School reports - could do better?

Tribal communities: in short supply inside the M25 (image credit: Unsplash)

Tribal communities: in short supply inside the M25 (image credit: Unsplash)

I often look forward to my daughter’s school report – but for the right reasons?  

It’s not because of the rows of ‘excellents’, for a dyslexic child those are often sadly absent, or even for the  appreciation of her many wonderful qualities. With teachers tasked with specific, detailed feedback, sometimes straws seem to be being clutched!

Once upon a time, school reports used to be blunt, honest and understandable – or maybe that was just my father’s grammar school Headmaster pointing out year after year with increasing weariness that if my father – top of the class at maths, bumping along the bottom at everything else – would only just ‘apply himself’ he would do well. My reports were just a few words of routine praise and light chidings for ‘giggling’. One of my brother’s which points out ‘how silly he is for such a big boy’ is framed, now he is 6’4”, and hangs in his loo.  

The fashion in recent years has been for cut and paste curriculum regurgitation in many schools in which one’s own child tends to get lost. Most give scores for effort as well as attainment. The more progressive have moved beyond this. As a Head said to me recently, ‘how do you measure effort?’

Will glamping do?

My favourite remark last year from the PE teacher was that we should throw balls at my daughter, unexpectedly, to improve her reflexes!  But, this just in for 2016 has challenged us. To aid in Geography she must: ‘develop her understanding of what it would be like to live in a tribal community’. Will a spot of glamping do, we wonder...?