Class records – just what should we be sending up with our class at the end of the academic year and what should we be expecting to receive with the new class that arrives?
There are 3 categories that we need to be both preparing for and looking for….
- Official pupil curriculum records
- Comments and observations from the previous teacher
- Personal information e.g medical notes, family information etc
Official curriculum stuff:
As usual, I can only give you a broad based guide to this as it will inevitably vary from school to school. But expect some or all of the following
- Pupil tracking folders (may be individual or as a class) – these usually are summaries of how the pupils have progressed term on term in the core subjects .
- Curriculum tick lists on statements and dates of achievement! (I am not a great fan of these!)
- Possibly individual pupil work example folders – work selected to illustrate progress across the year – this may also be cumulative as the pupil progresses through the school.
- Special needs folders for any pupils in your class – these will include all information for IEP’s etc
- Personal education programme folders for any pupils on a school SEND register
- Basic reading levels and progress
- Possibly ongoing exercise books (Art, computer science..)
- Photographic record album for the class
All the above will arrive before the end of term in plastic crates for you to fill your shelves….do you look at it all – the politically correct answer is yes…in reality it’s probably no and will get looked at as the term / year progresses. The only ones you do need to be aware of are the files on Pupils with special needs.
Comments and observations from the previous teacher:
These are important and your school may or may not have set aside time when teachers can meet together to “swop notes.”
If there is no set time or no “school tradition” on this then you must make sure you meet with your previous teacher for a chat. This must be done BEFORE the end of term because these notes will help you in preparation for September.
So what sort of things do you need to know?….
- Basic achievers level especially in the core subjects – get to know who is high and who are the strugglers.
- Any pupils with talent in other areas of the curriculum.
- Pupils with confidence problems or need lots of encouragement.
- Seating – who can and who can’t sit with each other.
- Homework aspects – literally who does and who does not do their homework and any home / family reasons associated
- Attendance problems – late arrivals
- P.E kit and any problems with pupils not wishing to do P.E
Personal Information and medical notes:
These are specific things associated with identified pupils and yes you do need to know this stuff!
Medical needs are very important and some of these will require information to be displayed in the classroom (not the personal side of things but some practical information) – these will also have to be displayed on a personal level in the staff room.
The usual ones are asthma inhalers but of course there may be various allergies that you need to know about and possibly the use of an Epipen (although this is generally taught to either selected members of staff or even the whole staff at times). Whatever the needs of children you are receiving you must be medically aware of their situations.
Family issues – again this is personal information,but you do need to be aware of family situations because these can directly affect children depending on the home situation. There may be need, at any time, to take action as a result of this either on a formal school level (by informing relevant staff) or indirectly in your interactions with that particular pupil in the classroom and school environment.
Family situations can be vastly different – but do not make the mistake of thinking that family issues do not occur in more affluent areas – they do….so always be aware.
It is the comments and observations from the previous teacher that I always find very useful. If you have your chat before the end of the academic year then you have all the “personal information” you need to look at over the summer. By having all the information you can then start to work on your seating plans for the classroom and also your “initial groups” for the curriculum. It gives you a great starting point for the curriculum and also eliminates any nasty surprises that may occur in the first couple of weeks.
Of course, as the 1st term progresses you start to gather your information and opinions on the children in your class and your teaching, personal and social interactions and support will adjust accordingly.
As we approach the end of the academic year, it becomes time to collect things together. Your class have generated a huge amount of work and progressed in leaps and bounds! As the pupils move forward so all the accompanying records and information need to move with them. Along with all the boxes of formal records and files make sure that the “informal” information is also passed on to to the next teacher….it may be just personal views but they are just as important and in some cases more so!