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Less of the stress

We’ve got to the end of SATS week. I am of course writing as a mother of a child who has just done her Year 6 SATS but she's not been stressed, we've not been stressed and the school hasn't given us any reason to stress. She will have done her very best and that is what matters. Yes, I know that some children are stressed but when the headlines scream out SATS STRESS it doesn't apply to everyone. Some people read headlines and listen to conversations often taking the first version as the true, accurate and correct one. It's not always the case. It really isn't.

I know all about stress and exam stress. My eldest sat her GCSEs in a side room, she's had a reader and a scribe but we kept everything as calm as could be. It's been the same for this week. Laree has been coming home with SATS papers for much of the year. It's homework. She sits down and does it. It gets marked. She gets feedback. She tells us her marks and the teacher tells us if there is anything to be concerned about.

SATS stress is not something we have had to contend with and we're grateful for that. There has been a lot in the press about stress. Where is the stress coming from? Who is whipping up the stress and why? I remember some years ago one of the girls was giving a presentation at school, it was to last 5 minutes and was to be of a topic of her choice. My father in law said that he wouldn't have wanted to do that at that age as he would be nervous. We looked at him and said she'll be fine as everyone is doing it and will be in the same place but they'll be supportive, no need for negativity.

Years ago I had passed on some information from a friend to someone who was going through the same eye cancer journey via their mother. The mother had not passed on the information for fear of upsetting her daughter about having an eye removed. I can see why I really can but was the mother protecting herself or her daughter. We will never know. The daughter died never reading the letter about how life can go on with one eye.

People project their feelings onto people unwittingly or knowingly. When you're with happy people you're happy, when you're with sad people you're sad. As my great friend Plum said some people are drains and some are radiators. I know only too well that when I'm with negative people I want to get away. I know that people have bad days and believe you me I have had plenty but I don't want to be surrounded by negativity and gloom and be influenced by the doomsters. Neither do I want to hear gossip and passed on tales with embellishment.

Pretty much like this week. Yes, it's been the SATS, yes exams CAN be stressful but they don't need to be. Laree's school put on breakfast for the year 6 children, they were doing their SATS and having wind down time in-between, there's no homework and today when they go in they've got a treat trip organised. I hope I instilled in Laree that it’s her take and interpretation on what she’s been taught and that some people can’t articulate on paper what they can do well. The children have seen that their learning throughout the years culminates in SATS but they also know that the light at the end of the tunnel is a treat trip and they will be rewarded for their hard work.

As letters have been coming home from school this week they've ended with a positive sentence about how hard the children have been working and I agree. These 10 and 11 year olds are on the verge of leaving the familiar surroundings of their junior school to go to secondary schools. The SATS are the final part of the learning jigsaw of junior school. When they arrive in their shiny new and oversized uniforms in year 7 being the smallest in the school they will face challenges and changes and a clean sheet and open mind. Yes, the SATS will give an indication of how well they did in junior school but it won't be what they only remember. When I asked Loops & Mook what they remember about their SATS (8 and 5 years ago) they both said breakfast and it lasted 2 weeks when they did them.

So, please, if you have heard all about the stresses of SATS weeks I can assure you it’s not all doom and gloom, I have spoken to a number of parents who said their children hadn’t been stressed, they’ve enjoyed the breakfast at school, they’ve done their tests and then had fun, but I have also heard from parents whose children had been stressed, had been given homework and they were miserable when they came out of school which saddens me.

It’s over now, the week has gone by and it’s now downhill to the end of term and the final days of junior school. If my girls can grow up and retain an open mind, that they question things and work things out for themselves then I will be happy. I won't force them or fuss them. I will shower them with love and encouraging words and hope that the path they choose is full of happiness, success and fulfilment.


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