Lengthy school reports are ‘burdensome’ for teachers and should move to shorter versions, panel concludes

A review commissioned by Damian Hinds, the Education Secretary, found “limited evidence” for the benefits of progress reports that go beyond the “relatively lean” basic requirements imposed on schools. The Telegraph reports.

It also suggested expanding the use of “automatic reporting” to parents – currently used by some schools to flag up a child’s absence.

However the move risks prompting anger among parents. In recent years school reports have been criticised by both parents and some teachers for being “impersonal” and even “robotic”.

The review by the government’s Teacher Workload Advisory Group, which comprises several headteachers as well as Whitehall and trade union officials, recognised that parents’ involvement with their children’s education is “consistently associated with better pupil performance.”

“Schools should remember that the statutory duties on what schools must report to parents and carers are relatively lean, and that there is limited evidence of impact for producing written reports that go beyond these.”

The panel, chaired by Becky Allen, director of University College London’s Centre for Education Improvement Science, continued: “School and trust leaders should review their approach to producing the annual written report, to inform parents and carers of their child’s performance and behaviour at school in a way that is manageable for teachers.”

The report cites the network of Ark academies as an example of institutions that have relieved pressure on teachers by sending automatic notifications to parents whose children are absent from school, including about the consequences of their absence.

Bernadette John, director of The Good Schools Guide education consultants, said reports offered an opportunity for parents and guardians “to gain a better understanding as to how a child is doing at school” and could give “the first indications that things are not going to plan”.

Read more Lengthy school reports are ‘burdensome’ for teachers and should move to shorter versions, panel concludes

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