At the end of each term, I spend a considerable amount of my time reading and writing reports. I read every report in the school and write a comment on every report in the Senior School. Whilst it takes out weekends and most evenings for at least two weeks, I find it an invaluable experience.
To me, school reports paint the whole picture. First, I see the girls’ commitment to their work, their persistence when the work becomes challenging and their rapid improvement when they recognise that they are responsible for their own learning. Second, I can identify their achievements, measured importantly against their own ability rather than others and finally I can read about their contribution to the school community. How they are engaging in opportunities outside the classroom, how willing they are to embrace leadership roles, their role they play as peacemakers, listeners, friends and instigators and how they make a difference to the lives of others, however small.
This Christmas I read the Upper Sixth reports. It was an absolute joy. This cohort of Upper Sixth were the very first Year 7 of BGS, for some I was their form tutor in Year 7 and for others I have shared their triumphs, their challenges and their joys. School is not always easy but as I read the reports, what struck me most was how the girls had matured and were now comfortable in their own skins. Whilst undoubtedly they had learned much academically, they had also learned that it was alright to make mistakes, it was alright to stumble, to fall because they had developed this important skill of resilience. They picked themselves up, learned about themselves in the process and adopted a self-belief. The Upper Sixth know that if they put their minds to it and combine it with a positive work ethic the rewards are there for them to take. The takings are not always immediate but with persistence they will get there.
Every girl in the Upper Sixth is different, and in each report but I was able to recognise each personal achievement and contribution, and marvel at how ready each girl is for the next stage of her life. It made me very proud, especially on a late Sunday night!