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School report - but no idea how dd is doing

(48 Posts)
SunshineYellow Tue 14-Jul-09 11:32:07

I got the end of term report last week for my dd1, who is in Yr 1. It has a paragraph of text under each subject and is two pages of A4 long. However, it doesn't tell me how she is doing iykwim!
I want to know whether she is doing what she should be for her age, or is behind or ahead. However the report just says things like 'dd1 knows place value to 100' and 'dd1 reads for meaning and is on Purple level in the reading scheme'. It also describes what they did for the year 'dd1 enjoyed our trip to Highdown Farm' and 'dd1 learned about how plants grow'. It also says she has made 'good progress - but from what to what!!
I wasn't expecting grades, and don't need to know where she is in the class, but would like an idea of whether she is where she should be at the end of Yr 1. Is this strange of me? Why do you think the school don't make it clearer?

noonar Tue 14-Jul-09 11:35:13

dd2 is in reception and i got a quite a few helpful statements saying things like 'is working above/ at the expectaed level for her age'.

why dont you ask for a short follow meeting with the teacher. many schools offer this.

noonar Tue 14-Jul-09 11:35:34

'follow up'

colie Tue 14-Jul-09 12:34:00

My dd is finishing yr2 and I have never had a report card that has told me whether she is average,above or below. So I totally sympathise with you about the report telling you nothing.

This year we got the teacher assessment marks so told us where she is but up until now just went by what dd told us hmm.

The made good progress part is positive, dd1 has not had positive statements like that before.

dylansaunty Tue 14-Jul-09 12:43:08

Same here. DDs report told me lots of things she could do, or was beginning to do or was doing confidently, but no indication whatsoever if these things were what she should be doing at year 1, or if every other child achieved them in year R or if she is not expected do do them until year 2

absolutely useless information if you ask me.

Pyrocanthus Tue 14-Jul-09 12:43:11

We used to get these cut-and-paste reports with our children's names attached to what I presume are national curriculum attainment targets. Only the teacher's and head's personal comments at the end of the report made any sense at all.

We rose up as a parent body (i.e. several of us used the reply slip to complain) and we do now get much more personal reports, which refer to our own children's strengths and weaknesses, and are recognisably about the children we know.

Ask for clarification, and let the school know that you don't find the format helpful. It's a waste of the teacher's time too if it's not telling you anything useful.

SunshineYellow Tue 14-Jul-09 13:21:22

I am not alone then!
I have written to the school, explaining that the reports while long, don't actually tell me what I want to know. However, the school isn't likely to change - it has a very good reputation and the head is known for always being right(!). It is very frustrating.
I assume if dd1 was stuggling, we would know by now, but it just seems so silly, as if the school are trying so hard not to be seen to measure the children that they have become afraid to write anything concrete. Grr!

Pyrocanthus Tue 14-Jul-09 13:33:39

No, give it a try, Sunshine, our school has a bright and shiny OFSTED report and considers itself very wonderful, but the message did get through (the teachers probably think they're pointless too).

I must admit I can't remember if the change was made before or after the departure of our 'always right' head though.

1dilemma Tue 14-Jul-09 14:09:42

we have this too-I asked
got tol pretty near opposite of dh at parents evening in March!

smee Tue 14-Jul-09 14:22:52

Didn't you have a parent's evening? Seems a bit weird at the end of a year if not. Surely that's the time you could ask.

Pyrocanthus Tue 14-Jul-09 14:24:47

I don't know about the OP, but we have 'open evenings' in the summer term - you can in theory speak to the teacher, but it'll be in a classroom full of other parents and children.

Perhaps that's our next campaign.

smee Tue 14-Jul-09 14:29:53

Ah am new to the whole school thing, but we had a parent's evening (end of reception) and it was one to one, so easy to ask such things if you wanted to.

SunshineYellow Tue 14-Jul-09 14:37:01

The school has a reputation for being very set in its ways. I have asked that they respond to my comments about the reports, so I will wait and see. I suspect the head wil either not respond (he has a reputation for this too, if he doesn't think the issue is important enough) or will say that the reports are fine and have enough information as far as he is concerned.
At parents evening in February, I was told dd1 was doing 'fine', 'no problems at all', which again, doesn't say much. The teachers seem to hate to say anything specific!
I have spoken this lunchtime to my friend who has a dd in dd1's class too. The children say they don't sit in the same groups when they do maths and literacy, yet the reports read very similarly for both of them hmm. It feels like the reports are totally pointles to be honest angry.

fruitshootsandheaves Tue 14-Jul-09 14:39:16

DD1 hs left school this year and DS1 is in year 9 and I still have no idea what all the numbers mean that they get!

