Sunday, 27 March 2016

Pressure of SATs.

The soundtrack of our evenings is undergoing a change.
Whilst we are no strangers to bedtime meltdowns, nights where bedtime = all possible anxieties, past and present, coming to the surface and preventing sleep, we are now seeing a new level of upset.

This last couple of weeks we are seeing melatonin refusal. He's pissed off, and that's how he wants to be. He doesn't want to get to sleep easily. He's raging......about SATs.

PDA boy is in year 6. And don't we know about it!

When we pick him up from school, it is immediately apparent that something is wrong, even though his facial expression will show happiness, his eyes tell a very different story.

Typically, as soon as he sits down in the car, the anger will come streaming out, occasionally with tears, but mostly just a cold, hard rage against all the injustices (and there are many) of the day.
This needs careful managing, frequent snacks and sensory activities to attempt to keep things calm and prevent a meltdown. A few hours hard work will usually mean that we have an hour of relative calm before his bedtime routine begins.

Sometimes we can distract him through to the point where he is in bed, with inventive use of games, distraction, subtle manipulation and a promise of a short YouTube video before it's time to settle.

At the moment, SATs rage is winning.

Every day at school, the fact (that no-one can possibly have missed!) that SATs will soon be upon year 6 is mentioned yet again. I'm not sure this drip-feed is necessary. It doesn't seem to serve any other purpose but to constantly top up the stress levels of the small group of ten and eleven year olds.
Add to this a SATs club every week, SATs booster books instead of homework, the message is already over egged.

For a neurotypical child this must be difficult.

For our child, this is intolerable, and given his PDA, the pressure is having a reverse effect. He is bright, and in a relaxed state when he is allowed to pursue his own interests, we sometimes wonder if our son has the potential to be a genius (of course no parental bias at all!).
In school though, he is struggling with the workload. He is enormously put out that some of the work the teacher is hastily preparing is work that in previous years was aimed at year 8 pupils.
At home, when he is in a rare relaxed mood, he knows all his times tables. In school however, he barely knows his 2, 5 and 10 times tables. He finds this frustrating and humiliating.
I believe this is a sure sign of his anxiety preventing him from working to his true potential, and banging on and on about SATs is not helping at all.

Bedtime has once more become a nightmare, our boy is begging us to kill him, he is kicking and headbutting walls, throwing things, punching.
His ability to swear at any opportunity is outstanding. What a pity he isn't being tested in this area rather than SPAG and times tables!

I do understand why SATs are necessary, but I most definitely do not understand the need for such a massive build up, and pressure for children to out-perform their potential.

If year 6 was treated as a normal school year my son would probably "perform" better. He would learn more.

I'm not sure what this government's overall aim is with regards to education, but I am pretty sure that with this child, it's not working.

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