Evaluating your child’s school report can sometimes be difficult. Grading systems reflecting effort and attainment differ from school to school. Teachers’ comments often appear a bit politically correct or vague, so you are left trying to decipher what has perhaps been implied, but has not been said.

Read accompanying notes carefully to understand what grades or scores mean and where this places your child ‘s attainment against peer or national averages.

Review alongside previous report. Identify subject strengths, improved areas or weak points.

If parents are separated, request 2 copies so both feel informed and can praise, support and encourage.

Sit down with your child to discuss the report. Praise where they have excelled or made progress. Ask why they feel these areas are a strength. Do they find the teacher engaging, the subject interesting or the work easy? Do they feel challenged? If not, follow up with their tutor about the possibility of moving set or extension work?

Where they have not done so well, focus on the effort grade first. If there is room for improvement, discuss why they are not so engaged with this subject and how they might become more so. Are they easily distracted by peers? Can you support their learning at home or take them on outings to inspire? If you can motivate towards better effort grades, attainment should look after itself! If scoring well for effort, but not high attaining, discuss why? Ask the school what extra support might be available for their learning in these areas going forward.

Communication is key. Dialogue between parent, child and school on a regular basis, should keep them on track. Never forget the motivational value of praise!