listen to someone like me?
So, we added a bit of science to back up my suggestions – and that makes all the difference.
My elder son is a physicist and is passionate at encouraging children from all backgrounds into science. He didn’t need a lot of arm twisting to contribute to the support sheet, and his input just adds a different dimension to the message I wanted to get across to young people.
Please follow this link to access this support sheet and please feel free to share the link with anyone else you know who would benefit from it.
I am also starting a new online club so that more children can benefit from the kind of creativity we encourage in our groups in Sussex. For more information, please click here.