School reports - what you like or want to see in them.

(19 Posts)
Fuzzymum1 Mon 08-Apr-13 20:09:35

Our school is considering changing the format of the school report and we as parents have been invited to a meeting to discuss what we would like to have included, what information we would like etc.

Up until now the reports have been fairly traditional, subject by subject with a small passage about what has been covered and a statement something like "x is working at/below/above the level expected for their age. Followed by a bit from both the class and head teachers.

What is included in your school report and what isn't but you would like to have? I'm looking for some ideas to consider before I go to the meeting.

AryaUnderfoot Mon 08-Apr-13 22:06:53

Personally, I would like to know what NC level my child is working at in reading, writing, maths and science. I would like to know the expected level for their year group.

I would also like to see a couple of short sentences (no more) about my child for each of these subject areas and the foundation subjects as a whole. These should be personal. Ideally a strength and a target.

The NC levels help me to understand the 'things' my DC can do. A very quick search on Google (or a generic printout given out with all reports) will tell me what a level 2 for writing looks like. What I really don't want to see is a report that is just an expansion of NC level descriptor statements along the lines of 'Arya jr is starting to be able to describe how an author creates tension in a text'.

From experience in teaching I know that the more a teacher is 'expected' to write, the less personal and more cut-and-paste it becomes. Eventually, one DC's report becomes identical to someone else's in everything but name. Sometimes even they get missed! I remember once seeing a report for a Holly who turned into a Hannah half-way through. At this point the report becomes utterly meaningless.

lisson Mon 08-Apr-13 22:32:31

another vote for NC levels (including sub levels), And, if at all possible, a bit of straight speaking.

On the other hand the list of what the child has studied (e.g. he enjoyed the tudors and took part in guided meditation" ) is almost useless.

maxpower Mon 08-Apr-13 22:38:54

I'd like some information on what dc has achieved and what the next target is. Nc levels don't give enough information on their own.

BlackeyedSusan Mon 08-Apr-13 22:39:35

we only got one sentence for each of the foundation subjects last year. it was not enough. personally i would have found writing just one sentence quite hard as well. space for about 3, but does not need to be filled. (are you listening ht?) (sometimes a child is really good (or bad) at , say art or geography and more needs to be said. other times, well one sentence is enough!) (what does one write for re when you have had them for only half a term before the damn thing needs to be written?) flexible system so that the parent does not feel short changed by a couple of nearly empty boxes!) comments banks are useful, but need to be flexible too otherrwise it is really difficult to write something personal. do not go the way of filling in those little squares to make reports, they are very frustrating.

space for 3 sentences about reading and writing and 1 for s and l with targets for reading and writing (one each) 3 or 4 sentences for maths and science as there are quite a few areas. definitely a target/help at home for maths.

definitely nc levels for reading writing, maths and science. there is a place for the bog standard needs to do statement here

reports for some children are quite similar. if they are working in the same group, they will have covered the same stuff and will be working at similar level.

I want to know about pe as dd struggles and ds has the potential to be quite good, if he stopped screaming and was able to complete a pe lesson without distress

I also don't like the lists of things they've studied - seemed a waste of the poor teacher's time to type that. I did reports when we had to handwrite them, in ink <old gimmer>, so I do sympathise.

I love the comments about the dc's characters, and the little paragraph from the head teacher.

ipadquietly Mon 08-Apr-13 22:49:23

We have quite a high turn around in our school and see lots of school reports - some we like, some we don't.

Anyway, because of this, we always have a new idea, year on year, how to make ours perfect for teachers and parents, using all the good ideas from other schools.

Well, tell you what..... they change every year. Some take ages, some are tick lists that parents hate.

However, last year, we seemed to have reached some kind of compromise that everyone is happy with:
There is a general page to start, with the child's name and a jolly (or not so jolly) paragraph about their year at school.
Page 2 is the maths and english page. This is just a report of the child's work in the year, that will state, in addition to achievement, whether above/at or below expected and whether they're trying hard. Targets are given for these, which are used by the next year's teacher (and therefore not a waste of time).
Page 3 is a set of tables for the other subjects with tick boxes for achievement and effort (well below, below, expected, etc)

They are really easy to write; parents are happy. What more can we want? smile

BlackeyedSusan Mon 08-Apr-13 22:51:49

oh and room for about 5 sentences about attitude/friendships etc. again does not have to be filled but some need more than others.

BlackeyedSusan Mon 08-Apr-13 22:56:49

ahh yes, the days of handwriting reports. a calligraphy pen, nice writing, nice large writing!! oh and the sorrow of having to rewrite if making a mistake near the end. <gets out zimmerfraame>

best reports... bank of statements with the ability to customise. hand written reports only used a bank of statements anyway. a smaller bank of statements that the teacher rmade up.

juniper9 Mon 08-Apr-13 23:54:59

Our reports are about 9 pages each. It's ridiculous. We have to write 300 words for reading, writing and maths, then 500 for topic, 300 for pshe and 500 for general. Takes forever.

I should really start them now...

Squarepebbles Tue 09-Apr-13 07:39:30

Levels,progress,targets,national expectations.

Anything they struggled on or excel in.

Couple of sentences on social aspects.

English,maths and science detail.

A general overview printout of work covered as an extra would be good(haven't a clue what my dc do).

cory Tue 09-Apr-13 09:16:30

What squarepebbles said. Particularly anything they do particularly well or badly and areas they need to work on. Practical suggestions for improvement.

