Rubbish Brain

A recent conversation with a fellow blogger  had me thinking about the pressure young children are under at school.  As a previous school teacher, she found this pressure difficult for both the teachers and young students. I thought about how a 7 year might feel when being asked to sit exams. I live in Scotland so my child doesn’t have to worry about such exams, but if he did he may feel like this:

Can’t I have fun and play as I learn?

All this hard work is causing concern.

Those tests you give me are so confusing

I’m only seven – but already I’m losing.


I don’t care if you have boxes to tick

Can’t you just show me a magic trick?

I can learn about illusion and present to a crowd –

I might be good and for once I’d feel proud!


I see you’re busy – you’re got papers to mark,

I wish you had more time to get me on track.

I’m not a winner and feel bad about that

My work is unfinished and I just feel – flat.


Mum says she’s worried about those grammar schools;

says I won’t get in, if I don’t have the tools.

So in four short years I’ll be tested again

and no doubt be told – I’ve a rubbish brain.


I could be great if you were patient with me.

With such a hurry, I’m afraid you won’t see.

I’ll be pulled apart from my friends who are clever

Labelled as thick – stuck in a box forever.


In England and Wales, children in year 2 (ages 6 and 7) sit Standard Assessment Tests to measure how much progress each child has made over the past few years of schooling.   This has been controversial, as many believe it has a negative impact of childrens’ learning. This Guardian article ‘Sats stress is crushing children’s love of learning’

More recently, our Prime Minister Theresa May, has declared her eagerness to reintroduce Grammar schools. These are schools the brightest students would attend after passing exams at age 11. This suggestion has also proven to be controversial, with many doubting the benefits of such schools.

I’m no expert myself, but I do remember my dad telling me that he and his brother attended different secondary schools. My dad spent most of his childhood in and out of hospitals and missed out on much of his early education. He didn’t get into the grammar school. My uncle did. I often wonder how different his life would be if he hadn’t been ill as a youngster.  Did the testing at a young age hinder his chances? We will never know.

Life Poems

averageisunderrated View All →

Lesa is an average person, living an average life and is moderately happy with her lot. There are peaks of bountiful happiness and pleasure and dips of turmoil and flatness. Lesa doesn’t let life’s set-backs knock her down or think she’s invincible when she achieves greatness. She’s finally realised that nobody is perfect and the purpose of life is to embrace it with all she’s got and to give what she can to others. Oh, and try to have a lot of fun along the way.

Lesa has no idea why she’s writing in the third person; she never does that.

10 Comments Leave a comment

  1. A wonderful poem… As a teacher of 29 years in the elementary level I understand the dilemma. I had a very difficult time in my primary years in school until a teacher in grade 5 showed interest in me and things began to start to click in my brain. You have summed it up very well.
    No time for fun in learning …. Just get the boxes colored in correctly! What are they thinking!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. My son is also 7, and here in the States, we definitely see our fair share of standardized tests to categorize our children. He just completed some tests last week — which will *place* him into a specific learning ability/group. I remember when I had to take similar tests as a child. Fortunately for my time, we still enjoyed school, but it feels as if the strain to assess is sucking anything enjoyable out of the learning experience.

    Unfortunately, I see this becoming more of the norm in higher education as well. At least here in the US.

    Wonderful poem. It makes my heart sick to think what children experience in their learning years these days.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Last month my close friend’s elder son…who was just 13 yrs old only… committed suicide by hanging. He had scored badly in maths in an examination. Scared of his father’s reaction he chose death over life. Peer pressure, pressure to perform in school, high expectations, parents and teacher’s pressure… extremely vast and difficult syllabus is Kipling our children😢. Education ministry is run by people who don’t know ABC of education. The education system preaches holistic approach but expects the kids to be born engineers and doctors from their mother’s womb. Nothing less than 99% is accepted in colleges and schools. The scenario is horrifying…!! My son is in XIIth standard going to face his boards in March. He is expected to solve a 4hrs paper in just 3 hrs by the education system. Extremely lengthy and difficult papers are set. I try to make it less intimidating for him by keeping the pressure less in the house… but am scared all the time… I keep reminding him him that he is more important to me than grades. The grades can go to hell as far as I’m concerned…. but after this suicide incident we are all shaken up. Both the boy and my son were good friends….

      Liked by 1 person

      • The boy is now past all the pain and suffering… It’s the parent’s now… how will they live the rest of their lives… they are devastated. The feeling of guilt…of having failed their child’s confidence… will it ever leave them alone? Life will revolve a big WHAT IF…

        Liked by 1 person

  3. Mine have to take them, too. They sound awful – the kids hate them. We’ve accepted them as part of the deal, and I encourage the kids not to worry about them. In some ways I look at it at the education system trying to meet an expectation at the expense of the kids. So, I try to take away the stress and tell them no pressure – just do what you can. Nice read!

    Liked by 2 people

  4. Lovely poem, Kids needs encouragement and Support, They can’t carry on for long without support. A child of 7 years will always want to have fun because he or she might see others things as tasking, but with the right guide and support they can do just anything. Great poem.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve read all the comments on this post, and feel too overwhelmed to recall what I wanted to say.
    The human race is letting its children down. Is this trend set to continue through the generations?
    What is wrong with us…

    Liked by 1 person

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