Wednesday 18 April 2007

don't know much about a science book...

I was a bit of a geek at school.

Actually, I think my over-developed sense of responsibility probably peaked when I was twelve years old and Head of School. I was a shockingly upright citizen, and thankfully it's all been downhill from there.

When I was clearing out the stuff my mum and dad have been storing for me, I came across a stack of my old school reports. The earliest dates from Christmas 1985. I was 11 years old and had just completed my first term in the sixth form. I was considered a good candidate to sit a scholarship exam in the summer of 1987 and so had been pushed up through the years and was now effectively a year ahead of myself - I was now studying with people who were almost a year older than me and would be leaving that summer, whereas I would be staying on another year.

Not that I'm intellectually vain or anything...

Anyway. Here it is:


Name: SwissToni
Age at beginning of term: 11.6
Average age of form: 12.3

Mathematics Set B
Term's Work Position: 3rd/3
Exam Position: 3rd/3 (paper 1 - 42%, paper 2 - 34%)

I have been delighted with ST's progress this term - not only in terms of improved examination scores but also in terms of his self-confidence. Although many gaps still remain to be filled, there is definite light at the end of the tunnel.

[ST's note: God, but I was shit at Maths]

Term's Work Position: 7=
Exam Position: paper I - 1st/5 (71%), paper II 5/5 (30/50)

ST has not found sixth form work particularly easy and is still finding his feet but he's a naturally hard worker and I feel sure he will come through strongly next term. He wrote an excellent paper I in the examination.

French (Set B)
Term's Work Position: 5/5
Exam Position: 5th/5 (27/50), 5th/5 (51%)

After a somewhat unhurried start to the term, ST began to pick up speed and eventually rounded off his performance in top gear. Now, he is beginning to master his weakness in the subject and he has become more confident in his own abilities to succeed. Let this continue please!

[ST's note - how did I get a French girlfriend again?]

Term's Work Position: 5=
Exam Position: 2/5 (56%)

ST has taken trouble and worked hard for much of the term. He wrote a good essay in the exam.

Term's Work Position: 5=/9
Exam Position: 2/5 (66%)

ST still lacks confidence in himself but he is improving all the time and his exam result shows that he is well on course for next year.

Term's Work Position: 4th/9
Exam Position: 4th=/5 (53%)

ST has made a good effort in the subject this term, doing well to end high up in the form. His slightly disappointing exam performance revealed several areas in which he remains weak.

Term's Work Position: n/a
Exam Position: 1=/5 (80% - What can I say? me and God, we're close)

ST has worked thoughtfully and effectively. He wrote a very good exam.

Term's Work Position: 5/5
Exam Position: 2=/4 (57%)

Although he still thinks that Latin is too difficult, ST has made great advances and has time for even further progress.

Term's Work Position: Set B 5/5
Exam Position: Set B 4/4

Although at the bottom of the sixth form Greek sets, ST has had a much better term and he has produced some good pieces of work. He must not be deterred by his undistinguished exam performance!


ST has found the exhibition projects hard work this term but has successfully completed the course. Art is a subject ST finds rather difficult due primarily to a lack of confidence. However, he should be proud of the work he has completed this term and the new techniques he has mastered. Very well done.

Grade achieved: approaching grade III

ST is a keen student. He has a good ear and his tone is round and firm. He needs to pay some attention to phrasing. He should be ready for Grade III early next year if he sustains his efforts.

Formteacher's Report

ST has worked steadily and conscientiously and is an asset to the form. As he matures he should find himself capable of achieving his ambition.

Housemaster's Report

Behaviour: C
Humour: C
Personal Hygiene: C
Self-Organisation: D

(A=excellent, B=good, C=satisfactory, D=Poor, E=very poor)

Overall contribution to community life: ST has had a happy term
Health report: There have been less complaints than usual from ST this term!
General Comments: ST has had a good term on the whole. He is however somewhat disorganised.

Headmaster's Report

A very encouraging set of reports. ST has come on well and has shown much promise for the future. He has been a member of the school's general knowledge team and has been helpful as a librarian, chorister and lesson reader. He is a keen scout and enjoys judo and table-tennis. A good start to his VI form career.


I suppose this provides an interesting window onto the life of an 11 year old boarding school pupil, but I find reading it a somewhat chastening experience. In my head, I was always a brilliant student. I got that scholarship. I did well in all my public exams. I got a decent degree. I did a masters degree. I'm bloody good at pub quizzes. My intellectual arrogance has clearly swollen in the last 20 years. I know I wasn't very good at subjects like Maths and French and I know I was competing here against people who were older than me.... but it's still quite humbling to read all these people saying that I was doing okay but had a long way to go.

Perhaps I should read them more often.

(It got worse before it got better - by Easter 1986, my Greek teacher was reporting that "ST has made little progress this term and his exam performance was again very poor. I fear that we have reached a psychological stalemate which I can only resolve by taking him off Greek next term. I do so reluctantly!" I remember it and it was a mercy killing. I just couldn't get the hang of a language that had a different alphabet.)


  1. Greek and Latin - that really is what you would call a classical education...

    Incidentally, I'm sure I saw Vynny the mini out on the highways and byeways of WB the other day - guess that would have been you behind the wheel then.

  2. My reports frequently said things like "Cat coasts along, making minimum effort" (not even "coasts along nicely!) and that I "lacked confidence".

    I hated every second of school. I went to a not very high performing comprehensive and was bullied mercilessly for being bookish. I suspect most of my classmates would be diagnosed with ADHD if we were in school now, whereas at that time they were just deemed disruptive. Not exactly the best environment for a shy, bespectacled girl!

    I'm proud of what I went on to achieve at university - a BA honours degree and postgraduate degree - but feel that I would have done better had I gone to a more academically-orientated school.

    No marks at my place for personal hygeine, but I suspect I'd have done well on the hairspray and eyeliner front if nothing else.

  3. I'm confused.

    I get the whole you being pushed up a year thing but isn't sixth form what you do after your GCSEs when you're 16 or 17? Here you're doing sixth form stuff at 11?!

  4. AH Swiss, this made me chortle like a drain!

    I must root out my old school reports and put a selection up for posterity. From memory, yours are a lot more generous than mine were!