A clamp down on cut and paste phrases like "coryds enjoyed the topic on Victorian schools"- particularly disheartening when you happen to remember that that was the week coryds was off with chickenpox. hmm

Periwinkle007 Tue 09-Apr-13 10:06:10

DD in reception so not had a report before so not really sure.

I suppose I would LIKE to have a bit of a 'achieving well/stuggling with' obviously, levels of things if known, I would quite like to know if she shows particular interest in certain subjects or particular disinterest in something as it will help me understand her school experience.

obviously reception is very different but if she was yr2 for example I would quite like something like

although history is not a subject she enjoys she has tried hard and made progress

or equally

Geography is not a subject that comes easily to her but she shows great enthusiasm

or something like that. mind I suppose lots of parents might not like that but to me if I knew she didn't enjoy a subject then perhaps I could come up with ways to encourage an interest in it out of school. lots of kids could be interested in history if they realised what it was actually about for example.

I would want to know if she was naughty or disrespectful, lazy etc but again I know many people would prefer those to be omitted.

However naturally I am expecting to be told my DD is wondeful, popular with children and teachers and on course to achieve wonderful things grin

Fuzzymum1 Tue 09-Apr-13 10:43:26

Those are all really useful thanks, I'm keen to have NC levels and areas for improvement. I don't need a list of what he's learned about because we talk about it during the year. I would like to know about how hard he tries and what his strengths are.

Periwinkle007 Tue 09-Apr-13 10:55:34

I think those are the key things aren't they Fuzzymum1. Effort, strengths and interests.

My DD is in Y9 and has just been choosing her GCSE options. What I'd have liked at last parents' evening would have been an opportunity to talk with one of her teachers about her choice of options overall, why she was choosing them, where she felt her strengths and interests lay, and any ideas of what she might like to take further at A level and Uni and career ideas. I felt just talking to her individual subject teachers didn't really give the opportunity to look at things broadly enough, or far enough into the future. I'd have liked more opportunity to say that she is particularly enjoying the humanities but also especially interested in biology and the natural world. Some useful and encouraging conversations with geography teacher about environmental sciences and their link between geography and biology, but on the whole most teachers had quite a narrow focus on their own subject. I think a more holistic focus on the child and their interests and strengths is needed, especially at important junctures in their school and life careers.
So, regarding school reports, again more general comments picking out strengths for each student would be helpful I think. ATM general comments seem to focus more on behaviour and overall learning skills, so not quite specific enough I think.

Awizardsstaffhasaknobontheend Tue 09-Apr-13 11:04:28

Am sitting at my kitchen table writing reports as I speak! I like to break the back of them in the Easter hols so later in the year it is simply an editing job.
Ours are like ipadquietly's. Much easier to write than the huge paragraph on everything!

PastSellByDate Thu 11-Apr-13 02:49:12

Hi Fuzzymum1

We get reports like yours (subject by subject breakdown with a paragraph per subject) but gradual parent pressure has meant that the school now includes information on national curriculum levels for parents (which in effect become 'grades') attained for Reading, Writing and Maths.

In part this was because almost everybody (and we do compare notes by the way) got virtually the same report. It was so obviously cut and pasted that it really lost value. There was also a lot of anger in from Y6 parents who had younger pupils in the school, when their Y6 child didn't meet NC Level 4s when all the reports said they were working 'at expected level'.

So as a parent I think incorporating a briefer summary by subject - maybe as a grid with ticks in below/ at/ above expected level for non-NC Level subjects (RE/ history/ D&T etc...) would be fine. I know DD2 made a pencil case and enjoyed it - I don't need to hear it from you and you don't need to spend the time typing it (copying & pasting it) over and over again. Moreover I've had friends get DC enjoyed making a pencil case and they knew DC hated that project, so they just end up feeling the teacher doesn't really know/ notice their child.

I think a brief statement on whether expected progress has been made (e.g. 2 NC sub-levels) in English/ Science/ Maths is essential.

I also think that some honest guidance on what to work on over the summer (areas of weakness) would be appreciated. For example: DC has mastered addition/ subtraction with numbers up to 20 and over the summer we would encourage you to continue to work on this using the games on our class Moodle page/ My maths/ etc... and it may be an idea to try and tackle numbers >20. Games for this can be found on Year Xs class page on Moodle/ My Maths/ etc...

It would be nice to have some suggestions of books to read over the summer. For example: DC has made brilliant progress in Literacy over this year and is now 'free reading'. The list below are some suggestions of appropriate reading level books he might like to check out of a library/ purchase over the summer. Or DC really enjoy books with lots of illustrations and brief text. We encourage you to continue to read this style of book but try to encourage as much sounding out as you can.

If there are genuine struggles for a pupil - why not make solid suggestions on what parents can do over the summer to help 'close the gap'.

BirdyBedtime Thu 11-Apr-13 12:57:50

I would like something that is mostly about my DD, not the current format that we get from our (infant) school on which 2/3 of the text is explaining Curriculum for Excellence domains, levels and assessment. Lst year (P2) it ran to 4 pages but I swear only about 400 words were actually about DD herself. OK, CfE rant over ......

I agree with much of what's already been said, in particular

- is my child achieving as expected for her stage (and to be honest I'd quite like to know where she is on the overall scale in any particular area, although granted this can kind of be worked out by the groups they are working in)
- a clear statement of strengths and honest assessment of weaknesses
- what we, as parents, can do to help adress weaknesses and development
- definitely something about social skills and friendships (eg DD mixes well with her classmates/has a small group of close friends)

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