The lighter side of life with Kate Mason: What's wrong with just letting children be children?

Standing outside the sports hall with sweaty palms, chattering teeth and an impending feeling of doom in the pit of my stomach became an all too familiar feeling at school whenever exam season came around.

By The Newsroom
Wednesday, 11th May 2016, 7:53 pm
Updated Wednesday, 11th May 2016, 8:56 pm
completing a multiple choice exam.
completing a multiple choice exam.

Queuing up in single file gripping on to an annotated copy of a text book for dear life and trying to visualise those heavily highlighted revision flash cards was the norm throughout my school and university years.

Just thinking about sitting in some smelly, sweaty sports hall, looking up at the clock and waiting for an examiner to tell you to turn over your paper brings me out in a cold sweat.

No matter how many spelling tests, SATs, GCSEs and A-levels you might have completed the stress of exams and fear of failure never seems to get any easier.

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You’d think it would get better when you leave school but the dreaded driving tests and work-placed assessments that continue to plague you through adulthood still manage to catapult you right back to being a scared teenager.

I don’t care how prepared you are and how much revision you’ve done exams are stressful – fact.

As stressful as these exams are it’s an inevitability as we get older and progress through our education but thanks to new SATs tests children as young as six are being judged.

The move resulted in thousands of parents across the country taking their children out of school for a day in protest at the tough new tests.

Parents from the Let Our Kids Be Kids campaign said children as young as six were labelling themselves failures as a result of the new testing system.

I understand that a shake-up of the education system is needed to improve standards but I think this is a step too far.

To plunge young children into a stressful exam situation at a time when they are supposed to be building their confidence just see ms counter-productive.

What’s next, giving toddlers at a nursery marks out of 10 for their potty training skills or grading tots’ play dough creations?

These children have the rest of their lives to endure exams so what’s wrong with allowing them to enjoy their youth for five minutes and at least get into the swing of school before you put them off?

I’m not talking about in-house spelling tests and fun quizzes but to expect children of this age to take part in national exams of this nature seems unfair and unnecessary.