Scottish schools have been back a while, and Welsh and English are caught up with planning the return this week and next. I don’t envy teachers or parents in these strange times. The return is going to feel and look quite different, and that’s if they are able to return. I particularly feel for those starting a new school, whether that’s because it is the time to move up or are beginning a new year somewhere new because parents have moved. The latter is something I can certainly relate to. I went to three different primary schools and two different secondary schools because of my father’s job. The longest I stayed in any educational establishment was three years, and up until moving to Winchester twenty years ago, the longest I had lived anywhere was seven years and the first three or four of those years I don’t remember!

The upheaval wasn’t always easy, but looking back through my school reports – all twenty one of them – I seemed to have coped reasonably well academically. Some of the reports though make me giggle, either because of the way it was written, or because of what I had got up to. I thought you might like to have a giggle at some of them too, I’ve even dug out some of my school ‘mug’ shots!

  • On leaving Goring Primary at the age of 7 years; ‘Rebecca is a pleasant quiet girl. She works with confidence in maths’

  • On arriving at Manadon Vale; ‘Her work is consistent and she reads well, though with a tendency to read too fast’

  • After 2 years at Manadon Vale; ‘A very relaxed, natural child who works well at all times.

  • On leaving Manadon Vale; ‘She is needs to be less anxious when tackling new areas of mathematics as often her fears are unfounded; she is not expected to master this work at the first attempt.

    Her charming personality will be missed when she leaves us!

  • After a year at Enborne; ‘Has a lively, inquisitive mind. She answers questions sensibly, and is full of original ideas when faced with a problem.

  • On her musical contributions at Enborne; ‘Rebecca always participates enthusiastically.’

  • On leaving Enborne for secondary; ‘It has been a pleasure to teach such a co-operative, conscientious and well mannered girl

So far so good then! I never did slow down with reading though and am happy to say I still think laterally and fortunately have become less anxious over learning new things. What on earth, however, is a natural child? I was born in wedlock, so goodness knows what this teacher was on about! However let’s turn our attention to what happened at my two secondary schools.

  • at the end of the first year at St Bartholomews: Rebecca has had an excellent First Year and is developing an air of quiet confidence

  • some tiny cracks were appearing in the second year; ‘I hope she will regain her characteristic efforts in French

  • and the cracks were still there in the third; ‘Rebecca does not always learn thoroughly‘, fortunately however the overall report was good ‘She has good social skills, she is confident in communicating, has a wide variety of interest and treats people with respect and kindness

  • On arrival at Warden Park; ‘Punctuation is generally sound, thought there is a tendency to use commas where full stops are needed. Spelling, too, is basically accurate.’

  • After a year; ‘Occasionally, Rebecca misses the point and becomes confused but I hope she will ask should the need arise

  • Just before the final exams; ‘She should get some high grades in certain subjects. In others, there is evidently some hard graft still ahead.

I was pretty pleased with the results in the end, but wish I had taken more care in deciding what to study at sixth form. I overstretched myself there and it was not helped by my college. It became very apparent at sixth form that I struggled in examination conditions. The college recognised the problem and in fact highlighted it repeatedly in my reports. However they didn’t actually help me to understand exactly what I was doing wrong, and consequently I failed to get the results I was probably capable of. Now 30 years later I know I have a tendency to not fully answer questions. I become side tracked or think I am being asked something different to what I am! Still they got one thing right I do ‘tackle everything with verve‘!

PS if you are reading this on your tablet or phone, I know the layout looks a little weird I’ve been playing columns and timelines in Gutenberg! It looks great on the laptop 😉

69 thoughts

  1. What a little sweetie! I’m not entirely sure what natural child is either, but natural is a word I would apply to you, now I’ve thought about it.

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  2. Lovely pictures, especially the cheeky looking one you’ve used as the header! It must be tough being a teacher and having to come up with sensible comments for 30 different children. I would take natural as a compliment meaning doesn’t put on an airs and graces.

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    1. Thank you 🥰 yeah I don’t envy the teachers. I have to write reports for our student volunteers and some years it is a challenge being original!

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