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‘Brace yourself for the emotions of Sats week’

Sats week is always an emotional rollercoaster, says this assistant headteacher, who has charted the highs and lows

Sats week emotions

Sats week is always an emotional rollercoaster, says this assistant headteacher, who has charted the highs and lows

Hey, it’s Sats week! Time to brace yourself for the rollercoaster of feelings and emotions that is about to come your way if you teach a Sats class…

You start the week feeling pretty determined: the children are calm; your sense of perspective is still intact; this is just Sats after all.

Intrigue swoops on in as you ponder which interesting topics will be covered in the texts that make up the reading paper booklet this year…

…and this is closely followed by disenchantment, when you spot that text number one is entitled "A Brief History of the Cabbage", as well as sadness when you consider the number of children who actually have to read this.

Feelings of puzzlement rise to the surface when it appears that number 7 in the spelling test is "autochthonous" – but hey, at least you’ve learned a new word for "indigenous", so it’s not a total loss, right?

No amount of deep breaths can fully keep murmurings of exasperation away when it looks like someone might have been stumped in the heat of the moment by 8,334,987 x 0 in the arithmetic test and is attempting to do it using column multiplication. It’s always the simplest questions that get them.

'Sats aren't so bad'

But it’s alright – it’s really alright – because, low and behold, it seems that the children have remembered that strategy you taught and are using it to tackle a tricky-looking fractions, decimals and percentages question! Oh the triumph is palpable. Sats aren’t so bad after all…

And then, in the next moment, mild panic creeps up on you out of nowhere: you did teach them the parts of a circle, didn’t you? Oh for the love of diameters…

All of this must be getting to you because you even have slight nostalgia for the heady days of pre-2014 when three children would always appear in the questions in the maths tests – whatever did happen to Alfie, Chen and Megan anyway?

Forget that: time to focus. Deep concentration is needed for one of the most complex tasks of the week – no, not question number 36 about the progressive tense on the EGPS paper – which is packaging the papers up in the right order, in the right plastic wallet with the right sticker on the front. Whew, that was intense.

Thank goodness Thursday is almost here and you can look forward to the relief that will wash over you when the last papers have been packaged up and it’s all over again – until next year.

Claire Lotriet is assistant headteacher at Henwick Primary School in London. She tweets @OhLottie

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