I'll just pause there a moment, week 2. Week 2! At least when it was January we had 14 weeks of year 6. The responsibility of being the eldest in the school, having whole school jobs and the expectation of everyone drives a maturity that is not evident in week 2.
This year it was a different animal. I was a parent in this system for the first time. By the way I cannot emphasise enough how different things are once your own children are encountering these systems. I chatted with Stuart Lock about this at the weekend. He'd had a phonics letter. I remembered receiving a similar reading letter. We are not always a parent friendly system. It's tough to be a teacher parent, you don't expect that and I wasn't ready for it.
We didn't employ a tutor. We don't believe in it. The fear I experienced that my values might have compromised her was significant. I felt like a hypocrite anyway as I disagree with the whole system. I think it's morally wrong that children are judged like that age ten. It's exclusive, selective and labels children failures. I felt like I threw my socialist values on the fire. But you can't always fight the system. She wanted to go to the selective school and I want her to as well as it's so amazing.
Test day arrived and daughter was fine. She caused a lump in my throat when I asked how it was that evening though. She said 'I looked across the table & I could see X was going to cry. We weren't allowed to talk so I just slid a tissue over to her.' The girl she mentioned comes here often for sleepovers. She is so lovely & exuberant. She is also an August birthday and I know it's age standardised but the very experience of the test is hard for those younger ones. It made me feel sad how this testing decimates kids.
So tonight was results. Tonight was bizarre. We have parents evenings at my school this week so I was at school late. I went to get her from school & brought her to my school. Andy came over too when he finished at his school & we all camped out in my office as we awaited the results email with biscuits, tea, milk & her as YouTube DJ!
It was actually lovely to chat to our parents as a family as they came in to their parents evenings. It's good for them to know it's as hard being a parent regardless of whether or not you work in a school!
Obvs a big clue there but yes, she passed! Very glad & she now has an opportunity to go to the school she loved most when we looked around.
I went to tuck her into bed about half past eight and she looked sad. When I asked what was wrong she said 'I am glad I passed and I am excited but I'm dreading tomorrow morning mum. It's going to be horrible for people who haven't passed and I'm going to feel so guilty. There's going to be a massive fuss and I hate it.'
As proud of her for that as passing.
Awful, exclusive, selective system. When are we going to stop torturing ten year olds?
I'm as conflicted as I am glad and as proud as I am bewildered. But I am also sad and bothered by a sense of unfairness. Hundreds of ten year olds are going to get up tomorrow with heavy hearts.
A brief post script a day later following my own reflections:
I've slightly changed the original post as my intention wasn't to be political. Exclusivity exists however one votes or doesn't.
No one has said this but it's not 'awful bloody system, by the way my daughter passed' of course I'm proud of her but the test result is no way the top of my proud list.
The only intention of the post was to share the feelings of children, parents and professionals as they go through the selective testing process.
My rational response to her at bedtime can conclude the post and it was this:
'No one knows which school they are actually going to until March. Everyone's parents get to appeal for a place at the school they want. You've done well and I'm proud but it's a test result, it's not the be all and end all of life.'