I’ll admit right away that I have issues with an education system that uses tests in year 2, to set targets right through to GCSE. It seems daft that performance at 6 is what’s used to predict performance at 16. I think it limits late developers, summer babies and even those who simply bloom later on in the education system. Learning the basics is a tad dull…some kids come alive once they can express their ideas.
I’ve written before about targeting from a young age, and how, if I’d known the importance of Key Stage 1 SATS then I might have paid a bit more attention. I was one of those relaxed parents that didn’t take any notice.
But now I realise I should have. Not because any sane person should get riled up about how their 6 year old does in a single test. But rather because of the importance the education system puts on those tests. The term ‘on target’ always seemed rather reassuring – all is good then. Only now, do I discover that ‘on target’ means that the target for GCSE’s is a C. Now…there’s nothing wrong with a C (I’d have been delighted with a C in French…sigh) but it does rule out university if that’s the mark across the board. I do think that there needs to be more transparency about these targets – how secondary schools use them and the impact they have.
I haven’t a clue what my daughter is going to do with her life. I hope it’s filled with joy and adventure. Maybe university, maybe not. But, I had an absolute ball at university. Studying what I wanted, surrounded by people doing the same. High school wasn’t where I had fun – it was university where I came into my own. And I feel that my daughter might be similar. But she’s in an education system that targets her from the age of six. Sure…she can rise above those targets but the school system defines what’s ‘good’ for her based on tests at 6 and 11. Schools can’t be blamed for concentrating on making sure that those targets are met; rather than exceeded. My primary school performance was just that – primary school. It was left in the past – thank goodness. I struggled to get the basics, but once they were secure then my ideas could flow. I fear my daughter will not have the same freedom to grow, and to shine later on. I fear I should have been paying a lot more attention to those pushy mums…I want her to have choices in life. Not to have those choices impacted by a test at age six.
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