www.Poundswick .org.uk

School Reports

Individual performance was officially recorded on School Reports which were issued twice per year: at Christmas and at the end of the summer term. I well recall taking mine home - with some trepidation - for my parents to read. They were quite detailed affairs with half-termly assessments and then a final exam result with comments written by each subject teacher. An Old Poundswickian who (for understandable reasons!) wishes to remain anonymous, sent in his report for the term ending July 1959 and I reproduce it below. Others of this era will recognise the format and, I hope, find it interesting to compare this with the High School report shown later.

Contributors to this report were:

Religious Instruction: Mr. R. Wilson
English: Mrs K. Fleming
History: Mrs. J. M. Fisher
Geography: Mr. J. F. Scarth
French: Mr. W. J. Grimes
Maths: Mr. W. J. Hutchinson
Art: Mr. F. Mitchell
Music: Mr. F. P. Welton
Handicraft (Woodwork): Mr. A. J. Stansfield
P.E: Mr. F. Herbert
Housemaster: Mr. G. D. Doherty
Note that in addition to the comments made by individual subject teachers there were also sections for comments by Form Master / Mistress, House Master / Mistress and Headmaster, reflecting the school's emphasis that individual academic performance and contribution to the House effort mattered and was recognised at every level, right up to that of the Headmaster himself.

There was also the rather intimidating section "Times absent, Times late, Times in detention, Times on Form Master's / Mistress's report, Times on Headmaster's report". So if you were late, even once, it was recorded. If you were in detention, even once, it was recorded; there was no way of hiding such sins from your mum and dad, who had to sign a form to say that they had received and read the report. Heaven knows what sort of dreadful misdemeanour you had to commit to get on a Form Master's, or worse still the Headmaster's, report. I was certainly never aware of anyone ever stepping that far over the line. [Having written these words, Tony Jawando (1958-65) has e-mailed to say that he recalls one year where every boy except two in his form got on the Form Master's report - usually for relatively trivial things such as not handing in homework. There was even one lad (not Tony, he assures us!) who got himself on the Headmaster's report for persistent failure to turn up for detention. He adds: I don't remember that we were particularly bad, just a little unruly sometimes. All in all, I remember Poundswick as a great school with good and patient teachers, and lots of decent, if sometimes mischievous, pupils. Yes, Tony and I overlapped at Poundswick for several years and I do distinctly remember him having a reputation for mischief!]

Finally on the School Report, and because they were always given out at the end of a term, there was a reminder of when you were expected to be back!

No sooner had I posted this page, with a request for examples of reports from the High School era, than I received the one below from Floyd Adu dated 1972. Floyd says: "It's not one of my better ones, however maybe it does have a message of hope for those who don't appear to be doing very well at certain stages of their education. When I got to the fifth year I began to take work a bit more seriously. I ended up getting four "A" levels, going to university and then became a teacher. Anyway, as you can see from the report, I was definitely having a good time!"

Contributors to this report were:

English: Miss E. Whitman
History: Mr. J. Gilligan
Geography: Mr. R. Rigby
R.E: Mr. J. Yielder
French: Mr. J. Barrett
Classical Studies: Mr. M. Ryder
Maths: Miss M. P. Linton
Physics: ?
Chemistry: Mr. W. H. Nicholson
Biology: Mrs. C. Lily
Music: Mr. C. Holmes
Art: ?
Woodwork etc: Mr. Astin
P.E: ?

Note that the columns for term work are headed "A" and "E", with no explanation of what these stand for or what the grades mean. Presumably they stand for Effort and Achievement, as per the key at the bottom of the 1959 report, with the grades defined similarly. By 1972 the use of percentages and form positions for exam results had been replaced with grades A to E, but again there is no indication what these stand for. Also by 1972, the Housemaster's report section had been replaced by a Year Master's report. Floyd tells us that the Year Masters were very important figures who were responsible for the discipline and pastoral care of the whole year group. Mr. Rigby was Floyd's Year Master from the third year right through to the end of the fifth and then he would have started again with the next 3rd year group, and so on.

Floyd also comments that one difference between his report and the one from 1959 is that by 1972 everyone was called by their first name, whereas the 1959 report always refers to its subject as he. He says "Perhaps this was part of the trend towards a more child-centred approach where we were actually treated as human beings". I can relate to this. In the early days, the custom was for girls to be addressed by their first names and boys by their surnames. Not only did staff use boys' surnames but boys referred to each other by surname too. I remember one occasion when a school friend came to my house, knocked on the door, and when my mother opened it, asked "is Cook in?". My mother subsequently recounted to me how she'd only just managed to restrain herself from replying "Well, we're all Cooks here; which one did you want?". It's nice to learn that by 1972 common sense had taken the upper hand!

However, on a seemingly trivial point of penmanship, it is interesting to note that in 1959 all students (and, from the looks of the report, all staff) were expected to write with fountain pens. By 1972 everyone was using a biro. Even Bill Hutchinson had succumbed! Hey-ho, progress has its ups and its downs!

Here's a sixth-form report from 1969, submitted by Dennis Preston; and, yes, he did manage to pass "A" level Physics despite his abysmal showing on this report! Interestingly, it shows the different format used for sixth form reports, with blank subject spaces filled in by the teachers. Note also the use of "old stock" with Grammar being blocked out and replaced by High.

Contributors to this report were:

Mathematics and Further Maths (Applied): Mr. W. J. Hutchinson
Further Maths (Pure): Miss G. M. Champness
Physics: Mr. T. Owen
Social Studies: Mr. C. P. Blackburn
English: Mr. E. Platt
French: Mr. B. Whitehead

What did school reports look like in the later years; in the 80s and 90s?
If you can show us, please get in touch.