could a teacher 'translate' this report for me pls?

(24 Posts)
tombakerscarf Wed 18-Dec-13 12:07:16

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Whobody Wed 18-Dec-13 13:53:19

Well, it all sounds very positive and like your son is trying hard. Although its not really written well enough for a parent to fully understand IMHO.

However my concern is that you think this doesn't reflect your son's abilities and that is a problem. I would be wondering how the teacher has come to these conclusions and what evidence he has to support these? Otherwise I would worry that he doesn't know your son at all.

It reads like the teacher is trying to be very positive and upbeat and focus on his good points. Do you have targets listed for him to work on from the report?

tombakerscarf Wed 18-Dec-13 14:22:34

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Whobody Wed 18-Dec-13 16:51:39

I understand, as to me it felt a bit impersonal like the teacher has just lifted stock phrases out of the national curriculum. I would expect examples, which it would appear you got with your other child's report. I'm surprised they are such different reports as usually all reports are read through by the head before they are sent to parents (well, where I worked anyway).

Its no good if he is really unhappy and having other problems and these aren't mentioned or addressed. If I were you I would go and see the teacher to discuss the report with a list of questions you have. Keep the channel of communication open with the teacher to try and solve/improve your son's experience and support in school.

Are you able to move schools if you feel you need to?

Neverhere Wed 18-Dec-13 16:59:18

The first part (literacy and numeracy) look to have been pulled from an assessment software (he will have entered what X has achieved this term and it randomly picks stock phases to match) they don't really tell much (except maybe his knowledge of times tables has been over estimated!) the general comments are looking for positives - if you have been meeting with his teacher regarding the other issues - he shouldn't have to repeat it here - he is trying to show the good in X. If not then you need to arrange a meeting. We say that reports shouldn't be a surprise at our school. If we've had issues we will have already caught/rang adult to discuss before report goes out - I do try to make my personal comments part a little more child specific than that but sometimes after 25 reports your mind goes a bit blank!

SatinSandals Wed 18-Dec-13 17:11:21

I would say it is a 'cut and paste' job. It all seems pretty meaningless to me and not something that I would want to receive.

tombakerscarf Wed 18-Dec-13 21:04:49

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Whobody Wed 18-Dec-13 21:38:55

What do they mean its not necessary??? If you asked to speak to the teacher and want to speak to the teacher then it is bloody necessary. What a cheek! I would ask again and not take no for an answer if you want to speak to them about it. I would be fuming...

giddywithglee Wed 18-Dec-13 21:49:38

I'd insist on a meeting to talk about it. I'm not surprised that teachers cut and paste reports (a teacher I know told me recently that if they do all the admin Gove insists on it equates to a 35 hour week. Which doesn't leave a lot of time for teaching), but you should be able to go in and discuss any concerns you have about your child.

SatinSandals Wed 18-Dec-13 22:40:22

Of course it is necessary if you think it is!
Go back and say that it is necessary to you.

greenfolder Thu 19-Dec-13 06:48:23

I had this with middle dd. My only regret is that I didn't take her to an educational psychologist sooner. As soon as I did (yr6) I found out that she was off the scale (more than 16 yrs) for things like verbal reasoning but had practically no working memory and processing problems. It helped us both enornomously to understand that.

MillyMollyMama Thu 19-Dec-13 08:55:24

It is interesting that the teacher says he is working well in group situations. Are you sure he is so unhappy? The report is one of these cut and paste type ones and impersonal. I am wondering if the school sees a different side to your child who the teacher has described as "enthusiastic" and "reliable". This does not sound like the miserable boy you describe so there seems to be a mismatch of opinion here. You should have a meeting about the report but I think you will need evidence that your DS is so unhappy because the teacher does not appear to be seeing this. I would also ask for TA time to help with his literacy needs in particular, but I would be wary of going in too hard when you are not present in the classroom.

MillyMollyMama Thu 19-Dec-13 08:57:30

Is this a state or independent school? Sounds very standoffish!

DeWe Thu 19-Dec-13 09:58:21

The thing is with current reports they are usually set out to sound very positive. So they put what "he can" rather than what he can't.
So a report might say "he has mastered counting to 10!" But not mention that the rest of his form is counting to 1000000 and beyond and doing advanced algebra.
It isn't really the teachers glossing over, more that is how they seem to be written nowadays.
Problem is now, as parents who aren't teachers, it can leave you totally at sea as to whether they're going to be top or bottom or neither. I have seen soem parents with egg on their faces through this.

