The End of Term Report


Term has already ended for Flea and we’re already a week into the supreme work/life balancing act that is the summer holidays in a single parent household.

Truth be told, I don’t mind – I love summer. I love the freedom, I love that I can mostly work in the evenings and spend the days on the beach with my daughter (or huddled in bed watching Netflix on a rainy day).

This week, though, I started to wonder if I shouldn’t be somehow doing more PARENTING of my child. You know, worrying about her education and skills, and that sort of thing. The cause of my angst? Her school report.

Don’t get me wrong, Flea’s school report was excellent. She scored straight A’s in all her subjects and everyone remarked on what a happy, well-mannered and friendly child she is. Her teachers say she is kind, smart and has a wicked sense of humour. However… the word ‘however’ was used a lot in her report.

Flea does brilliantly in English, however her work is often untidy. Her reading is outstanding, however, she gets over-excited when writing stories and forgets to use punctuation. Flea does amazing work in maths, however, she’s easily distracted by her friends. However, however, however…

So I wondered… should we be ‘working’ on this? Should I be encouraging her to write properly in her journal? Should I be devising activities that would help her focus on concentration and attention to detail?

Fortunately, just in the nick of time, I found Flea rifling through my old memory box, which is packed with old letters, souvenirs and diaries. For some reason, my daughter found it HILARIOUS that 14-year-old me kept a meticulous list of “boys I have met” along with a description of their appearance. Apparently, John S had really nice thumbs. No, I don’t know why this mattered, either.

Anyway, in the box along with my teenage shame were all my primary school reports. Including my report from when I was exactly the same age as Flea. And guess what?

All my teachers said I was very bright, friendly, hard-working. However, I had a tendency to daydream, I scored lower than average for my use of punctuation and my writing was occasionally very untidy. My reports basically said the same thing for years.



But here’s the thing – I loved primary school. I had a lot of fun, I found the work interesting, I loved my friends, and playtime, and team sports, and I remember it as a time of being really happy and deeply untroubled by any thoughts of the future, or needing to be perfect. And that’s what I want for Flea.

So yesterday, while I worked, and Flea took herself off to write a 40 page graphic novel called “The Boy and the Magician” I remembered that what’s important isn’t that there isn’t a single punctuation mark in there, but that there’s a really, really cool robot, and it wears stripy socks. So basically – it’s already perfect.


21 thoughts on “The End of Term Report”

  1. I think the problem is that nowadays teachers are far more circumspect about what they can and will say in a report. Whilst it’s good in some ways that they have to look for the positives in all pupils, it does mean that as a parent you know you’re not getting the full and honest story. You have to interpret and read between the lines with no real guidelines as to what you’re looking for or what it all actually means. It sounds like there probably are a few things to pay attention to in there, but surely that’s down to the teachers as much as it is to you. If she’s not concentrating, how does the teacher plan to engage her more? I think sometimes as parents we can take these things very personally when it’s as much a reflection on what the school is doing as it is on you or your child.

    1. I’m not sure her teachers have been THAT circumspect – she’s achieving very well academically but she’s messy, forgetful of punctuation and likes to chat to her friends! I suppose my view is that, on first glance, maybe I should “address” that – but then I figure, you know what? She’s eight, and she’s happy and she’s enjoying school and the concentration and punctuation will all come with time!

  2. Lovely post Sally. Kizzy’s report had a lot of ‘howevers’ in it too, but I would rather she enjoyed the odd chat to her friends and didn’t push herself further than she needs to, because like Flea, she is still a child who needs to express herself, have fun and enjoy her time at school. There is plenty of time to get serious when they are older.

    1. You have it exactly – there’s plenty of time. I think sometimes there’s an idea that kids should start out perfect, rather than learning as they go, and being happy and progressing at their own pace!

  3. I’ve just got my two’s report today and I had a quick read before picking them up from their fitness fun club they have been doing. I’m quite glad that both their teachers get them as people – Missy’s teacher made a very positive suggestion about her friendship circle, which really comes as no surprise to me. Everything they said about them in school happens to be something I have thought about them too so it’s good to know that they agree with me. We have shown the kids my report from middle school which says my writing could be neater and more imaginative! I do like that they give their assessed level so you can gauge if they are on track or not. I had to look them up but they have both proved they have worked hard and in the grand scheme of things, life would be boring if there was nothing to work on, wouldn’t it? OH always jokes that they are way better behaved at school than he was at that age, so I guess that’s something. 😉

    PS Well done Flea!

  4. We just got ours today too and it’s much the same. Lots of positives with what reads between the lines as “if she thinks she can get away with it she’ll do a rush job on her maths and skulk off to read a book.” She read her report and smiled, then immediately worried that her best friend would have all A* where she herself has A’s. I told her not to worry. She’s 9, I’m happy.

    And Sally I LOVE that you got a B- and not an A+ (what are all those silly *’s about nowadays?) for verbal reasoning!

  5. Squidge still has another 3 weeks at school so no report. I am a worrier so am expecting much handwringing when her report arrives. I want her to be happy but I amso want to do the best by her. Flea has some wickedly intelligent parents and she’ll be ok. More than ok.

  6. Thank You for confirming whats going through my head today. I have been worrying as he didn’t hit a government target for a 6 year old. The fact he loves school, learning, has friends and has progressed well in his English is what is important. Who cares if he can’t read a made up word (because he thinks it isn’t right because he hasn’t heard of it?) Not me x

  7. Agree completely. Childhood is for having fun, learning the basics, experiencing as much as possible and using your imagination. There’s plenty of time for commas and full stops later on.

    1. The funny thing is, wouldn’t the world be a better place if more of us were better at using our imaginations? Why is that somehow less valued in education than punctuation – which let’s face it, is likely to be auto-corrected by the time our kids grow up? Pfft.

  8. I smile quietly to myself at all the “howevers” in my kids’ reports! I believe childhood is about fun and using your imagination as much as possible. Too much pressure too young burns them out and stifles their spunk and spirit. When it matters we will work it out.

  9. It’s primary school for goodness sake! I think back to my primary school days, and I remember with fondness the year I spent in the class of the deputy head, who threw the curriculum out of the window and focused on teaching us nature studies and bird watching for a year. It didn’t do me any harm at all, and may have done some good.

    Primary school is about having fun and learning to socialise. The academic stuff is just a bonus. When we got my daughter’s report this year I skipped most of the academic stuff (although we are lucky in that she is over-achieving in all areas there), and wanted to know how she got on with other kids, how she interacted, whether she had friends. That’s what matters to me at this level.

    Flea sounds like she’s getting on fine.

    1. Yes, my first priority is always – is she happy, does she get along with other children, is she making an effort. If those three are a yes, then I’m pleased – if she’s also keeping up with her peers academically, then I’m not sure I need anything else.

  10. Yep kids get excited. I thought the same. I’m not going to focus on that since it comes with age. They’re reaching their potential in the actual work and that’s what counts.

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