Obviously, this letter is to anyone who should happen to read it.
But it is particularly to those nameless, faceless oafs that dictate how and when and, precisely, what my children learn.
This does not include their beloved teachers, who know them well, but a heap of people they will never meet.
Yes, I’m talking to you, and I have a few questions.
What do you hope to achieve, exactly?
Why must you focus so rigidly on attainment?
Why do levels and scores matter to you oh so much?
Are you ever curious about the lives behind the names on your precious test papers?
Here is one such life – one face, one name.
When I put her to bed this evening she cried because she cannot recall all of her times tables.
As an aside, I cannot recall them all and I am 28 years old.
This is the same child who, at the age of four years and eleven months, within a few weeks of starting school, told me that she thought she may need glasses because she could not yet read properly.
My daughter is an able student, and one who truly loves to learn, yet she is suffering in confidence as a result of current educational guidelines.
She is at risk of losing her thirst for knowledge because she struggles under the pressure of getting things right.
Things like sums and spellings and handwriting.
Things that shouldn’t matter to a seven year old.
Surely a willingness to try trumps a robotic correct answer every time?
A student who is happy and confident is better off than one with good grades but no enthusiasm, right?
Presently, my daughter still wants to explore and learn and find out more for herself.
But I am left wondering just how many more tests it will take to extinguish this desire?
Instead of drilling her with times tables and spellings until she can repeat them back to me, with a numb mind and a heavy heart, I would like to focus on what drives her to acquire more knowledge.
I am interested in what interests her.
And I care about the things she can already do, regardless of any test result.
Would you like to hear more about what makes my daughter brilliant?
My daughter can empathise; she is full of love and kindness. When David Bowie died she wrote a letter to his family expressing her sadness at their loss.
My daughter can cartwheel; she is packed with energy and athleticism. Every day after school she and her brother can be found climbing trees and racing round parks.
My daughter can solve problems; she sparkles with tenacity and curiosity. When faced with a dilemma, I now find myself asking her advice because of the wonderful way in which her mind works.
My daughter questions everything; she is bubbling with confidence and not afraid to stand up for her rights and beliefs.
My daughter can bake a cake and ride a bike and she gives the best hugs.
My daughter can do a hundred things that your test papers fail to quantify.
And I refuse to let her lose these qualities. If she lives to be 100 and never knows her times tables or how to write joined up or how to spell “tricky” words, I will be happy and proud.
So long as she also remembers to never become the type of arsehole that makes small children doubt that they are anything other than wonderful.
Because that, to me, is an epic fail.
Maybe not of SATs, but at life.
Thank you for reading.