Motivating Test Treat Bags for Children

I don’t know about you but my son has spent the last 9 months being anxious in taking his year 6 SATs. It doesnt matter how many times I had sat down with him and tried to reassure him about the tests he still felt inadequate and kept saying that he just wasnt ready for them. We expressed this worry to his teacher, back in September, at the start of him starting year 6. His teacher was lovely and reassured him that there really wasn’t anything to worry about and that he would do fine.

Over the past few months he had become more confident in himself. With the help from his teacher and support staff, his school levels improved and he began to feel happier about taking the tests.

But this didn’t stop him from having a few moments prior to the test starting, where he began to question himself and his abilities.

His teacher was always there giving him encouragement , motivating him and instaling a sense of self belief in him.

I know, from talking to other parents and his teacher, that he was not the only one who feeling anxious about sitting the tests. Children, of such young age, shouldn’t be feeling the pressure of tests and stress. They should just be children and enjoy their time at being young and care free. They have plenty to face when they are older.

I wanted to do something for my son and all of his class friends. So I made them little treat bags with an inspirational quote attached to the back. They didn’t cost much, mostly it was time more than money.

  1. I gathered together some coloured card and small cellophane treat bags.
  2. Found an inspiration sweet quote on line. Wrote it up on word
  3. Printed off some inspirational quotes from relaxkids and laminated them
  4. Bought 6 treat bags of Starbursts
  5. Stuck on the sweet quotes onto the card and cut them out 
  6. Shared out the sweets equally and then placed them into the treat bags, folded over the edge and then stapled the card on the top
  7. Lastly, I placed the laminated quote on the back 

We handed them out to the children on the first day of their SATs. The children kept the little quote cards in their pockets and in their pencil case for the rest of the week.

I am hoping that they took that a little bit of their concern away just for a moment and showed that we care about them and beleive in them.




As SATs week loom, Is my child ready?

In just under 3 days time my eldest will be settling down into his chair in a school classroom about to sit one of the many tests that he will take that week. The week beginning of 12th May will be the week that my son will take the compulsory KS2 Statutory Assessment Tests along with many other Year 6 pupils throughout the country.

“The KS2 SATs are the Key Stage 2 National Curriculum Tests that every child takes when they reach year 6, the final year of primary school. They are important for your child because their results usually reflect what your child has learned throughout their primary school years. They also help your child to pin point their areas of strengths and weaknesses, but are also equally important to the school as the SATs results are reported to the DfES with individual schools performances published in performance tables, usually referred to as `league tables`. As with KS1 and KS3, the end of KS2 statutory assessments are part of the Government`s commitment to raising standards. Each LEA is also judged on the performance of its schools and compared nationally.”

On a recent visit to my son’s school, whilst attending the Year 6 parents SATS Explained meeting, we was told that the results would also be helpful to our children’s future senior school as they would be able to place the children into groups of ability once they start in September, but most senior schools make children sit tests again once starting as a child may not show their full potential on SAT day down to just having a bad day. Children are also assessed throughout their time in year 6 by their teachers, known as Teachers Assessment, they are tested on English and Maths. The Teacher assessment can help to judge a child’s performance in a subject over a longer period of time. The results are equally important, as a teacher may feel your child is doing better in a subject as a whole than in the parts of it covered by a test.

In our school children have been given extra lessons so that they are ready to sit the tests, in the past few months my Jak has been sitting in extra lessons in Maths and English, called SATS booster lessons, not only has he been revising to take a level 3-5 paper but also a level 6 one too. If put through to sit the level 6 in all tests he will be sitting 8 tests in 4 days, that’s ridiculous for an 11 year old!

The SAT tests consists of a reading test, a grammar, punctuation and spelling test, a mental mathematics test and a written mathematics test, if your child is sitting a level 6 paper then they have to do both the 3-5 and the level 6. On one day he will be doing 3 maths tests each being about 50 minutes long.

I am happy for my son to sit the higher paper but it does worry me about the pressure that they are being put through to achieve a high pass. My Jak doesn’t work well under pressure and can make himself quite sick from worrying, he knows he can achieve the impossible if he put his mind to it but under pressure he forgets all that he has learnt and worries too much. The marks that the children will receive from these papers mean more to the school than the child, Yes as a parent I get to see how he has improved over the year and Yes it is nice to find out that your child has passed a specific test and achieved a higher mark than average but at what cost? So that my child can worry for weeks prior to the test, become withdrawn, not eat and suffer from sleepless nights.

Once my son starts in his secondary school in September he will be tested again on entry, so why do both? So the junior school can look good on the performance table?

I have told Jak that he should try his best but not to worry as he will not be letting anyone down, especially his parents. I have printed off work sheets for him to do at home (which is something that i have always done for my children, whether there is a test or not) he studies at home online on websites that we have joined like Studyladder and 10ticks, these sites are not only fun but they learn too. I have printed off a few papers for us to look through together so that he knows the format of the questions and I am sure this is what he has been doing in school too, good websites to get these papers from are testbase and sats-papers, each giving you the choice to download past papers. Don’t get me wrong he doesn’t spend his days at home revising, he has a busy active lifestyle where he attends chess, judo, running, athletics and drama clubs so he only probably fits in about the 10 minutes a day if that.

