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 😉