Top tips for Perth parents at school report time

Stock image.
Stock image.

NOTHING sparked anxiety in me as a kid quite like school report time.

I remember I had to hand over the report in its sealed envelope and await my parent’s verdict of whether they thought it was good.

I have come to learn over the last three decades of teaching and tutoring that school reports are not about how intelligent a student is, nor whether they are working hard.

Instead, it is about their individual learning journey and the school’s feedback to you as to just how that learning journey is progressing.

Natalie Hainsworth

My observations were that 10 per cent of parents would actively seek me out and say, “I am not a teacher, I don’t understand this report” and we would chat about its true meaning for their child.

However up to another 20 to 30 per cent of parents I came to understand in time did have questions, but didn’t say anything.

This article is written in devotion those 20 to 30 per cent of parents.

Grades – just what do they mean?

C grade is good and means that your child is achieving what they should be at their current level.

D is not necessarily bad to receive either in the mid-year report.

In fact, D is generally regarded as a “heads up” that there is opportunity to improve and pay attention to a potential gap in learning.

How do I compare?

The best comparison for a report is the end of year report.

Certainly, when your child hands you their end-of-year report, take time to first thank them for the report and all the work they have done.

Then reassure them you need to take some time to understand the report, and then lastly chat to your child once you have grasped all the meaning the report holds.

Reassure them and thank them again as you discuss the report with them.

Reports take on a greater significance as the child gets older, and most often your child “gets it” quite well by the time they hit Year Five or Six.

Now What?

Start by having a sandwich with your child – a Positive Sandwich.

The sandwich is made up of a positive statement of what they have done well – and then have a short chat about what item may benefit from attention.

Ensure you finish the conversation with another positive.

Many times, phrasing things in this way means your child can best listen to what you are saying.

If there are gaps in the learning journey outlined by the report, then let’s ensure that the school and classroom teacher is in on the conversation.

It should not be a blaming conversation, but rather listening to what they have to say about your child.

Of course, it may well benefit your child to have outside assistance for this gap and teachers are here to help too.