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Sunday, 1 June 2014

End of Year Pupil Reports

I have, like teachers all around the country spent a fair bit of the Whit break writing my pupils end of year reports. Like a lot of those teachers I am sure, I have also been pondering whilst writing these reports.... What and who do they inform? What should they say or not say? Should they be 100% truthful? Should some things be implied or be obvious because they are not said?

It seems that even this, if we are honest, the most basic and traditional part of a teachers role does not come without guidance:

Documents published by the Standards and Testing Agency (STA) set out Assessment and Reporting Arrangements (ARA) for KS 1, 2 and 3. These include details of what must be reported to parents, each year and at the end of the Key Stage, in line with the Regulations.

Each of the documents says a report must cover the pupil's:
  • Achievements
  • General progress
  • Attendance record
The following results, where appropriate should be included:
  • Results of any National Curriculum tests, by level
  • Results of any public examinations, by subject and grade
  • Details of vocational qualifications
The documents also include information on:
  • Reporting the progress of pupils with special educational needs (SEN)
  • Reporting on pupils’ progress in religious education 
All of these facts can be reported via a list of results set against end of year national age related expectations and would produce a report that contained the things shown in the Wordle below:



For lots of schools and some parents I am sure this is enough, a basic, stating the bare facts assessment of the pupils academic achievement for the year. But as I sit here writing my own reports I cannot help but think that as a parent (actually a grandparent now) What I want to know looks a lot more like this:

 

I would want to know how they worked within a group, if they were polite, kind, honest, worked hard, had fun, showed emotional intelligence as well as academic intelligence, if they were fair, respectful, showed resilience etc. All of the characteristics that they will need throughout life but also the ones that tell me if you actually know my child, if you really know them. 

Results count, I know that, but they are not the be all and end all of life. There are a lot more important things that we as educators have not only taught but have witnessed throughout the year that the parents would like to know but don't show up in a set of test results.

Reporting on these things is also a bit of a minefield, it is all too easy to fall into the 'he/she sometimes can' , they could try harder at .... negative reporting but I always try to remember the parent and child reading the report together, or more often I think of the child as an adult reading back on their report. What would they want to see then? What do you think when you look back at your primary school reports? 

This all puts a really different slant on things and a whole different type of pressure as a report writer. It is a responsibility putting something down on paper that a pupils parent really cares about now but also what that pupil will care even more about when they are an adult.

So go forth and write and I, in true dramatic fashion, beseech thee to cast thine own mind back to thine own childhood and ............ write with the type of honesty you either had reported about you and maybe miss out some of the things you wished hadn't been reported. Don't look back on reports you have written yourself and think 'Could have done better' because your pupils and indeed your country need you!