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8 school report writing tips for teachers

Report writing season is here which, as we all know, means dedicating hours to creating reports that truly capture your pupils’ progress.

We get it, balancing this task with your daily responsibilities can be a challenge. So, we’ve put together a list of simple yet effective tips on how to craft positive, concise school reports that clearly communicate student progress and performance.

1. Structure and content
School reports usually stick to a certain style. So, whether you’ve been teaching for a long time or you’re just starting out, familiarise yourself with your school’s template and style by reviewing examples.

Nothing should come as a total surprise. Reports should build on all the parent-teacher conversations you’ve had before, summarising the successes and providing valuable next steps.

2. Remember your audience
Ditch the educational jargon and keep your language plain and simple. This helps parents to understand your feedback and means they can provide valuable insight into their child’s development.

3. Strike a balance
Find the sweet spot between positivity and honesty. Parents should hear about the wins and the areas where their child can grow, but it’s all about how you deliver the information. The sandwich technique is a useful tool for delivering feedback gently – start with praise, offer constructive feedback in the middle and end with more praise. This way, you can supportively guide your pupils’ next steps, while allowing parents to feel pride for their child’s progress.

4. Accurate assessment
Don’t forget all the hard work you’ve already done in tracking progress. Drawing on assessment systems, previous parents evening notes and prior communications will allow you to accurately reflect pupil progress in your reports.

5. Personal element
While academic progress is crucial, for many parents, highlighting their child’s special interests and personal achievements is just as important. Recognising a pupil’s involvement in extracurricular clubs, contributions to projects, and individual efforts is vital. It ensures that we acknowledge holistic development alongside academic achievements.

6. Be specific
Try to avoid generic phrases like “Jordan worked hard this year”. Instead, be specific. Give parents the details, like how Jordan embraced a challenging topic or never gave up when learning a new skill. Context is key – it helps parents to really understand their child’s journey.

7. Be strategic
While it’s tempting to share every success, doing so might dilute their overall significance. Instead, handpick a few key highlights and targets from a pool of comments. This way, it’s manageable for you and for the parents.

8. Plan ahead
Writing reports can feel overwhelming at first but, by breaking the task down into manageable chunks and spreading it out over several weeks, you can take charge of the process.

And remember, teachers are natural experts in efficiency. By planning ahead, and with a clear idea of what needs to be covered, writing reports will soon become just another item ticked off your to-do list.

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