School reports – as good as your child or their teacher?

July 9, 2013 Off By Laura TMOT
Today I received my first ever school reports for the girls.

It was a bit of a let down in all honesty.

I loved reading Alison’s report, it told me all the things she enjoyed doing, the things she is proud of, the funny things she has done. It told me of all of her achievements and things we still need to work on. It was great to read all the activities she takes part in and I can imagine her doing them. Her report feels very personal. It feels as though it was written just for her. I know her strengths and her weaknesses and the report proves that the teachers do too.

I didn’t love reading Elizabeth’s report. She has only been in for 78 days over the course of this year so I suppose I could almost forgive the teacher for the lack of personalisation in her report. Almost.

According to the report Elizabeth is doing everything as is expected. Children of this age are measured on Emerging, Expected and Exceeding. They are measured on the 7 areas of learning in the EYFS and on the individual statements within those areas. No child should be Expected on ALL of them. Every child has a weakness. Every child has a strength. I was reading it getting more annoyed with the lack of commitment in anything the report says. She is working towards something or she is beginning to do something. Everywhere in the report I see non committed statements. She is starting to do stuff, she will try stuff.

Arghh I just want to know what she is failing at after missing so much school. I want to help her catch up. I want to know what she enjoys and what she doesn’t. I want to know where she is doing well and celebrate her successes. I am a bloody good parent and I accept that my children will have failings in life, especially when they have attended less than a third of the school year. How can I help her if you don’t tell me where she needs support.

As I continued to read I became more disillusioned that this teacher might not have ever spent time actually observing Elizabeth. He continues to say that she is as Expected in Physical Development. As EXPECTED!!! She can hardly walk some days. She can’t run. She can’t climb things well as she doesn’t have the muscle strength. If anywhere on this report was going to say she wasn’t doing well I would definitely have expected this one.

To top it off apparently Elizabeth can recognise and use numbers up to 20. It baffles me to think they have only ever asked her to go to 20. Mathematics and number recognition has always been her strong point. She should be Exceeding at this if she had been accessed correctly.

I know the teacher had a lot of reports to do and some parents won’t care and they won’t even read them but as a parent who is concerned that she might fall behind because of her lack of attendance I would have hoped for a bit more ….. I don’t really know what exactly but more Elizabeth in the report maybe. It feels like a tick box exercise gone wrong. It feels lazy and it doesnt help anyone.

I want to support the school and Elizabeth but I cant do that if I don’t know where to start. Alison’s report is what you want, the good and the bad. It is Alison on paper by a teacher who knows her well. Elizabeth’s report is mediocre at best. It isn’t her and it feels bland and written by someone who doesn’t know her. I have come to the conclusion that my children’s school reports do not tell me how good my children have been this year but how good their teachers are.

Its parents evening tomorrow, I wonder if that will go any better.