If you're the parent of a ten or eleven-year-old chances are you have not been looking forward to 11th to 18th May.
This is when, finally, state educated primary and junior school children will sit the controversial SATs which are taken in the last year before going to secondary school.
Two leading teachers' unions have threatened to boycott the tests next year which will only be in maths and English and not science as in the past.
Children can get anxious and stressed by SATS, after all they've been revising and practising for months. Read on to find out how best to support them.
- Special breakfasts: Unfortunately in the manic morning rush breakfast in our house usually consists of toast or cereal. But not this week. My ten-year-old will go to school having dined like a queen, or at least with a tummy full of pancakes, pain au chocolat or bacon and eggs.
- Confidence drops: I have bought flower essence drops for confidence and one for when school work threatens to overwhelm. I plan to give these in water or direct on my daughter's tongue. Do they work? Only she can tell but I don't care if she goes to school full of confidence.
- Stay calm. That's you not your child. Remember, and repeat often, these exams are testing the quality of education offered by the school. And count to ten if home life involves small people shouting and slamming doors.
- Avoid neurotic parents. They're easy to spot in the playground and, for some reason around here, at the swimming pool waiting for lessons to end. Walk in the opposite direction fast if you hear a shrill voice questioning a quiet child like this: "Now you know prime numbers don't you, what about angles hmm? Hmmm?"
- Early nights: If your child is particularly stressed it might be easier said then done. Actually, I'm planning a few myself now that I've got a hot breakfast to cook as soon as I get up.
- Plan a special end of exam treat: I have still to come up with what exactly my daughter shall be treated to but I want it to be somewhere she can let off steam, forget about fractions and just be a child.
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