The current UK education system has several levels of testing depending on key stage or educational year, with SATs beginning in Year 2. There can be a lot of focus placed upon the importance of these exam results in schools, which can lead to children and young people at any age feeling an overwhelming pressure to do well and achieve top marks.

Whilst exams can help your child to take a step up to the next academic level, it is important to remember that results are not the only measure of success. Exams are not the be all end all and they can always be retaken, remind your child f what they have achieved already and that there is more to life than exam grades.

Molly-Rose, age 11, shared with us her thoughts on the pressure of SATs and how it makes her feel…

“Sats make me feel worried and nervous because they are quite a big test at my age (11).  I get a bit sad and annoyed with myself when I don’t do very in tests well, because I really care about my results, and I want to do well.  I work really hard at school but sometimes when it comes to tests it is like my brain drains of everything I have learnt. 

When I think of SATS, I get a worrying feeling in my tummy because I think they define what ability group I will be put in when I go to secondary school in September. (Mummy and Daddy try to reassure and tell me just to do my best, try my hardest and they are always proud of me)

Despite doing lots of practice with my Daddy (Mummy isn’t very good at Maths) I still get very nervous. I mainly worry about the Maths papers; however, I am extremely grateful to my Daddy because he believes in me and helps me no matter.  In the first lockdown, I really struggled with Maths but my Dad supported me so much, even when I got a bit fed up and really grumpy with him.  Thanks to his encouragement and support I feel a little more confident about them now. 

However, I wish we didn’t have to do them and the pressure for an 11 year is unnecessary. These tests are measurements for the school and the government and not my ability.”

If you are worried about how your child coping with exam stress and pressure, one of our children’s psychotherapists has shared her top tips on helping your child cope with exam-related stress here:

Our team of experienced therapists can help young adults, children and families to guide them through these kind of worries by providing bespoke therapeutic support.

If you would like to find out more about the services we offer, you can get in touch by calling 01904 412551, or email info@theretreatyork.org.uk.