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Reports....what do parents want and need to see

(28 Posts)
happymerryberries Sat 02-Jul-05 13:02:14

I have just spent an age writing school reports, and will spend most of tomorrow proof reading and ammending them!

I have to use the schools report structure.

This is an honest request, what do parents want in a report?

We have to be positive in all the reports, so I cannot describe a child as being 'disruptive' (not talking SN here these kids are NT), even if they are wrecking their chances of an education.

If you child was having problems how honest would you want a school to be? (and we are talking honest and helpful not honest and snide IYSWIM)

Pixiefish Sat 02-Jul-05 13:04:43

hmb- if a child is disruptive i say so- try to put it in with a positive comment and try to say it in a ok sort of way but if we don't tell the parents... personally i'd want to know if dd was naughty

happymerryberries Sat 02-Jul-05 13:08:25

We have to write 'XXX is a lively student who can work well when he chooses to do so'

Now with my parent hat on I would not read that as XXX is wrecking his education with his disruptive behavior. This just seems to be a bonkes way of carrying things out

ScummyMummy Sat 02-Jul-05 13:12:01

Hi hmb. Mine are only 6 so I don't know if this is transferable to secondary.

But I basically want simple and honest- what is my child doing well? What does my child need to improve on? What strategies can I use to help?

If my child was having problems I would want them highlighted honestly. I think tone is important though- I would want to know that the staff had my child's best interests at heart and was willing to work with me and my child to improve the situation.

QueenZebra Sat 02-Jul-05 13:15:13

Sheesh, hmb, maybe you should just write out the words you really want to use, and ask the school for a translation sheet into "acceptable" phrasing?!

What if you had a section, "Constructive things that XXXX could do differently to improve their school achievement?"

Or... "Doing A - B -- C -- would be very helpful to XXXX's progress"

Personally I'd be quite happy with blunt & fair honesty about my child, e.g., if my child is disruptive I want to know so I can do something about it.

Judging from how people react to many of the things I say on MN, though, honesty and simple factual assessment is definitely not welcome for some or maybe many people.

happymerryberries Sat 02-Jul-05 13:15:58

Honest in the childs best interstest would be my view as well, but I have to go by the rules! Its all a bit daft tbh

SenoraPostrophe Sat 02-Jul-05 13:42:24

I can see why they have the rule, but like all UK bureaucracy they've gone too far with it.

I remember getting a report for games that just said "effort C - could try harder" and it just completely put me off games. The thing was, it just wasn't true - I had really tried that term, but was in a class of amazons who managed to win the county hockey league despite there being less than 30 girls in the whole year.
(it still affects me now, as you can see).

So what I'm trying to say is that bad reports can affect morale, but that doesn't mean you shouldn't say anything bad at all - that's silly. Can't you use any "should"s? "xxx is very lively and works well when he chooses to do so. He should do so more often". Or even "x is very lively, but has not submitted enough work for me to comment on his abilities" (which would be acceptable as an employment reference - another area where you can't be negative).

Twiglett Sat 02-Jul-05 13:45:00

mine are not in school yet but I can't help feeling I'd want to know the truth ..I would definitely want to know if my child was being disruptive or anything else negative with a potential solution that 'xxx can be a disruptive influence and we aim to address this through xx, yy, zz'

Twiglett Sat 02-Jul-05 13:46:25

"lively" does not mean "disruptive" IMHO

lively means .. a real pat on the back liveware with energy and enthusiasm

hate how we sugar-coat things I think its time parents grew up and took responsibility

(I say this as a pre-school mummy)

potty1 Sat 02-Jul-05 16:17:50

hmb - I would like the truth warts and all. However if my child was seriously disruptive I wouldn't be happy to hear about it on his end of term report. I would have hoped that the school would be in touch sooner to put me in the picture. Ds's secondary school use this numbers thing 1-4 where one is acheiving over and above and 4 is v.bad. Its OK to have a mark in that way but there are rarely any personal comments which I think is a huge shame. I realise that it increases the teachers' workload, but surely one comment per child from the form tutor wouldn't be too onerous.

rummum Sat 02-Jul-05 16:45:17

As a parent I think that the school reports that we get are a waste of time... ** has enjoyed our topics this term.... it could be written about anyone....

