Head in­vites pupils to ‘chill out’ be­fore tests


Manchester Evening News - - NEWS - By EMMA GILL emma.gill@men-news.co.uk @fam­i­ly­manc

A SCHOOL has been praised for its heart­warm­ing let­ter to pupils ahead of the SATs tests tak­ing place this week.

The stress felt by chil­dren do­ing the ex­ams in Year 2 and Year 6 has been widely re­ported and there’s on­go­ing crit­i­cism of the de­ci­sion to test kids at such a young age.

That’s why par­ents were so pleased with a let­ter given to their chil­dren at Chorl­ton Park Pri­mary School en­cour­ag­ing them to ‘chill out’ ahead of the tests.

The let­ter from Key Stage 2 head­teacher Meryl Black­burn praised the pupils for work­ing so hard so far.

In it, she says: “This week­end I want you to re­lax and ‘chill out’ – do some­thing nice, en­joy time with your fam­ily, read a book, go to the cinema, eat some nice food, play out with friends, play a game, visit some­where that you haven’t been to be­fore! Re­mem­ber to eat well and get plenty of sleep, to laugh a lot and en­joy the week­end.”

Par­ent Su­san Al­man shared the let­ter on Face­book with the com­ment: “How lovely is this ... Good luck to all year 6’s do­ing SATs this week.”

And she told the M.E.N. she was pleased such ‘a very pos­i­tive let­ter’ had been sent to pupils.

Su­san said: “The prepa­ra­tion, hours of ex­tra study time both in school and at home lead­ing up to SATs can be re­ally stress­ful for some chil­dren and their par­ents.

“Af­ter notic­ing how stressed our lit­tle one was feel­ing, I said ‘how about just do­ing the ex­tra classes in school and when you come home you re­lax and spend time with your friends do­ing fun things?.’

“I have found that this plan has worked re­ally well. No pres­sure at home, just free time to en­joy be­ing a child play­ing out hav­ing friends over – all things a child en­joys and has a right to. I also found that be­cause I’d taken the pres­sure off my daugh­ter she some­times chose not to go out and play but to stay in and study, but that was her own choice, which I felt was more health­ier and less stress­ful as she was in charge of her own learn­ing.

“Yes as a par­ent I’m hop­ing she does well in her SATs but what­ever she achieves she’s a suc­cess in my eyes.”

It’s not the first time schools have sent en­cour­ag­ing let­ters out ahead of the con­tro­ver­sial tests.

Last year, the M.E.N. re­ported how one was sent to pupils in the fi­nal year at Booth­stown Methodist Pri­mary School in Sal­ford, urg­ing them to spend the week­end bike-rid­ing, eat­ing ice cream, see­ing friends and gen­er­ally re­lax­ing.

It told the chil­dren that Year 6 teacher He­len Kelly ‘is in charge of wor­ry­ing – you don’t need to.’

And Mrs Kelly went on to set home­work for the week­end, with the list in­clud­ing ev­ery­thing from ‘go on a bike ride’ or ‘go for a swim or walk,’ to ‘spend time with peo­ple you love’ and ‘smile.’

Mrs Black­burn’s let­ter and, be­low, Chorl­ton Park Pri­mary School

Key stage 2 head­teacher Meryl Black­burn

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