Year 6 should be about smoothing transition to secondary by building confidence and resilience, writes one much-loved head in Tes. But instead it’s dominated by the Sats sausage machine
It’s that time of year. Across the country, primary after primary is gearing up for the mad dash towards Sats week.
It’s impossible to overstate how badly wrong most of English education has got the last year of primary. Take, for example, transition. At the end of key stage 2 our kids face the most formidable challenge as they move to secondary school, and yet, rather than focusing on preparing them for this leap, we force them into the Sats sausage machine.
Too often this impersonal regime of endless test prep shatters the confidence of our most vulnerable pupils at the very point when it is most needed.
Wouldn’t it be better to focus on the skills that are truly essential for secondary school? Why not ensure that all pupils have strong resilience, positive self-esteem and confidence in their own ability? The reality is that the present Year 6 curriculum for too many pupils falls well short in these areas.
For too many pupils, transition becomes a challenge they do not win. They have “failed” in their Sats, had their confidence crushed and then fall tumbling down as they fail to smoothly step into secondary.
The Year 6 curriculum needs to be elevated and filled with activities to develop students’ individual strengths, allowing for positive-thinking, resilience and communication skills.
Do you agree with Colin? How can schools make the transition period smoother and less stressful? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or via Twitter ~ Tamsin
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