We asked some famous faces, headteachers and supporters to share their messages to year 6 pupils taking their SATs tests this year.
Dear Year 6,
Everyone around you is so so keen for you to do well, and succeed at all the different stages you pass through during your school lives. Some of you find the expectations put on you very hard, which makes you worry and lose sleep.
I just want to remind you that your own personal creativity, play, and adventure are just as important in shaping your future. Everyone knows that children who explore their hobbies such as learning a musical instrument, drama, sport, and who love reading books, are often more confident and happier.
No matter what hoops you are expected to jump through, always value the things you love, and you’ll be fine.
Whitbread Prize-winning author of Coram Boy, as well as the Grandpa Chatterji series for children
Dear Y6 children.
Whatever happens during SATs week does not shape your future one little bit. Just try your best, smile and look forward to climbing a tree, playing football, singing, dancing, cooking or reading when you get home.
After all the disruption you have had over the past 3 years, my heart goes out to you sitting these useless exams. Sadly the Government say you have to do them, so we have no choice. We can as teachers, Head Teachers be there for you if you feel anxious – so talking is good.
Parklands Primary School, Leeds
Dear Year 6
I hope you all know what an amazing bunch of young people you are, and how proud everyone here at St Peter’s is of you. Each of you brings something very special to our school and to your class, and over the years we’ve watched you grow into these kind, funny, and friendly human beings who are there for each other even when things are tough. You’ve worked so very hard at your learning over the years, and it hasn’t always been easy, particularly during lockdown when you couldn’t see your friends and were trying to learn, and live, at home! And being locked down at home was NOT all fun!
This last term, in the build up to the SATs next week, we’ve really seen you put that extra effort into your learning, but we want you to remember that although we want you to do well because you’ve worked so hard, the tests will not be able to measure the qualities and abilities that you have as individuals. They won’t measure your kindness and supportiveness to your friends, nor your skills on the basketball court. They won’t measure your generosity, or how good your jokes are, or how creative you are. They won’t take account of the fact that you speak two languages, are great at singing, or have represented the school in sports events. Those things that make each of you unique and special are so very important and you must never forget that.
We want you to tackle next week with your positive “I can do this!” head on, and to draw on those qualities of perseverance and resilience that you have developed. Make sure you get plenty of rest and sleep (NO sleepovers!), make healthy choices with what you eat, and drink lots of water. To help you, school will be open for you from 8.00am so that you can come in chat to your friends over breakfast and relax before the tests. You don’t have to be here, but the gate will be open and we will provide breakfast, toast and cereal and juice for any of you who would like to.
We really are so proud of you and just want you to know that tests or no tests, you are all AMAZING!
St Peter's Community Primary School, Brighton
Dear Year 6,
With SATS week coming up in May, I want to write to you and share what I have learned over many years as student, teacher, headteacher and avid reader – about examinations and what they mean.
Like you, I took a test age 11. My twin brother and I passed. A year later my younger brother failed. In our day this meant we all went to different High Schools: me to a girls’ school and my brothers to two different boys’ schools. It’s important that I tell you something. My younger brother was and is no less intelligent than my twin brother or me; he found learning to read a little trickier than we did and he failed the 11 plus test. But he did Maths O level the same year as my twin brother and I. He took it a year early and got an A, the same as his older brother! We all went on to Higher Education.
Tests are brilliant at telling you how well you know the answers to particular questions on a particular day. But here’s the thing. There’s a reasonable probability (30-40%) that if the examiner had chosen different questions the same person would achieve a different score. We are human. We have good days and bad days. People might get a different score if they sat the exact same test on a different day. You’re unlikely to score as well if you are tired or unwell but that doesn’t mean you are less intelligent or not as clever.
Now folks, this doesn’t mean that SATS and other tests are not important. If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing as well as you can. Thank you to you and your teachers – I know you have all been working hard. I also know many of you have been putting in great efforts at home too and want to do your best. Thank to your families for helping and encouraging you. I want you all to do your best too. When you have the best grasp of reading, writing and mathematics you can have, you can make the most of High School learning. Your best is great. Your best will always be successful and good enough.
So, we should give exams and tests all the respect and importance they deserve. But no more.
