It’s nearly report writing time!
Although that headline sounds a bit…eurgh, it actually also means we are about to enter Summer term part 2, which is busy but then SUMMER HOLIDAYS! And my goodness don’t you all need them?!
So why are we talking about report writing? Well, although we cannot help much with writing them for you (sorry!), we do have some ideas for using your school website in the communications process this year.
The last year has been like no other previous year of schooling. On the one hand parents have been more involved than ever with their child’s learning due to you beaming lessons into their kitchens and living rooms. But on the other hand they have felt disconnected from school with not being allowed into the building for the most part. And having to hand over children at the gate in many cases so they have lacked that communication which comes from casual conversations on the playground and suchlike.
The lockdowns over the last year have also meant children have had very different experiences over the time of this academic year and the last. Some have been in school the whole time as key worker children, but with a slightly different experience to their usual schooling. Some have been at home and very engaged with home learning. Some have been home but, for various reasons, not been engaged with home learning. And some children have had experiences matching all of the above and more.
Essentially this year the report needs to be as personal as ever. No two reports are likely to be the same at all this year. No two children can have had exactly the same experience and therefore will not have the same strengths and weaknesses. This has always been true to an extent, of course, but this year it will be even more different we suspect.
Again we cannot help with the writing of those reports or even some suggestions without meeting each of your children. We know some schools have been on Zoom or Teams for their usual schedule so will have more overview than others, although we also know that there are discrepancies in attendance at those live lessons and the work handed in after.
A school website is not the place for individualised reports in the public domain. However parents will no doubt value an overview of what has happened for their child over the year, especially those who may have been working full time and leaving their child to get on with their work and live lessons independently. Some of that information will be appropriate for the whole class. Even though parents had timetables sent to them or may have seen work coming via various platforms during lockdown, we think it would be great to have an overview suitable for each class and group to better inform parents of what the last year has looked like from the school side.
Your school website could be the best place to start collating this information. Thinking about what will be consistent for most pupils, and then writing this once, will save teachers time and leave them to concentrate on their individual comments for each child. If you get this prepped on the website in advance it can also help when reports go out to add a link address to the report, so that they know where to go for the more general information.
As many parents’ evenings are still being conducted virtually going forward, this will also help to answer questions upfront that many parents have. You might even consider an FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions) section covering those questions teachers have had already, and keep adding to this online document. This will leave parents able to discuss their children individually and in an informed manner when they do get their 10 minute slot with the teacher, also.
These are just a few of ideas which came to us from a parent and ex-teacher perspective. We know you will have many more ideas of your own from the school side so do let us know any gems you want to pass on. We would love to hear from you!