SATS ANXIETY: 10 AND 11-YEAR-OLDS WORRY THAT FAILING EXAMS WILL AFFECT THEIR FUTURES
Children fully aware that SATs are important for school league tables
Some children too nervous to eat, others having last night’s leftovers for breakfast
Kellogg’s donating 44,500 breakfasts to Year Six pupils taking their SATs
11 May, 2015
Children as young as ten worry that doing poorly in their SATs could set them up for failure in their future lives, according to a new survey by Kellogg’s.
In a poll of more than 1,000 children* who took their Key Stage Two SATs exams last year, some 55 per cent said they’d worried that not getting level fours or higher would impact on their future.
A total of 60 per cent claimed they’d been told by teachers that SATs were important for the school league tables, while 68 per cent admitted feeling pressured at exam time.
In a second poll of more than 1,000 parents of children who took their Year Six SATs last year, one fifth said their child was too nervous to eat before SATs exams, with one in eight saying they’d even refused food.
Almost a fifth of parents (18%) said their child’s behaviour got worse during SATs week, and 74 per cent said their children are under more exam pressure than they were at a similar age.
Children reported not being able to concentrate due to being nervous (20%), not being able to eat because of nerves (12%) and feeling hungry due to skipping a meal (14%).
While most ate cereal or toast for breakfast in preparation for their tests, some said they’d had chocolate bars, crisp, energy drinks, pasties and sausage rolls, leftovers from last night’s dinner and even smoked a cigarette.
Kellogg’s is donating 44,500 breakfasts to 300 school Breakfast Clubs this week so children taking their SATs won’t sit their exams on an empty stomach.
Of the children surveyed, 22 per cent reported losing sleep during their SATs, but that figure rose to 59 per cent among children who admitted skipping breakfast.
Kellogg’s director Paul Wheeler said: “This is the third year that Kellogg’s has donated extra food to schools during SATs week.
“We’re sorry to hear that children are feeling stressed and hungry before their exams, so we hope that by attending school breakfast clubs they’ll get the boost they need to do their best.”
John Coe of the National Association for Primary Education said: “A decent breakfast should set children up for success in their exams, and eating breakfast with friends at a Breakfast Club - and calming each other’s nerves about the tests - is a happy way of meeting the challenge to come.”
Child psychologist Dr Claire Halsey said: “It’s troubling that children are expressing so many worries about their exams.
“It’s natural to experience some pressure to perform before any test, even at age ten and eleven, but these results show that SATS have become more than a little nerve-wracking.
“Fortunately there are practical things parents and schools can do to help such as creating a calm environment, praising effort rather than results and making sure children sleep and eat well before their tests.”
*The surveys were commissioned by Kellogg’s and carried out by Opinion Matters in April 2015. The first surveyed 1,042 children who completed their Key Stage 2 SATs in 2014; the second surveyed 1,032 parents of children who completed their Key Stage 2 SATs in 2014.