When I was a young teacher I read a wonderful book by Stephen Jay Gould, a scientist who mainly wrote about Dinosaurs. This book was about people and how we measure intelligence. It was called The Mismeasure of Man. Reading this book confirmed what I’d always thought; learning and intelligence are hard to measure. Have you ever known something one day, forgotten it when asked on the spot only to remember it later? I know I have! We can test some things easily – times tables, spelling, simple facts. But our intelligence is more interesting and complex and can’t be measured in tests. Some of Einstein’s teachers thought he was really stupid because he didn’t answer the questions they set him correctly – or even at all!
So – your SATS will tell you how well you know some stuff and I hope you give them all your very best shot. I hope you can all show the markers how well you know the stuff they have asked about. I wish you the very best and hope you are rested so you can answer all the questions you know as well as you can. I hope you all find some interesting questions. I hope you all have to think hard and puzzle some out because thinking hard and the brain ache makes you cleverer!
I hope this letter will help you think about your achievement and other people’s. I hope you won’t be overly fussed about comparing yourselves with each other. I hope you are happy for people and say well done when results are out (in sealed envelopes to be opened at home). And I hope everybody remembers the following:
The great thing about being an ancient teacher is you get to see children grow up. Some of the children I taught let me know how they’ve got on and what they remember about being in my classes (usually Art, Music and Dance!). I live locally and love meeting ex-Kingsmeaders at High School, college, university or out at work. I even bumped into one at a Liverpool match the other week. I was so proud of her. I think I recall that she did well in her SATS but it’s her tenor horn playing and full on passion for Maths I remember her for. It was no surprise that she’s now a chartered accountant, working with the numbers she has loved since she was your age. When children I’ve taught come back, we remember joyful learning in primary school. Tests have never been mentioned. And the people who’ve done the best? They have been far less interested in where they ranked in the scores and far more interested in the stuff they were learning. Understanding and knowing stuff – that’s the real reward of education. As Professor Richard Dawkins, wrote on our our school mugs:
‘The World and the universe is an extremely beautiful place, and the more we understand it, the more beautiful does it appear.’
SATS are a measure of some stuff you know. They are not The Measure of you. You are all so much more than a score.
Wishing you the best and hope you keep it all in proportion.
Lots of love,
Kingsmead Primary School, Cheshire
Dear Yr 6 children of Grange
You have made me so proud of your efforts and attitudes over the past 2 years.
You are truly the ‘bounce-back’ kids and even a global pandemic could not stop you!
You have never given up on your learning; you have continued to smile; you all make me so happy to see you coming into school every school day .
You have attended boosters and lunchtime lessons and most importantly you have had great Grange CC attitudes.
You believe in yourselves and put your hand on your heart when you see me because you know that I believe in you and your job is to live your best life and to become the best that you can become. You are also kind and considerate and you know that true strength is kindness. Your teachers and educators have worked so hard. Many of them have come in even when they don’t feel great or maybe even a little ill because they want the best for you.
Perhaps you cannot see it now but I truly hope that each of you grow up to be the kind of people that the Grange adults are: People who care about making the world a better place through our actions.
I want each of you to be literate
I want each of you to be numerate
I want each of you to be confident
I want each of you to be considerate
…but most of all – I want each of you to be loved and to love humanity
We live in a world right now where there is war and fighting and peace is not easy to achieve but it starts with each of us. The more you work to be grateful, to be kind, to be caring to yourself and to others , the closer we will get towards peace in the world.
Do YOUR best!
Do not be afraid to make mistakes because that is how we learn BUT make sure you learn from your mistakes and keep becoming your best
I wish you all the best for your Sats tests but they are just tests…the crucial bit is about your character strength – to embrace every challenge and rise towards your success.
May you each live your best life.
Wishing you all the blessings of joy, friendship, health, deep learning and loads of progress. May these blessings bring you happiness and prosperity and when you sit down for future job interviews remember that you were a ‘bounce-back’ child who thrived in the global pandemic and get the job!
Whatever happens make the world a better place because you are in it!
Grange Primary School, Harrow
A few years ago my eldest son, now in his 50s did the KS2 English Grammar paper. He failed. He posted on Facebook…”How on earth did I manage to get a B.Sc (1st), an M.Sc (Distinction).and an MBA.(Distinction)?”
Just do your best and remember a vast number of adults were not required to sit these SATS. I certainly wasn’t.
Dear Year 6 children,
You are powerful human beings, full of emotions and creativity.
