How can schools report to parents and carers in a way that is clear, accessible and supports learning?
The purpose of reporting is to support and improve learning. To do this effectively, a report needs to focus on:
- reporting the pupil’s progress and achievement at the end of each academic year and key stage (where appropriate)
- providing parents/carers with clear, individualised information about the pupil’s progress against the standards for the relevant key stage
- identify the pupil’s areas of strength and those which require improvement to ensure continued progress.
As much as possible, a learner should be involved in the reporting process through on-going reflection and dialogue about her/his learning.
Statutory requirements at the end of KS1, KS2, KS3 and KS4
A written report on their child’s progress during the preceding school year must be prepared and sent to parents by the end of each summer term. Where information is unavailable before the end of the summer term, for example national curriculum assessment outcomes, this must reach parents as soon as possible and no later than 15 days after the end of term. In the case of school leavers, the report must reach parents no later than 30th September following the end of the school year in which the child left.
A report must cover the period from the day after the last report was given and include information about achievements and general progress as well as the pupil’s attendance record.
Reports for pupils at the end of KS1 and 2 must include details of national curriculum assessments.
Reports for pupils at the end of KS4 must include the grade achieved in subjects for which the pupil was entered for GCSE and any other qualification, or unit towards a qualification, and the grade achieved,
Schools and other providers required to complete the EYFS profile must share the results with parents, and offer them the opportunity to discuss the report with the teacher or practitioner who completed it. For children attending more than one provider, the profile must be completed by the provider where the child spends most time.
All EYFS providers must give parents a written summary of their child’s attainment against the ELGs. For each ELG this must state whether the child is:
- not yet reaching expected levels (‘emerging’)
- meeting ‘expected’ levels
- ‘exceeding’ expected levels
At the end of reception year, providers should give parents a written report which:
- states the child’s attainment against the ELGs
- summarises attainment in all areas of learning
- comments on general progress including the characteristics of effective learning
- explains the arrangements for discussing the profile
Practitioners may use the information provided by the EYFS profile assessment as a basis for their reports to parents. Providers must offer parents a reasonable opportunity to discuss the outcomes of the profile with their child’s practitioner. This meeting should be within the term in which the profile has been completed. Practitioners may wish to consider making the child’s profile available to parents as part of the discussion. If parents ask to see a copy of their child’s profile, the provider must make this available, free of charge.
The inspection process underlines the need for school leaders to ‘seek to engage parents and their community thoughtfully and positively in a way that supports pupils’ education’ School Inspection handbook, Section 225, p.64. Reporting needs to fully involve and value the role of parents and carers as parental engagement has a significant impact on learners’ progress.
It is important that schools provide information on how parents can support learning at home. Further detail of what the parents of very young children should expect is highlighted in the section of the Inspection handbook that focuses on evaluating the quality of early years education in schools: ‘[Staff] provide information to parents about supporting their child’s learning at home, including detail about the school’s method of teaching reading and how to help their children learn to read.’ Grade descriptor for Good, p.81. It is beneficial for schools and parents alike to involve the latter in developing simple and effective means of reporting that emphasise engagement rather than the need to read overly lengthy documentation.
The Education Endowment Foundation’s report Working with parents to support children’s learning (December 2018) identifies 4 main recommendations for schools to consider:
- Critically review how you work with parents
- Provide practical strategies to support learning at home
- Tailor school communications to encourage positive dialogue about learning
- Offer more sustained and intensive support where needed
The report emphasises the importance of planning and monitoring the school’s parental engagement activities to get the most out of them. Other recommendations look at practical and effective ways to communicate with parents, and strategies for supporting learning at home.
In summary, good reports:
- Set out what pupils have learned, not just what they have been taught or like doing
- Are written with the reader in mind, i.e. succinctly and without jargon
- Summarise the pupil’s performance since the last report
- Highlight positive achievement and progress made
- Identify weaker areas and diagnose difficulties with skills and understanding
- Are written with an eye to motivating the pupils for the coming year