In the last week of each term I disappear into my office to read and write school reports.
Teaching and learning go hand in hand and school reports are an excellent reminder of this. This is why we take time to write them and give the girls time to reflect upon them. The teaching staff spend much time considering each pupil, outlining their strengths and celebrating their achievements. They then make considered suggestions on how each girl can improve her performance. Her form tutor describes what each girl has contributed to the school community in her involvement with co-curricular activities. It is a detailed summary, an evaluation of a term’s work. Reports are incredibly useful, carefully crafted documents.
I read and make comments on every school report. It is hours of work but it is an aspect of my job that I love and value. I get a glimpse into each girl’s school life. I see her triumphs, her efforts and her goals. For some girls their plans are well executed and delivered, for others they have lost their focus, become disorganised and are not able to realise their aspirations. The report is there to help them get back on track. Every teacher has the same goal: to bring out the best in every individual and help her achieve her ambitions.
Reports, however, are much more than written records of how the girls have performed in the last term. They are a working document. Each girl reads her report with her form tutor. We encourage the girls to take responsibility for their learning with the staff carefully assisting from the sidelines. Together they discuss the areas they need to target for next term. Between them agree common targets which they are reminded of the following term. We cannot do the work for them but we can gently push them in the right direction and give them the confidence to believe they can succeed.
I know in years to come when the girls have long since left school, there will be a time when they reread their reports. They will remember the teachers that wrote them. They will ponder again on the comments and perhaps will be grateful they responded so well to their teachers’ advice or perhaps rue that they should have listened more carefully!