I would like to see all their test results for that year so we can see any improvement, and maybe their position in the class?? and the general comments from the teacher


dramaqueen72 Sat 02-Jul-05 16:51:21

yes, exactly rummum, I want to see how dd is doing, how shes finding the subject, where abouts in the class she comes, if the teacher thinks she needs more help, if i should 'push' her anywhere...what i actually get is lots of 'this term we studied the seaside, pupils enjoyed a day out, dd found it very interesting...' wtf is that? i dont really care what they studied in each subject, just how she did, how i can help, if theres a problem etc. oh dont get me started, -dds report is due home next week and I just know i will learn very little about her and her abilities from it.

tiffini Sat 02-Jul-05 17:09:54

Quite simply, I would just want the truth, no matter how disheartening, How else are problems supposed to be dealt with and hopefully rectified

happymerryberries Sat 02-Jul-05 17:10:39

Position in calss is now a big no-no!

Doesn't stop the kids working it out though!

RTKangaMummy Sat 02-Jul-05 17:18:07

why why oh why can't we know how well they do in voluntary SATS for year 5.

It drives me mad all the secrets about it.

Why can't we know how well they are doing comapared to last year?

flobbleflobble Sat 02-Jul-05 17:21:23

Perhaps put in "particular areas to concentrate on"
- focusing on own work and not distracting others
- putting up hand before speaking
- treating others with respect both physically & verbally

and also put in a list of the child's strengths to balance this a bit.

But agree with others that if a child is disruptive then it would be best if the teacher discussed this with the parents in person before the end of term. If parents and teacher have a good dialogue then the end of term report shouldn't be particularly necessary IMO - but my child is in reception, so I have no real experience so far of receiving a report!

It's interesting to hear about things from a teachers POV - and you must be a pretty good one to be asking from parents what they want !

happymerryberries Sat 02-Jul-05 17:23:41

There shouldn't be a probelm with letting parent know how there are relative to last year (vital imho).

Much as I would love to know where my two are in the class (cos I'm nosey and want to know I've got two little einseins! ha!!!) That doesn't help them progress. But I do need to know how they are doing compared to last year.

We are working towards give parents NC grades each year, So 'Your dd is currently working at 4.4, by next year we feel she should be at x.x'

RTKangaMummy Sat 02-Jul-05 17:40:15

Thanks HMB We will wait with baited breath to see what we get then

happymerryberries Sat 02-Jul-05 17:45:36

Sorry RT, that is in the school I work in! Sorry to mislead. I'm just your bog standard classroom teacher! I don't get to make the big decisions

RTKangaMummy Sat 02-Jul-05 17:47:50

ok HMB it is good to know that others are allowed to see them anyway

coppertop Sat 02-Jul-05 19:10:19

I would definitely want to know if ds1 was having problems at school. He's just had his first school report and I liked the way his teacher had set out specific target areas for him to work on. It not only tells parents where their child is having difficulties but also gives them something positive that they can do to help. I suppose setting individual targets is probably a lot more time-consuming though if you are writing 200 reports instead of 30.

rummum Sat 02-Jul-05 19:27:00

In my experience the school reports tell you what your child can do... they wait till parents evening to give you the bad news of what your child can't do...

Ruth21 Sat 02-Jul-05 19:46:31

dramaqueen, do you really not care what your child studies, but only how well they are doing at it? I find that really sad, and if I were a teacher I'd find it depressing. How can you help your kids learn if you don't care what they're learning about??? How can you expect them to value learning if the message they get from you is the only thing that matters is how well they do? (Sorry if I'm misinterpreting, was just a bit by your post.)

Gobbledigook Sat 02-Jul-05 19:50:55

OMG, I'm dreading this - ds1 doesn't start school till Sept but if they are only going to tell me nice things and not be honest it's going to really wind me up.

I want the full and honest truth tbh.

What is happening to the world - it's gone soft with all this 'noone can fail' business. Pah.

SueW Sat 02-Jul-05 22:47:22

I think I know where dramaqueen is coming from. We get a massive report from DD's school but almost every subject starts with: This year in xxx we have covered yyy and zzz, etc, etc.

Thing is, I know all this cos they send out a letter at the beginning of the year telling us what they will cover. And once you get the report, it's in the past so you can't really help cos it's too late to swot up on say the Vikings!

So I always skip reading the first para of each page and go to the second where it tells me about my child and how she's coped with it and what she should do to improve e.g. for reading they have suggested increasing the range of books, for swimming needs to increase stamina, for athletics needs to increase power with throwing, for music more frequent practice, etc.

If they are going to summarise for the whole class, I'd like to have it covered in a separate sheet. And the report I found most annoying was the one where the teahcer was obviously ticking the NC boxes e.g. can tell time on the hour, half past, 1/4 to, 1/4 past when I knew DD could tell you if it was 27 mins to or that 14.33 was the same as 2.33pm.

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