It's the end of another SATs week. My third son would have sat them this week had he been in school. He would be in Year 6. But instead he has been enjoying learning at home, and in many other community contexts, throughout his primary years.
Seven years ago, when we began home educating, SATS were definitely a factor in our thinking. My voice at the time felt lonely, radical and a little bit crazy. In the last two years, there has been an increasing outcry on social media with organised parental movements putting pressure on the government to find another means of primary assessment.
It seems the SATs tests have become even more ridiculous in recent years, measuring children against standards they are not expected to attain. There was talk again this year about the possible scrapping of the tests but, whether or not that happens, nothing was decided soon enough to save this year's cohort.
Seven years ago, in January 2010, we took our sons out of school because we wanted a different kind of education for them. I know that sometimes home educators seem radical, and way out there on the fringe, but sometimes change just happens too slowly. It hasn't happened yet, and it hasn't happened fast enough that my own children would have been saved from a narrow curriculum and from all the pressures of our broken system. I know that some people think it is an 'opt out' to 'opt out' - that we ought to be fighting from within - but some children just need to be removed from a toxic system for the sake of their own mental health and wellbeing. This is true, sadly, for some teachers, too. And we are seeing more and more teachers leave the profession, with a crisis in teacher recruitment and retention which puts the future of the broken system into jeopardy anyway. My husband has worked for years on supply, and seldom does he walk into a fully staffed maths department - even in those schools deemed to be the 'better' ones in our locality. He observes everyday the conditions passing as education in our city schools.
If you are interested, here are the links to a few posts I have written about SATs over the years. My opinions have not changed.
Why I Choose to Boycott SATs (May 2012)
The Fundamental Problem with Testing (May 2016)
Is Missing a Day of School Damaging to a Child's Education? (May 2016)
The Nonsense of SATs (October 2010)
There is a great deal about SATs on my blog. For more, type 'SATs' into the search bar to the right hand side: Organic Ed.