VERITY LUSH: All of this stress - just to provide a set of statistics

Sleep is crucial to human healthSleep is crucial to human health
Sleep is crucial to human health
My eldest daughter will have taken her SATs by the time this goes to print.

As a teacher and parent, I think these tests are an unnecessary stress on youngsters.

The fact that I’d probably struggle with the maths myself speaks volumes about whether or not we should be putting our children through this tosh.

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The best part of this demoralising exercise is that, if your kids don’t pass, they get to sit them again in Year 7.

Because terrifying them for the whole of Year 6 with SATs-speak simply isn’t enough.

Let’s do it again and call out the poor blighters who didn’t happen to pass some tests that plenty of parents wouldn’t pass either.

There are numerous studies that show the effect of stress on the brain and the effect of stress on our thinking skills.

Usually we go blank.

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Many of us will recall that sensation from our own school days, or indeed if we’re put on the spot now.

Names, places, or numbers that would normally come to us with ease suddenly disappear. This is stress.

We expect stress in our own adult world of finances and work and health issues.

We do not expect stress – or should not – when we are young children.

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Kids need competition and they need to be ambitious and try their hardest, but that can be taught in far more pleasant ways then having to spend much of your early schooling hearing the term ‘SATs’ being bandied about and knowing that the pressure is on you to perform.

As I’ve said to my daughter many times recently, nobody is ever going to ask her: ‘And what did you get in your SATs when you were 11?”

She’s put a huge amount of effort into preparing for these tests, and her school have excelled in building her confidence in maths, which was her weaker area.

But nothing can detract from the fact that all of this is essentially for nothing. Except providing statistics for the government.

Stressed teachers, stressed kids and stressed parents.

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Isn’t there enough pressure awaiting our kids in secondary school?


By the time you read this, the BBC will have aired its much-advertised documentary about sleep.

Various studies have shown how crucial sleep is to human health.

It allows the brain to literally detoxify itself whilst we slumber, and an optimum amount is needed in order to function properly.

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However, during most health-related Gladiators with big sticks and

some seven-foot high walls, whilst extolling the ways in which to combat all of the things that are bad for us and lead to high blood pressure, strokes, heart attacks and so forth, nobody seems to mention the leading cause of sleep deprivation, exhausted comfort eating and high blood pressure.

And what is that cause? Your offspring. The tiny sleep-stealing militants of our very own making.


A friend and I have entered the Gauntlet Games obstacle race in Winchester and are set to run today.

It seemed like a fabulous plan at the time of entering.

‘Let’s be sporty at 40’ we chortled.

‘It’ll be fun,’ we said.

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But that was all before we realised there’d be men dressed as gladiators prodding us with sticks.

And before the company running it published the map of 19 (gaaah) obstacles. Some of which appear to be seven-foot high walls that one is supposed to run at, cling to, then leap on to and over. Hmmm.

The run is in aid of Naomi House Children’s Hospice. If you’d like to donate, then you can look online at

Wish us luck...

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