I don't think they'd mention bullying either. I mean if they were writing the report for the bully it would probably look something along the lines of: "X is improving with his empathy of people who he disagrees with, and must continue to work with this." Which roughly translated as X hasn't been caught directly bullying in the last 2 hours. wink

They tend to write negatives as positives or targets. So you'd get for him not joining in along the lines of either:
"X is showing signs of improvement in his reluctance to join in with the rest of the class, and has put his hand up to answer questions twice in the last week"
or
"Target: X needs to focus on interacting with the rest of the class. He needs to put his hand up when he knows the answer."

I think from what you say, it might be helpful to talk to the SENCO. If he's a year behind, I would think that is perfectly reasonable.

tombakerscarf Thu 19-Dec-13 14:26:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

greenfolder Thu 19-Dec-13 16:20:35

School reports not worth paper they are written on in my experience. If I had my time over I would have home schooled dd for at least a couple of years. I found repition helps. So going through and over maths from the basics helps. Getting him to give verbal answers to homework and recording or write them down yourself so he can see his abilities

ChrisV Fri 20-Dec-13 11:17:47

I teach adults and much older kids, but I think this report is still written in my dialect of officialese. ;)

I agree with others that these are mostly stock phrases, derived from official guidelines and probably delivered via software, a cut-and-paste file on the shared drive, tick boxes, a template Word document or something along the same lines. In general, the statements are designed to (a) look positive, probably in accordance with guidelines, (b) avoid possible legal action against the school and (c) avoid irate moms taking a battering ram to the front door. This report style isn't, in all likelihood, the teacher's fault, but rather a consequence of an institutional culture that you can find pretty much everywhere in modern education in the UK.

Translation:

Some of the statements are saying that X is having difficulty. For example, ‘During collaborative activities, X is working hard to channel his undoubted enthusiasm and creative ideas into useful large group contributions’ actually means something like, ‘Concerning X’s ability to work in groups, X does not usually make contributions that are useful.’ ‘Not useful’ may be code for ‘I don’t see him making contributions at all’ or for ‘he makes contributions that I judge to be insufficient/off-topic/inappropriate/etc.’ The reference to ‘enthusiasm’ would make me guess the latter is somewhat more likely, but you’ll probably know which one fits. More generally, the references to enthusiasm and creativity could just be a bit of meaningless positive padding to blunt the negative message, but could also be code for ‘I like your child despite the fact that I can’t give him a (genuinely) positive evaluation.’ It could, however, also mean that the child seems over-active in class and that the teacher has trouble keeping him under control.

Many of the other statements are just filler can-do phrases. You can only interpret them by looking at the national standards for X’s age, remembering that such standards are a low bar and that a normally developing child in a good educational environment should probably be one year up on those, and ask yourself, ‘What things is X supposed to be able to do at this age that the report isn’t saying X can do?’

But, anyway, the main issue is, yes, it looks like X needs a move, and maybe a drastic one (how viable is home schooling, for example?). It may be that the traditional school system simply isn’t designed in such a way that it can help your son. I’ve been in his shoes. In school, I was bullied, badly underdeveloped in terms of social skills (the two interact a lot), and failed every year up until my middle secondary years. Educationally, I turned out OK in the end—I just finished a PhD at Cambridge—but that was definitely in spite of my schooling rather than because of it, and if I could change one thing about my childhood, it would be getting me out of the traditional educational system at as young an age as possible.

Of course, moving a child out of the traditional education system is easier said than done, and it may not be possible for X, or the financial consequences of such a move and the effect they would have on X's life might outweigh the benefits. In that case, then I think the answer is to select the school with the best value-added performance scores and the most empathetic teachers you can find (look for anything that seems to suggest empathy in HMIE reports), and supplement his education (including his social skills) as much as possible at home. I think it’s also very important to make sure that X knows on a sub-conscious level that you’re on his side, that you know he’s smart and a wonderful person, and that the problem is with the school system, not him.

tombakerscarf Fri 20-Dec-13 12:20:43

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ChrisV Fri 20-Dec-13 15:51:30

Sounds like your little guy has a wonderful mind that will enrich his life in adulthood, and that he just needs lots of support, love, guidance & home supplementation while he navigates a school system that isn't really set up for kids like him.

teachersaspirations Sun 22-Dec-13 11:21:14

what a nice last comment

tombakerscarf Mon 23-Dec-13 19:23:27

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ohdofeckorf Sun 29-Dec-13 00:45:57

I'm Late as always but tombaker my Ds was moved into another class 3 months into YR 1, he then remained in the same class for YR 2 and BOTH end of year reports are identical.

chrisV smile

tombakerscarf Sun 29-Dec-13 10:36:19

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tombakerscarf Sun 29-Dec-13 10:39:59

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