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Handy hints

Writing reports.

Reports to parents call for thoughtful professionalism. Parents want evidence that you know and like their child, and they want to be told, without jargon or dissembling, whether or not their child is making progress.

* Writing reports takes time so plan ahead. Haste gets in the way of clarity.

* Use a statement - either in your mind or in the report- as a starting point.

* Read the previous report. If you are going to say something different, parents deserve an explanation. Read previous parent responses. Were comments dealt with?

* Be pre-emptive by matching the language and grades of your markbok to the needs of reports. This is particularly necessary for PE teachers, for example, who see hundreds of children briefly each week.

* Don't guess. One PE teacher praised a child's efforts at rugby, only to be reminded that he had been coming to school with a leg in plaster.

* Mention praiseworthy incidents, a memorable piece of work or performance, or act of kindness.

* Using national curriculum levels in reports can mean that children do not seem to be making progress as they can be working through the same level for a long time. Emphasise areas of real progress.

Next week: running a school coach trip

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