It’s that time of year again: school report time.
Whether you’ve got a little one in reception or older ones at various stages of the education system the chances are they’re about to come home armed – for better or worse – with their annual school report.
The oldest came home with hers last week and, once again, I was impressed at the level of detail her teacher had gone in to. Given they’ve got umpteen numbers of reports to write her teacher had taken the time to chart the ins and outs of their year together, and I was surprised – and more than a bit proud – of just how glowing it was.
But what if their school report isn’t quite what you hoped it would be? What if there’s something you don’t agree with? And if they have got a good report, how can you build on what they’ve achieved at school, at home?
With school report season upon us Hilary Barry, director of teaching and learning at prep school Highfield and Brookham in Hampshire, has this advice.
How to get the most out of your child’s school report
Celebrate the positives
“Praise and encouragement act as a valuable catalyst for greater things,” says Hilary. “If your child is showing real flair or interest in a particular subject, is there a way you could foster this further over the summer holidays? For example, entering a library reading or writing competition, joining a children’s sports camp, finding a Spanish pen friend, visiting a science museum or putting on a performance for friends and family.”
What about the less positive comments?
“Seize them as an opportunity!” says Hilary. “Such comments have been included in your child’s report for no other purpose than to guide them and improve their learning. We must be mindful of building an entirely protective cocoon around our youngsters as the world into which they will enter post schooling will not constantly build them up. It will be quick to point out their failings and expect them to largely deal with this in a self-sufficient and forward moving manner.”
What if you disagree with what a teacher has written in their report?
“Take the time to reflect on the comments,” advises Hilary. “It is entirely natural to leap to the defense of your child, but could there be any truth in what their teacher has written? Is this information new or have you heard it before? Speak with your child to see what their thoughts are both on the feedback and what they think they could do to address the areas raised. Then, if you still find yourself dissatisfied or uncertain, contact the teacher asking them if they could provide further information on the points they have raised.”
All wise words! Is it school report season in your house too? How did it go? I’d love to hear about your experience!