I managed to find a kindly Bee who stayed still long enough for my ancient mobile phone to crank its focus into operation. Let’s call the little fella – Stanley. Let’s hope Stanley is safely tucked up in a dry bed. Within an hour of the photo the heavens opened and it’s pouring down. Two days before our kids break up and the weather threatens to go distinctly wet. Every year it seems to be a dry and warm spell for the last few weeks of term and then ….. Perfect timing.

I wonder if Stanley is any good at explaining the year end school report. In my day you got a little report with a hand written note for each subject with a grade from A to E. A meant that you were either the Headteachers illegitimate child or you had discovered a new chemical element. E stood for ‘Dads going to kill you when he reads this’. We only had one teacher but she changed her handwriting for each subject – maybe that was to make the school look like it had so much more teaching resources. The teacher comments had an Orwellian edge to them. Looking back at the reports you can see such classic comments for me as

Like most of the class he could do better.

He is a really good goalkeeper but he has quite small hands.

His attitude in Biology has been excellent only let down by him being sick over the teacher during a taste testing experiment.

He has absolutely no aptitude in French but he is keen.

His Space Rocket painting was so good it was displayed in the local library. But he needs to be much quicker and not just paint rockets.

I never had the heart to tell the teacher that it wasn’t a space rocket – it was a fishing boat. Even my art career was based on a lie…..

One of the most understated teacher comments was for a lad in our class who lived 3 doors down from us. The teacher said of his behaviour – ‘he has largely behaved himself with one or two blips’. Blips – the kid got arrested for burning down the village hall and trying to start a fire under the headteachers desk…

Anyway we move forward many years. Even after several coffees I haven’t the foggiest what our sons report is telling me. No helpful comments for each subject. These have been replaced by an apparently random set of grade letters and numbers – 5B 6A 4C …. No code explanations are provided. Is it just me being thick….. You also get an expected performance level at the end of the Key Stage. Bizarrely the subject he is best at gets the lowest performance level. It does feel like the report is more an instrument for meeting Government Targets rather than helping the child or parents. He also got 4 commendations including one which is not a subject taught in his year (we think Business Studies is probably Science). Must say that his really nice Form Tutor included some lovely comments – such a shame she is leaving.

I’ve given up trying to understand the report. Tomorrow I might phone the school up for help or I might just go and find Stanley. Speaking to Stanley will be far less embarrassing. Good job parents don’t get end of year reports.

49 thoughts on “School report

  1. Yes, that is confusing. I thought mine was difficult in understanding the language of what exactly they were evaluating. Apparently my kids are not taking enough risks in their learning. I am sure someone knows what this means – but coming from me – I wouldn’t either. I would do what was told of me. I liked the blips too 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I understand the confusion. When I was in school it was A, B, C, D. With T the reports come home with #’s-once I was able to equate the number to the letter (it goes backwards to me 4=A, 3=C, etc. Still confused most times though. Funny first two semesters T struggled but his grades were good. Except french. Then at end of school year after a semester of finding his stride his grades went down except for french which went up. No rhyme no reason that is all I can say.

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  3. Ben doesn’t get report cards, we just have the yearly IEP (independent education plan) meeting where his mama and I sit at a conference table with about ten people and they tell us whether he has met his goals or not. Why they always include a teacher from what would be his grade level if he was an average kid, I’ll never know, unless it’s to point out how far behind he is.
    Don’t be embarrassed! They make things look complicated on purpose to keep you from asking questions. The education system here in the US is all about teaching kids to take tests. I’ve heard it’s not much better in UK.
    Good luck!🍀

    Liked by 1 person

  4. You and your ‘ancient’ phone are starting to put me to shame, Sir – that photograph is truly magnificent; I’m jealously green right now! :mrgreen:

    I’m around your ‘grade’; A was Teacher’s Pet, F was ‘See you next year – A-Gain!’ Modern reports might as well be written in swahili. Are you sure they gave your son the right report? If they can get a subject name wrong how hard can it be to get his name wrong?? Or mistake him for Colleen Smith, the Irish lass with only one arm?

    A fishing boat space rocket???? That says it all about ‘Art’ teachers. 😦

    Stanley is definitely the better bet if you want an intelligent response to a question about ‘Education’

    I learned all i know from the Birds and the Bees! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  5. You are not alone in being baffled. There is so little to go on of any sense in modern reports. I long for a hand-written note with a grade we all understand, but know it will not be forthcoming.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. As a retired educator I feel your pain. My last year of teaching, my principal invited me to join her on a committee to revise the district progress reporting system (not report cards). We began learning about research based best practice in progress reporting (as opposed to “grades”). We had input through choices that were, I felt, predetermined through the articles and books we were asked to read. Basically, I think we were led to the final progress report (not grades) that would become active the next year. I would not be there to see it implemented.

    The new reporting system did basically what you described. Each subject reflected a progression toward the national standards and student performance in relation to that progress level. The representation of a child’s progress was almost like a dot on a line. Oh, look how far your child still has to go this year! As a retired teacher, I can tell you that we were just as frustrated with all grading systems as parents are. How does a teacher explain to a parent on a single piece of paper all that she has learned about that child? All his or her strengths? For some parents, knowing how close or far a child is from national standards is important. For others it is disheartening.

    Teachers would also like Stanley’s help I believe. (Sorry I got longwinded)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. From the teacher perspective, I’m not surprised. When a teacher has hundreds of students, they try to streamline the evaluation process as much as possible. Of course, this means there’s almost no helpful feedback. 😦

    On a more pleasant note, your bit about Stanley reminded me of the Monty Python bit about Harold the Half a Bee. 🙂


      1. We still don’t know what class son will be in next term. A number of teachers want him to move up to higher classes but dyslexic kids are usually kept in bottom set. So nit sure which teachers he will have so we just can’t plan ahead. I really hope it works out for you. It would be one big worry eased a bit for you. The boys really deserve that support from school.

        Liked by 1 person

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