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Below is a list of some of my favourite phrases and my tongue-in-cheek interpretations; hardly a new idea but worth doing all the same. Please [mailto:angie@4ormore.co.uk email me] with your contributions & I'll add them in... Below is a list of some of my favourite phrases and my tongue-in-cheek interpretations; hardly a new idea but worth doing all the same. Please [[mailto:angie@4ormore.co.uk|email me]] with your contributions & I'll add them in...
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Just an idea - visit [http://come.to/report.maker ReportMaker] to see how many phrases you recognise... Just an idea - visit [[http://come.to/report.maker|ReportMaker]] to see how many phrases you recognise...

Reports - Reading between the lines...

I sometimes wonder how people with "average" sized families ever accumulate enough experience of reading school reports to interpret them effectively - perhaps it just comes naturally to others...

We all know how much teachers dread the summer term and have to spend weeks painstakingly compiling carefully-worded snippets on each of their pupils. All of my teaching friends take this very seriously indeed and try hard to convey something meaningful about each of their charges, despite the limitations that they are forced to work within. Most use computer programs of "stock" phrases to stay within the guidelines of what's acceptable; however this can sometimes result in very bland statements where as a parent you wonder whether they actually have any idea which child they are writing about.

Armed with 10 years of experience, I had to laugh at my second son's achievement in Musical Appreciation - "during the Listening Sessions, he listens some of the time..." - knowing him he is daydreaming about football for the rest of it!

Sometimes you can pick out a common thread across the different subjects that may or may not indicate cause for concern. If your child is still with one teacher for most subjects, they may be trying to alert you to a possible problem - be aware of any mention of "lack of word-building skills" for example, as this is a possible indicator for dyslexia, which needs to be tackled early. (Many teachers will have children with far worse problems whose demands gobble up most of their thinly-spread resources and your child will need you to be persistent to get proper help.) But if they have reached the stage of having specialist teachers for each subject, you may be the only person in a position to collate the information, pick out a potential problem and ring alarm bells.

As a parent, knowing what is really important at any given stage is a bit of a nightmare. "Presentation" has been the bugbear of my eldest and youngest sons, largely due to handwriting that a mad scientist would struggle to reproduce. But I suspect that this has been partly because their fine motor control has been slower to develop than that of their sisters and middle brother, and partly because their ideas flow faster than their pens! Not to mention the fact that their uncle actually is a mad scientist... At the end of the day, as long as they can get their ideas across effectively, is it presentation we should be worrying about, or content? They are not all destined for careers in Marketing...

Below is a list of some of my favourite phrases and my tongue-in-cheek interpretations; hardly a new idea but worth doing all the same. Please email me with your contributions & I'll add them in...

  • "Shows a high level of commitment and effort" - tries hard...

  • "Has produced some decent work" - but not a lot...

  • "Has experimented with a variety of techniques" - will try anything once...
  • "Should aim to participate more in class discussion" - hardly with us most of the time...
  • "Needs to focus on handing in his homework" - or even on actually doing it...
  • "Is capable of producing good work" - I just wish he would...

  • "Wears school uniform to a high standard" - there must be something positive I can say about this child...

At the end of the day, if both schools and parents are doing their job properly, there should be no great surprises in any report, as both you and the school will have been communicating effectively about any potential problems all the way down the line - or is that too much to hope for in our monster comprehensives, where each child or even teacher is just a tiny cog in a very big machine, crushed beneath a tide of paperwork?

Just an idea - visit ReportMaker to see how many phrases you recognise...

4OrMore: Articles/SchoolReports (last edited 2009-04-14 10:46:53 by localhost)