Going to “big school” in September is a big worry for our ten and eleven year olds, not to mention the pressure piled on by the tougher SATs tests that they face in May. A survey for Children’s Mental Health Week, undertaken amongst over 700 children in their final year at primary school, found that even as early as January the main issues that caused children to worry ‘all the time’ or ‘a lot’ include:
Not doing well at school (41%)
Taking tests (37%)
Getting in trouble at school (33%)
Changing to a new school (32%)
Getting school work wrong (29%)
What happened to the “happiest days of their lives” and how can they be helped?
KS2 SATs results “less useful now”
In the first year of the new tests (2016), almost half (47%) of all Year 6s failed to achieve the expected standard so were not “secondary ready”. Understandably sceptical of these results the Times Educational Supplement reported in February 2017 that 55% of Secondary Headteachers (NAHT survey) thought that the tests were now “less useful”.
More pressure for Year 7
The same report went on to say that 85% of secondary schools have plans to use their own assessments with Year 7 students. So, only a few weeks into the stress of a new school and the Year 7 students in September 2017 will face yet more pressure. Poor children!
Children are worried about September!
With so many children feeling such pressure, how can we help?
Instead of sitting back after SATs and thinking “thank goodness that they are done and dusted”, try to encourage your youngsters to keep building the skills that they will need moving forward. Activities that help them to think for themselves – certainly something that you want them to do in their teenage years – will help them cope as things get tough.
Numeracy and literacy skills will remain absolutely key to their future success so look out for things that will keep these developing rather that dying back over the summer months – remember those Year 7 tests, but perhaps don’t mention them.
Spending time sharing opinions and joining in discussion with others will really help them moving forward so try to see that they have the chance to do these things too.
Of course, MagiKats has a summer programme that can help. It offers a structured way to get ready for secondary school, whilst having fun. That really may be the simplest option and, ideally, parents will continue this support into the new school year to give continuity and reassurance to everyone in the tricky days ahead.
Pre-teens are a joy so enjoy them and try to help them on the road to a happy, successful adulthood.