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John Rice

Bowland Solutions

Sales & Marketing Director

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My son’s school report


Any parent will relate to this reflection on school reports from Brendan:

No, I’m not going to actually tell you the content of my son’s school report! It was fine and other than him feeling it was ok to open it before sharing it with us the process was all good.

For those of you without children at school, school reports now contain a lot of numbers. After many years of confusion, my wife and I recently got the hang of whether a 4a was better than a 4b and then they changed the system to something called APS … no idea what it stands for. So, Euan (my son) has been targeted for the year with moving up at least 5 APS points in each subject.

So, let’s say in Maths he was 28 last year, then his target would be at least 33. And in this report we are told his current level – let’s say it is 32.
And we get a grade for Effort and a grade for Organisation. No words.

We have a lot of data in the school report. We get 3 of these reports a year and we get one parents evening where we have 5 minute appointments with each of his teachers.

5 minutes after reading his report I could give you the gist of it but I couldn’t remember one number. I know roughly the grades for effort and organisation but couldn’t remember which ones applied to which subject. Its not that I don’t care it is that there was an overwhelming amount of data.

But I remember the conversations with most of the teachers (the ones I can’t remember are the ones where the teacher concentrated on the scores/grades and national averages for those scores) from his last parents evening two months ago.

If you ask most parents what they hope for for their children at school it is that they enjoy it. Yes, we hope our children do well and we support them in getting the best out of themselves but every parent went to school once and so all of us want to know “do they have friends, are they engaged, do they contribute, are they happy”. If a teacher told me “Euan is doing really well; he tries his hardest, works well with his school friends, and always engages with every lesson” then I can’t ask for much more. I can then review the data in that context and it could suggest to us areas he needs help with. But the data alone tells me very little.

What interested me most in our conversation with Euan is that he is engaged with the number. He wants to be a “33″. I do wonder whether the system is starting to train children (future employees) to go for the target rather than focus on the actions that lead to success.


Author Profile Picture
John Rice

Sales & Marketing Director

Read more from John Rice

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