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A High Performing Specialist Academy for Technology & Applied Learning

BBC News School Report 2018

Students from this school made the news for real on Thursday 15 March 2018 as they took part in BBC News School Report. 

BBC News School Report gives 11-16 year-old students in the UK the chance to make their own news  reports for a real audience.

Using lesson plans and materials, and with support from BBC staff and partners, teachers help students develop their journalistic skills to become School Reporters.

 Students created news reports which have been uploaded here on our school website, to which the BBC links to.

Over the course of the last seven years, School Report has worked with thousands of schools to tell the stories that matter to young people - and this year is no exception.


Standardised Testing and the Pressures of Exams

Testing is leading to higher stress levels and more mental health issues in our youth than ever before.  Not only do children have to do homework or coursework, they are also constantly revising for one test or another.  Yet students are still expected to be calm, to have time to live their lives and have a childhood.

Every year the tests are getting more and more challenging, testing’ students’ capacity for information and stress.  The number of tests and exams is also increasing; some students have said that they’ve had up to 4 tests in a 5 lesson day.  This can be very overwhelming for students as there is always pressure to be able to perform their absolute best in every exam.

To combat this, we could decrease the amount of tests and exams.  In addition, we could also allow more in-class revision for students who do extra-curricular activities or if they simply do not have time for enough revision outside of school on top of everything else.

For more information on how testing and the education system affects students’ mental health you can listen to our ‘Stress and Mental Health in Education’ podcast click on the image below.

Mervy 10K

 

 

SATS: Are we tested too early?

Is SATs unnecessary stress for our infant population?

In the UK, we take our first major tests at the age of 6.  Further tests are taken just before the terror of joining secondary school, at age 11.  There are varied questions and topics that we are tested on, and we are thrown into constant study before we have even reached higher level education.

Some people argue that testing students early on prepares them for revision and exams in later life.  However, when the tests are taken at the age of 6, the children are not expected to use the skills they have gained for another ten years, when they take their GSCE’s.  Many senior students do not even remember taking infant school tests, because they were taken at such an early stage in their lives.

SATs in Year 6 are another matter.  These have often been recognised to lower some students’ self-esteem.  This is because of the scheme introduced by the government which allows some ‘higher level’ students to take more advanced exams.  This poses many issues.  Firstly, the students not taking the higher level exams may feel as if they are not intelligent and not worthy of taking ‘proper’ exams.  Secondly, the students that are taking the higher exams are put under a lot of pressure – when they are given the opportunity to get a higher level score, they may feel as if it is essential that they get this score, which brings on stress and too much disappointment if they don’t achieve the score.  Governments have spoken in the past about how the scores are used for data purposes, but is this the only reason we are doing the tests?

Furthermore, SATs are often labelled as completely unnecessary, because most secondary schools across the UK don’t even take the results into account when setting the children for certain classes.  So, why put them through the stress and pressure of exams when they will not affect our results and opportunities in later life?  In addition, students are often told that our test results in Year 6 will be taken into account for extra-curricular opportunities as well as sets, when this is not true.  SATs are almost pointless due to the government introducing the MidYIS assessment, which most students take upon entering secondary schools.  This is seen as more effective because the students are in secondary education by this time, and therefore the results are more relevant to secondary school opportunities.

So, why did we introduce SATs in the first place, and what is the purpose of them?  They are said to help the teachers understand the students’ strengths and weaknesses and help them to succeed, but since the tests are taken almost at the end of the year. They are also taken (in both Key Stage 1 and 2) at the end of a Key Stage, so the students will have different teachers, who won’t know about the improvements needed on a personal level.  It also seems that some people have recognised the lack of real benefit – Key Stage 3 SATs were abolished not too long ago.

So SATs tests are really something to think about – what’s the real benefit?  Don’t the disadvantages overcome the positives?  Should we get rid of SATs entirely?

How Productions Help Confidence

 

 

Who should pay for Extracurricular Activities?

Should it be the parents, or the government?

Extracurricular activities are crucial to a child’s development – they learn important creative and interesting skills, which most of the time, the schools don’t provide for free. So this leads to the question – who should pay for these activities?

Some people believe that these skills should be paid for completely by parents. After all, a parent does decide where and when their child goes to an extracurricular activity, and who runs the session. Some parents would argue that they lose control over their children as the children would have more choice in what they are doing.

Also, some people may think that the money it would cost the government pay the extracurricular teachers is a waste of money, and the money should be spent on schools up and down the country. They would say that state schools would lose funding, because the government would have to pay for the extracurricular activities.

On the other hand, some people think that the government should pay for this because we are discriminating against the lower income families, because they may not be able to afford to send their children to the extracurricular activities. This means that the children from lower income families may be limited in their creativity and so may be lower performers in school compared to children from higher income families.

Some may also say that this could save our country from the growing problem of childhood obesity. They might say this because if the government provided free exercise classes, children from lower income families would be able to exercise with the children from higher income homes. This may mean that more children can get healthy, and get into a healthy habit that can last them their lifetime.

Others may point out that it would help the coaches and teachers because it would give those more students and them more funding. If people cannot afford to send their children to their club, but would like to, they may be able to if the government makes it free. This can positively impact the family, the child and the club as they would get funding from the government to have the extra child.

However, other people think that the government is doing enough, by giving families on a low income child benefits. This is money given to parents on a low income so they can give their children some help. Some would say that the government gives this money to help send the children to extracurricular activities, and help those children. 

So what do you think about this? Should the government have an obligation to help develop these kids creative side? Or should their parents have a choice in what their child does outside of school? Say what you think and start a discussion with your family and friends.

Emily 9E

School Funding

 

 

Home Learning

 

 

Role Models

 

 

Social Media in Schools

 

 

 

Curriculum Information