Superficially they might seem to carry the same message - and they do, but it's not the one you might think.
Sadly the underlying problem here, that virtually all parents are complicit in, is the nurturing of excessively high expectations. The modern trend to quantify, assess, regulate and scrutinise is highly commendable in many respects, but we have lost our privacy, spontaneity, professionalism, confidence and resilience in the process. It goes without saying that there is no privacy in today's world. But the insidious consequence of looking too hard and knowing too much is a vortex of expectation escalation. "Can do better" is expected, because surely everyone can always improve? But if improvement is always possible, what is preventing the best being achieved? Thus the tinkering of the system persists, because there must be a way to do better, something much surely be "wrong"? But this perfection aspiration is killing our schools and stifling our children. Sometimes, the best is just not enough.
The best is not enough for our children's futures, for their development, their mental health. Children need to be allowed to find their way in the world - to make mistakes, learn at their own pace and have their needs met. Qualifications have their place and matter hugely at some point, but life is not - and should never be - a conveyor belt. We are selling a whole generation short because we want the best for them. Our expectations have exceeded what is healthy, our hopes are destroying the professional environment our children learn in, and we are too involved what goes on inside that environment.
Of course that's not to say excellent should not be fostered and encouraged - merely not expected. It's a little known fact that excellence is usually a natural corollary of happiness, motivation and experimentation. Of independent learning spontaneously generated without target setting or moderation. We have lost our faith in ourselves and our children, let alone our schools and it's painful to see! In every one of my four children I have seen their best work done when no one was looking - for fun, because they felt like it, because it mattered to them. And almost never because the thumbscrews were on and a test was on the horizon! But today we seem so utterly terrified kids won't perform without excessive planning, moderation and assessment that not only our teachers but our children are losing their enthusiasm, creativity and confidence.
This process started many years ago. My generation have had to endure being told how to parent, how to prepare their children for school, how to nurture. We've had our self confidence crushed from the start, prey to the notion that parenting is not instinctively felt. We've had governments even try and remove basic parental rights, and erode the rights of the family within the judicial system and Big Government become Big Brother in an attempt to reform - and insidiously control. Advice on just about every stage of parenting comes thick and fast - and changes as often as the weather. Blessed with the immediacy of social media everyone (and anyone) with an opinion wades in with a disproportionately strong voice, and somewhere - underneath it all, are those struggling to find their own way amongst the cacophony.
I've never been one to follow the crowd. I care deeply what others think, but rarely do something merely because everyone else does. I have in the past though, afraid I would somehow make the wrong decision. My eldest started nursery school at 2, since I was desperate to secure his place and everyone else was doing the same. It was a massive mistake - because everyone else was not MY child, who was not ready. I learned a hard lesson then, and it took several years for him to find his feet. I've said many times that all four of my kids learned at hugely different rates, and never since have I pushed them to meet targets. Indeed it's been hugely liberating watching my "square peg" do his own thing, plot his own course and begin to emerge further on than I had ever dreamed possible. But he had to do it his way, in his own time. He is my wonderful failure - in every single Primary School assessment or test ever devised and ever taken. He is living proof that beyond tracking an individual child's progress assessments are utterly meaningless.
So before you judge your child's school, teachers, curriculum, or hope for even one second that they will come top or get the best marks in their SATS - remember that "Good enough", IS good enough. And often, it's much better than the best. And the *only* target any healthy four year old should be aiming for is dream fulfilment - and by that I mean being a superhero and riding unicorns.