Michal Nahman reports from Bristol
Kids and parents in Bristol gathered at Baddock’s wood, to have fun and learn outdoors, marking #KidsStrike3rdMay. Many parents across the UK have been appalled by the government’s approach to educating our children, an approach that imagines testing as the ultimate way to prove intelligence. This approach is highly contestable.
As a parent of two children I felt it was important to oppose the testing, which my child has found very demoralising and frustrating. Despite the efforts schools are making to lessen the effects of testing on Year 2 children, who are now taking these tests for the first time, the kids are still feeling it. This is why I’ve joined the Let Our Kids be Kids campaign that has been gaining momentum in the last few weeks. My child had a thoroughly educational and enjoyable day that started with inventing a recipe for chocolate cake, gardening, teaching herself to use a saw, helping to build a mud kitchen, watching BBC’s newsround programme, and then going to a local wood to play in a stream and meet up with some local (and not so local) parents and children. Some of the other parents commented:
I decided to keep my son out of school today because I felt that I wanted to make it known to the government that I feel strongly opposed ot the current system in terms of the pressure to perform to set national standards. And I’ve felt for quite a long tme that the education system doesn’t have the interests of the child at heart at all really. But more the interests of the government and league tables, and ultimately the economy. And I feel that a lot of children can learn, and can be proven to be learning in a lot of different ways. All children are individuals.
We kept our children off school because we want our children to be children!
I took my child out of school today. I think we all need to stand together. My son and I have been talking about how when people get together they can make a big difference . and that’s how we’ve tackled it. We haven’t even talked about testing or the reasons. We’ve just talked about how much pressure is put on them at such a young age and how that affects people. And how it feels not right. And we’re standing together.
I’m keeping the kids off today because I’m deeply concerned about the curriculum. I was already concerned about the previous curriculum, but I’m even more concerned about the new curriculum and it doesn’t provide enough variety of experiences for kids. It’s too knowledge based and not concerned with creativity and the importance of the imagination. It is not evidence based at all because child development studies all show how important it is for children to have play and creative starting points to learning. That is how children learn best, through recreation and play. And I’m really concerned about the impact of the stress, Year 6 SATS in particular, and how stressed it has made my Year 5 child that he has to sit Year 6 practice SATS this year.