These tests do not and cannot define you. You are so much more than a score.
Your potential is boundless and can never be meaningfully measured by a standardised assessment. You are evolving and learning every day you live on this planet. Who you are and what you will become is a wonderful mystery. Let it be so.
Please don’t worry about these tests. You are all incredible children and nothing that these tests examine you on will make a speck of difference to your success in the future.
Retired Secondary School Maths Teacher
Dear Year 6 children
Well done for arriving at this point in your lives, which I consider a real achievement. I know how much hard work your primary school years need from you and your teachers plus other adults in school and beyond.
Your lives have been cruelly disrupted in recent times, way beyond anything considered normal to previous generations. I hope you all can look forward to better times in the coming months. Perhaps you have an activity week planned, or some theatrical project to enjoy.
Whatever happens, you are still a part of an amazing group of young people. You deserve awards and praises for everything you’ve done, which cannot be summarised by a simple score in any test.
Good luck to you all,
I was lucky enough to fail the 11+ (a sort of equivalent of SATs) so landed up in a Technical High School for Art in Manchester. Looking back I can see that it was the beginning of my career; I’m still working as an artist 60 years on.
What a life I would have missed had I passed it!
Remember you are enough, tests and exams are a brief moment in time, they do not reflect your full capability, personality, nor your true potential.
Attitude and application are much more important in life than the scores you achieve.
Do your best and be proud of that. Relax and take deep slow breaths, you are ready and well prepared.
Mark de Freitas
I know you and your teachers are working exceptionally hard for dare I say it SATs !Please don’t worry .You’re definitely way more than a score, you’re unique and wonderful.I wish I could see your drawings, paintings, models and hear the stories you have to tell. Learning should be fun!
Be kind and helpful to your friends and teachers. Follow your dreams.
Never mind the score.
I am sorry you are still being burdened with this nonsense – but it’s just a small blip in your life, so don’t stress over it.
Dear Year 6,
Next week you will be the first Year 6 class in history to be sitting their SATs papers after a very disrupted and difficult time due to a global pandemic. Your last full, uninterrupted year in school was when you were in Year 3.
The fact that you have come back into school and have tackled your final year with us with such dedication, passion and love of learning means that you are already a hugely successful group of young people and we are extremely proud of you all.
I know that you all want to do well next week, and some of you may feel a bit worried about it all – I need you to remember that you are so much more than how you perform in a test. You are brave, kind and brilliant – all of you.
All we can ever ask is that you try your best, get lots of sleep and come in at 8.15 each morning ready to have breakfast with us and start each day with confidence and pride in what you have already achieved.
We are all behind you, and already know that you will leave us in July this year as well rounded, compassionate people who are ready to take on the world.
Atlas Community Primary School, Bradford
Education isn’t all about school …. you can learn in your own way, understand things in your own way, do well in your own way and NOT follow the typical school path. Stay strong you young, curious, inspiring beings.
If SATs aren’t for you or don’t work for you then so be it… there is more to life than school !!!
I still remember the anxiety of whether I’m ready or good enough for exams, what my future will be or what people will think of me. But, now I’m older, I’ve learned it really doesn’t matter. You can only do what you’re capable of, nothing more.
Whatever happens, your future can always be what you want it to be. It doesn’t matter if you don’t understand fractions, verbs, what happened in 1066 or what causes erosion. What matters is who you are as a person and what your own unique skills/talents are. You could be kind, compassionate, love football, be a really amazing dancer or draw the most beautiful artwork. You can’t measure or grade any of that! No-one can take any of that away from you.
So, go into that exam hall with your head held high, do what you can and then it’ll all be over and you can get back to doing what makes you happy.
Good luck and be amazing!
Please don’t worry about these tests.
It does not matter one bit if you don’t do well on the day, you will still go to secondary school and learn what you need to just like everyone else. And you will do brilliantly, you will meet lots of interesting people, make friends, and get qualifications!
You will succeed with or without doing these tests!
Hello wonderful, amazing young people!
SATs are not a test of how good you are. They say nothing about how hard you try nor how amazing you are as a person. No employer will ever care what SATs score you got! No one who wants to be your friend will care. Those who love you don’t care.
Carry on enjoying what you do, trying hard, being kind and loving yourself.
Because we all love you for being you too.
