The pressure that Sats exert on children is a perennial complaint from primary school teachers, with reports of children being driven to tears by the tests every year.
However, it seems some schools have come up with a clever way of easing this pressure – by disguising the tests.
Caroline Spalding, assistant head at Tupton Hall School in Chesterfield and a Tes contributor, tweeted last week that her seven-year-old nephew had told her he had undertaken “secret spy training” at school. This involved having to “complete challenges and quizzes to unlock his reward at the end of the week”.
She said it took her five minutes to realise he was actually referring to Sats.
My 7yr old nephew has just told me about his ‘Secret Spy Training’ at school. He had to complete challenges and quizzes to unlock his reward at the end of the week. Took me 5mins to realises he was discussing SATs. 🕵️♂️ Nice work @HolbrookPrimary 👏👏👏— Caroline Spalding (@MrsSpalding) May 26, 2018
The school – Holbrook Church of England Primary School in Derbyshire – is apparently not alone in using what one tweeter called the “hiding the broccoli trick”.
The old hiding the broccoli trick. A great way to both engage and raise awareness.— Graham Goulden (@Graham_Goulden) May 28, 2018
Hartsholme Academy, in Lincolnshire, uses “secret agent training” to help with learning for exams.
@hartsholmeacad @Harts_Class6 have used similar with my 8 year old son. They have “Secret Agent Training” and various challenges disguised brilliantly to help with learning for exams in a “fun” and “engaging” way!— Ross Tarnowski (@rosstarnowski) May 27, 2018
Another teacher talked about how she had encouraged children to be “undercover learning ninjas”.
Brilliant. I’ve done a similar thing with some children to be ‘Undercover Learning Ninjas’ as they are ones that move in mysterious ways and discover, collate & consolidate learning in different ways - just using the terminology seemed to work 👍😀🙋🏻— Nina Jackson #Talk2MeMH (@musicmind) May 27, 2018
One tweeter said she wished the approach had been taken with her “stressed” daughter.
Wish my daughter's school did something like this. She's been so stressed out by it all that she didn't sleep the night before— Ryn Joyes ❤ (@faerieryn) May 27, 2018
And another asked whether the technique might be applicable to slightly older pupils.
That’s awesome!— Numpty Teacher (@numpty_teacher) May 26, 2018
Do you think it’ll work with GCSEs? 😂