I have written many school reports over the years.
I always tried to be as positive as possible, particularly as for a great deal of my time I was working with children who had a history of academic failure.
Teachers vary in their approach to the task; in my experience, academicians were more interested in grades than individual personalities, whereas I think I erred in the opposite direction.
I have never forgotten one interview I had with a parent on Report Evening.
Her son's report was in every way satisfactory; he was in the top set for most subject areas, very seldom needed correction, was popular with his peers and seemed to enjoy school life.
The reports were in book form, with a page of termwork comments and exam results for every subject, as well as summary comments from both class and year tutors.
I had written my comment with due care,endeavouring to sum up his not inconsiderable achievements and expressing my pleasure at his efforts.
I mentioned his sense of humour, his reliability and his kindness to others.
Her comment was;
"I'm not interested in how kind he is. I want to know his marks."
I pointed her to the correct page, and she left.
I presume she had all she needed to know.
Good to know that her son had reached a higher level in the class list that year.....
Here are a few comments from the end-of-year reports of some very distinguished members of society.
One is forced to conclude that a few of the individuals concerned made great strides during their teenage years!
These are all from a little book called 'Could Do Better.'
I hope they are all true!
Uppingham School,Rutland, 1970 - 1972
He has glaring faults and they have certainly glared at us this term.
1971 I have nothing more to say
1972 English: Bottom, rightly.
Headmaster's Report not a happy figure, I fear. However, if Mr. Frowde is prepared to soldier on,so am I.
SIR NORMAN WISDOM
Last report from Army Education Course examination
The boy is every inch a fool but luckily he's not very tall.
Although I doubt any possibility of his ever being promoted,he may get sufficient marks to obtain his proficiency pay, and who knows, with a little bit of luck,he may perhaps, in time - about twenty-one years - get a pension.
DAME JUDI DENCH
The Mount School, York
Headmaster: Judi would be a very good pupil if she lived in this world.
Rokeby School, Wimbledon
It would seem that Briers thinks he is running the school and not me. If this attitude persists one of us will have to go.
Dudley Girls' High School
PE I do believe Sue has glue in her plimsolls.
English If she applied a quarter of the effort she puts into clowning, to her work, I venture to say she could be quite brilliant.
Godolphin School, Salisbury
Jilly has set herself a very low standard which she has failed to maintain.
City of London School,1865
Aged 12, headmaster's Report
There was nothing left but to place before him the opportunities of self-improvement,simply to put the ladder before him, and up he went.
SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL
Constantly late for school, losing his books and papers and various other things into which I need not enter.
He is so regular in his irregularity that I really don't know what to do.
Good abilities made useless by habitual negligence.
LORD DAVID OWEN
Mount House and Bradfield College
If I had to select an expedition to go to the South Pole he would be the first person I would choose.
But I would make sure that he was not on the return journey!
Can be a scruffy urchin, must be a decent citizen. Rare moral courage has not made him a prig.
NOBEL PRIZE WINNER, CHEMISTRY 1986
Manchester Grammar School
Form masters report Though he seems to view his schoolmasters with amused and olympian contempt, the present illusion of a superior mind is usually shattered by a display of abominable ignorance.
He is a lazy observer and lazy in acquiring the solid factual foundations of knowledge.
He could work hard.
Shrewsbury School, Shropshire
I think he is just a teeny bit pleased with himself - or so I am prepared to hazard.
SIR PETER USTINOV
He shows great originality, which must be curbed at all costs.
He doesnt really hit the ball hard enough but he calls his partners to run with such conviction that one would believe the ball was speeding away....
his conversation keeps his side amused and his efforts to avoid having to field are ingenious.
He is a cheerful chap but no cricketer.
Sometimes I think he is just a spectator who has strayed.
This is not his game, but he bore it nobly.
St,Christopher's School. Letchworth
1942, aged 6years,11months
His most popular asset is his love of story-telling,he does this chiefly at dinner-time and there is a great demand to sit at his table. Michael has not yet learnt to work quietly and this can be very tiring.
Michael is more considerate and reasonable but alas! If there is anything to be done he is generally missing.
Michael's progress of last term has not been maintained.
He is cocksure and is it really a defence?
He has the reputation of being movie-mad and should try to take up some more creative hobby.
All wonderful, in their own way!