I don’t care if he doesn’t achieve a high mark in the papers as he and I know that throughout this final school year Jak has improved dramatically in his education and on a few pieces on school work he has been awarded very high marks, so we know where he is academically a result in a SAT test will not change what he knows he can do.

Is Jak ready to sit the tests? As ready as he could ever be! Yeah he could have revised more and yes he could have given up his extra curriculum activities for the past few months and concentrated solely on revising but what for? As soon as this week is over I will reward him with a great big hug and a huge knicker bocker glory (his favourite) as no matter the outcome he will always be MY SON JAK, no level is going to change that!

I would like to wish every year 6 child who is sitting their SATs next week a very big fat GOOD LUCK and just remember relax and don’t worry 🙂



Mum, I’ve Fluffed it!

Yesterday was a big day for us, in particular Jak!

Four weeks ago i booked Jak in to take a test, a test that before then we hadn’t even thought of, but as Jak was soon to turn 11 and it was time for us to start to think about what senior school we would be applying for next year. I read through what was needed of the child applying and thought that my Jak could do that. I filled out his details and booked him into the nearest test centre.

The test i am talking about is the 11+.

The test was to be sat at King Edwards vi Grammar School in Chelmsford, the school that we would love for Jak to attend.

A few days after applying for the 11+ I decided to print out some sample papers fro Jak to look at, it was at this point that i realised what I had put him forward for! Jak is a very bright and talented young boy and i believe in him, I believe that if he puts his mind to anything he could achieve it.

The test consisted of 3 individual tests Maths, English and a Verbal/Non verbal Reasoning, Jak had never even seen most of the questions before on the Verbal reasoning papers.

Jak practised on a few of the sample papers but to be honest it wasn’t enough, he should have had more time and it was completely my own fault for applying so late. Four weeks just isn’t enough time for a young child to get used to the fact of sitting such a test, revision is needed and time! I never realised that children were tutored for the test from the age of 9, Jak told me about a friend of his who has been privately tutored for the past two years for the test and all i had done for Jak was print of  few sample papers and sat down with him going through the questions and possible answers.

On Saturday Morning, the day of the test, Jak woke up and was all hyped up for going saying that he would try his best and just enjoy the experience but after an hour and some last minute revision he began crying saying that he couldn’t do it, there was no way i was going to put him under this emmence pressure he was feeling so i told him not to worry and just to go have a shower. 5 Minutes later he has changed his mind and wanted to give it a go, i gave him a big hug and told him that no matter what the results are just to think of it as an audition (as he liked doing these) and to have confidence in himself.

The School is about 25 miles  away from us, we decided to go by train just to see how long it would take him if he did get through, we arrived in good time and Jak seemed to be ok, he was laughing and joking with me and when we got to the school Nanny was waiting there to wish him good luck. We joined the long queue of parents with their boys and registered him in, we walked out of the registration room and had to say good bye to Jak, I wished him good luck and told him i believe in him and i took his phone and gewing gum away from him lol.

We registered Jak in at 12:40 and was told to come back at 4:00 to pick him up, watching my little boy walk down that corridor along with the other young boys i felt guilty as hell, he wasn’t prepared for the test and i shouldn’t have taken him.

I went off to the shops with the boys and my Mum to pass the time and went back to the school at collection time, there were hundreds of parents waiting to collect their child, as i waited anxiously behind the line, that had been placed across the playing field, I saw the first boy being lead out by a school prefect and i saw the look on his face as he scanned the hundreds of adults waiting and as he spotted his adult he ran over to them, I looked again within the many boys that were leaving the building and that’s when i saw my Jak. I waved over to him and as he got closer i noticed how white and peaky he looked, he gave him the biggest hug ever and he said to me

“Mum, I’m sorry I’ve let you down, I fluffed it!”

No! I shook my head, “It’s me that’s let you down!” I should have either prepared him more or not have entered him at all! He looked sick and he was shaking, i have never seen him so scared before. The pressure was too much for him, he just wasn’t ready.

I don’t care for his results, I know my son and i know what he is capable of, he is not the brightest of boys but he is my ray of sunshine. I know whatever school he attends he will do well. He told me that most of the questions that came up in the Verbal Reasoning Test paper he had never seen before and had no idea how to answer them so he guessed them and the Maths paper was a lot harder than he what he fault it would be and the English paper wasn’t too bad.

A word of advice from one parent to another: If you are thinking of putting your child through an 11+ test to get into a Grammar school then make sure that they are ready for it, prepare them with revision but don’t push them too much, they are children after all!

Children are not children for long, savior them whilst they are young as they are not young for long and soon grow up to be young adults.

I failed my son, my son hasn’t failed me!