DS came home and says 'mum I got a bla bla bla for maths'
'Oh dear never mind, I'm sure you tried your best' I say
'No mum, thats a really GOOD mark' says DS
blush

I am a bad mother because despite having read loads of school reports I still dont understand Fischers estimates and whoever he is why is he estimating my child.
Why can't they just use
A = excellent; B = good; C = OK; D = bit lazy; E = needs to turn up
like they did when I was at school

scribblehead Tue 14-Jul-09 14:55:03

Fruitshootsandheaves - like your grading system. Would make report writing really quick.

Sunshine yellow - I bet your dd is genuinely doing fine with no problems. I'm sure you would have heard otherwise. Your dd and her friend might be very similar abilities. They might be in different groups beacuse they natter a lot otherwise or the groups might be mixed ability groups anyway. If you are worried then do talk to the teacher but she is still very young really and she'll be measured and judged plenty as she grows up!

scribblehead Tue 14-Jul-09 15:11:48

Has everyone got bored with this or did my slightly self righteous comment spoil your chat? I'm rubbish at MN, hardly ever get time to join in and then kill every thread I join. Sorry. No offence meant!

SunshineYellow Tue 14-Jul-09 15:27:26

Hi scribblehead. Not offended, just away from the PC!
I take your point. I think it is just human nature to want to know how dd is doing - she does spend 30 hours there a week! I am not that intrested in hearing what she has done - I know that - she tells me when they do projects on Kenya or a mosiac workshop. What I don't know is is she keeping up, is she ahead of the game. Is she weaker in maths than reading. Surely that is the point of a school report? smile

FSAH - that system would be fine with me too. I had it and remember it from primary school. I wasn't scarred by it, and I didn't get A's by any means smile.

scribblehead Tue 14-Jul-09 15:30:46

Do take your point. I tend to read these threads as a teacher but am actually a SAHM now with two preschoolers. Will probably change my mind completely once I'm standing at the other side of the school gates!

Pyrocanthus Tue 14-Jul-09 15:46:48

I was thinking what scribblehead said: your DD will soon be saddled with all sorts of numbers and labels; my DD1 is leaving primary this year and I must admit I hanker after the days when my DDs were 'fine' with 'no problems'.

Scribblehead: do you think that teachers are a bit cagey with the younger children to keep parents' expectations under control? This is not aimed at you Sunshine, but I have heard parents asking very bluntly whether their children were 'average' or 'above average', which is not an unreasonable thing to want to know, but one wonders what the response is if the teacher gives the 'wrong' answer.

Just remembered - after the autumn parents' evening in year 1, DD2 listened to my praise for her 'hard work and effort' and said, 'Yes, but what am I good at?'. Perhaps it's not just the parents.

piscesmoon Tue 14-Jul-09 15:47:47

I hate reports these days-the only bit worth reading is the teacher's comment at the end.

SunshineYellow Tue 14-Jul-09 21:27:05

I do understand what you mean about numbers and measuring children all the time, but I still think it is reasonable to know how dd is doing. If the answer is below average, then I might try to encourage her a bit more. As it is, I leave her to it pretty much.
It feels like the school is withholding information as if parents can't be trusted with it if you know what I mean?

scribblehead Tue 14-Jul-09 22:24:30

Pyrocanthus - sorry I missed your post. I don't know if you'll see this now. As a teacher I was always happy to say whether a pupil was working at the expected level or above, or below, this level. In my expeience most parents wanted their child to be happy in school and were nice, reasonable people to share information with. A few parents were obssessed with reading levels and comparissons with others in the class. When I started out as a young, newly qualified teacher I was intimidated by these parents and worried about what I said but experience helps. The hardest parents were the ones I felt would be cross with, or negative about, their little ones if they weren't living up to their expectations. That never really stopped being hard. I always prefered talking to people than writing reports.

Sunshine - if you're still out there! Have you tried setting up another meeting with your dds teacher. I know you didn't feel you got what you needed in parents evening. I think you're well in your rights to ask if your dd is doing as expected in literacy and numeracy and whether there anything in particular you can do to help her more? I would take a verbal 'fine' to mean 'average'. I guess some people don't like to say 'average'.

Pyrocanthus Tue 14-Jul-09 22:55:17

No, I know Sunshine - I think you're being perfectly reasonable.

Scribblehead - thank you for your reply - I think most of the teachers my children have had have been responsive to conversations about their progress - perhaps the reports are to be viewed as a formality and not the major source of information about our children - though I still like our new-style, comprehensible ones. smile

VermoxQueen Wed 15-Jul-09 11:32:30

I think this is because children don't get officially graded until the end of Y2. I know what you mean, I still think it'd be nice to know how they're doing compared to their expected level, but I'm sure this is why Y1 reports don't mention levels. Once it gets to Y2 it's different.

leenasmom Wed 15-Jul-09 13:41:47

my dc report seems similar to what op is stating but for eng/maths my ds (yr1 has 1a and 1b..
my nephew is in the same yr but a different school gets a list of subjects and skils eg handwriting listening speaking...and the teacher tick A(above national average for yr group) B(average for yr group)or C (below average for yr group)with overall comments at the end of the report...

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