Gilly & Mark Beeching
To All your 6 children and their teachers,
SATs are nearly here for you.
I know that you will all have been working extra hard for the last weeks and indeed for the whole of this term, all you can do is your BEST and I am certain that is what you will all do. Nobody can expect anything more from you.
Keep up the hard work for a couple more weeks and then relax and enjoy the rest of this school year.
I am thinking of you all and have everything crossed for you!
You are all stars.
I’m a primary teacher who retired 12 years ago. Back then I thought SATs were a needless burden on pupils who should be enjoying learning not being forced to practice for exams that will not be important to their futures. I hope that when your generation grow up you will campaign to stop the next generation being forced to waste their time and energy.
The SATS tests cannot tell you what is special and unique about you, or how important and talented you are.
The people who create these tests and score them do not know about all of the wonderful things you do at school or at home and they are no measure of you as a person. The levels you get from these tests will tell you something about you, but only a very small something. There are many, many ways of being smart, and you are all clever and smart in your own special ways.
As you prepare for these tests, remember that there is no way to test all the fantastic things you can do! I have taken a small SATS test and I know how hard you have been working, please know that parents and grown ups everywhere are behind you and want you to know that you don’t need to worry or stress about them. They are only a tiny part of what makes you, you and you can do awesome things!
Dear brilliant Year Six children
I hope when you are grown-up, you can design a way of understanding how children learn that celebrates all their brilliance: imagination, hope, self-expression.
You are more than SPAG and arithmetic tests!
I hope you and your teachers enjoy a well-earned rest and play after all this WORK!
Dear Year 6
Just do your best. Remember to stop and take some deep breaths if you get nervous. Picture your classroom and remind yourself what was on the walls to help you. Encourage each other and also encourage your teachers. They too get very nervous about Sats.
And then… have a great summer and forget about the whole thing!
Hey, kids. Don’t stress about these stupid tests. They are just bits of paper. You know and your teachers know how brilliant you are. Just do them and forget about them!
Dear Year 6,
You are an amazing generation of resilient children who have had so much to deal with. What you are worth is like a little lump or nugget of gold which is always with you. Even if the gold gets muddy, it’s still there and it’s worth the same. Whatever your test scores, you always have that nugget of gold – you are worth the same. Everyone’s else’s nugget of gold is worth the same as yours too, no more, no less. I hope this makes some sense!
SATS only measure what you can do on that paper on that day – always remember that you are so much more than that!
Teachers across the country wish you the best during SATs. We know the tests can’t and don’t reflect what wonderful learners and young people you are. It’s time we ended SATs for good.
Joint Branch and District Secretary
National Education Union, Sheffield
These test are only important for the school.
They mean nothing for the children and are not a reflection on them as wonderful humans.
So don’t worry about those tests.
The most most important learning happens outside the classroom and there is always another way to be a happy fulfilled person.
Dr Sebastian Hendricks
I’m very good at taking tests, so I know from my own experience that the test result does not tell me who I am or even everything that I am good at. It’s just a test, that gave me no answers. It didn’t tell me who I would be and certainly didn’t tell anyone all the things that mattered to me. I’m good at tests, but I discovered only through living this life that I’m good at loads of other things too.
Just be the best that you can be. Don’t worry and remember you are much much more than a score!
Well, lots to look forward to. These tests that you do now and in the future are just one tiny measure of who you are, one stroke whole a whole painting.
So don’t sweat, everyone will still love you come what may. Be kind to yourself and others if they are struggling and finding things hard. Some of the most brilliant and creative minds we have known have struggled at some point and if it is all easy that is great too.
Whatever you may score in your SATS, you will still be wonderful, amazing, unique YOU! A test doesn’t, and shouldn’t, define you.
I’m appalled these unnecessary tests are going ahead for children who haven’t had a normal school year since yr 3.
These tests mean absolutely nothing.
They are just a tool to beat teachers and schools with. Please don’t stress about them. If you’re worried talk to your carers and discuss your options.
Hopefully year 6 will return to normal after next week and you will be able to enjoy the end of your primary career.
Dear everyone who has to sit SATS tests,
I really wish these tests didn’t exist but they do and obviously you have to do your best but you are all too young to be judged in this way and many of you have talents and skills that won’t show up in the test results.
You are so much more than these tests. Good luck anyway but remember that the tests are only about a small part of you.
All best wishes