The Last Term Of Year 6: SATs Then Celebrations

If you're the parent of a Year 6 child, you're probably all too aware that it will soon be time for them to leave for pastures new at secondary school. But before they go, there's the special experience of this final term of primary school to enjoy.

From the fun and camaraderie of school plays and concerts, residential trips and parties, to those emotional leavers' assemblies, year books and the scrawling on each others' shirts on the last day, there will be tears (from us mums, as well as the kids), laughter, excitement and farewells.

But first there's the not insignificant hurdle of the May SATs to cross. How much stress these cause your child will depend on their temperament (and to an extent yours – if you're anxious about them, they'll probably pick up on this) and the school's approach. Some primaries are low key about it all, others whip the kids into a frenzy of revision and preparation.

Suze is mum to a current Year 6 and feels her daughter's school is keeping things relaxed but the stress remains: "Their SATs planning seems to have been done to minimise pressure as far as possible, and they've supported independent revision which is a new skill for them.

"My daughter's doing higher level papers though and whilst I'm pleased, her reaction has ranged from sullen resentment at the extra work, to worry that she won't be able to achieve - big tears on that front! - to pleasure and pride when her ongoing assessments seem to indicate that she'll do just fine.

"It's certainly been a roller-coaster! I'll be glad when it's all over." Mum-of-two Lorenza's son is taking the pressure in his stride but she also thinks there's too much emphasis on SATs: "I am looking forward to it being over in the hope that they will do something more interesting, going out on visits or studying a topic in some depth for instance."

If you do have a child feeling the strain, the best you can do as a parent at this stage is to reassure them, give them a hug and ensure they get a few early nights and a decent breakfast on the days concerned. Soon the SATs will be out of the way – phew - and then the merriment begins and with a whole half term left, in theory there's room for quite a lot of this.

At Catherine's children's school this included some weeks of rehearsals for the annual Year 6 play, a five day residential trip and a much-anticipated party for the children.

"It was such an exciting time. A real rite of passage they had seen the older pupils do it all and now it was their turn. They had built strong friendships over the years but this was the icing on the cake."

Margaret and her kids also loved the post-SATs period and she thinks some downtime has been well-earned:

"They have done everything that's expected of them since they started at primary - and it's time they had some fun."


Some parents also see this last term as a more relaxed opportunity to broaden their children's horizons and increase independence in the run up to secondary school.


Claire, mum of a now year 7 son explains: "We started letting him walk to school alone for the last term – with the bonus that finally we let him have that longed for mobile phone as he did need it.

"It was a good time to get used to travelling there and back by himself on a familiar and shorter journey than he will need to take to his new school. It still made me nervous but less than it would have if we had waited until September."

Lorenza has also begun raising her expectations of her son with a view to preparing him for travelling alone to secondary school: "I now leave him and his younger sister at the bottom of the hill and they walk up alone together, I send him to the shops alone to get me stuff, and he's allowed more freedom in that respect."

Not all primaries manage to make these last days especially enjoyable though and even then the post-SATs activities don't appeal to everyone.

Mum-of-three Tania argues that the final term could have been used better at her kids' school: "There was loads of dead time when they could have been having fun/preparing for secondary but instead they were bored silly watching DVDs of films they'd already seen at home and crocheting in hot classrooms."

Mum of two, Jo, has also found it a frustrating term but for different reasons: "Year 6 was quite stressful for my finances, for example, paying for a five day trip and fundraising for the play. It was a drain on my time too, for example, helping bring the production to fruition."

Whatever your child's experiences of the term, before you know it, it will be that last day with its end of an era feeling – heightened if your Year 6 is an only or youngest child and you'll both be walking away from the school gates for the last time.

Be warned this can hit parents for six: "I knew I'd be a bit emotional but my goodness I was in floods of tears on my younger one's final day.

"So my advice is definitely take a pack of tissues." says another mum of two, Amelia.

How was the last term of primary for your child? What were the highlights? Or if you have a current Year 6 what are they looking forward to most?