Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 December 2014

Transfer test: ‘We can’t wait for all them to be over’

I don't know who was more nervous — Jack, his dad or me.





Saturday morning in our house is usually a very relaxed affair of chilling out over breakfast and watching Saturday morning TV. I was determined that this Saturday was to be no different.

As the clock ticked ever more towards the time to leave for the test centre I could see Jack becoming paler and more agitated in his movements to the point of shaking. I felt like the world’s worst parent watching my son in such a state. How can we do this to our kids?

He was not alone in his fear. At the school gates there were many young pale and frightened faces and parents feeling they were like lambs to slaughter. A few of the children actually experienced panic attacks the night before.

All you can do is calm your child down and reassure them that it will all be OK.

Right up to the point of Jack going in we did say to him that he didn’t have to do it if he didn’t want to and we would support his decision.

He decided to do it and after meeting his peers in the playground before going in I waved goodbye to him as they all walked in together, united in apprehension and the twisted comfort of all being in the same boat together.

When Jack emerged from the classroom there was still that look of a rabbit caught in headlights but with more colour in his cheeks.

He said: “It wasn't as bad as I thought it would be and was easier than expected.”

Throughout the rest of the day the conversations would occasionally turn to the test but for now, as I write, the house is filled with laughter and fun as Jack carries on with his friends as if nothing happened. But I do catch him with a wee distant look on his face and know that he is thinking about the next test.

We all can't wait for this to be over so we can get back to normal and my child can get on with being a child.

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