Wednesday, 2 January 2013

You'll enjoy this. My School Report, aged 4½.

I first posted this in July 2010, but consider myself academically confident enough to do so again.
It's probably true to say that Cro did not have a 'brilliant' start to his academic career. Day dreaming, Painting, and Fishing for Tiddlers in Farmer Bell's pond; all took priority over Latin, the dates of Historic Battles, or the confused workings of Mathematical Theorems.

Above is my very first proper school report from this small private school in East Grinstead, Sussex; the headmaster of which was the brother of Patrick Gordon-Walker, a well known politician of the time (The headmaster of my next school also happened to be the grandson of Gladstone)... I WAS 4½ YEARS OLD!!!

English: Quite good.
Writing: Fair, and will improve (Idiot! Of course one's handwriting improves after the age of 4).
Stories: Pays full attention.
Maths: Must try harder.
Nature study: Shows no interest.
Games: Noisy and rough (Yessss!).
Art: Quite neat and tidy (Nonsense!).
Handwork (?): Needs more care.
Singing: Good (I've always loved singing).
Conduct: Very disobedient (Some things never change).
General: A very uncooperative pupil.

Headmaster's Report: He must try to be more obedient and sensible. He has been very difficult to control this term, and has made little effort.

So, there we are; a 4 year old who obviously enjoyed singing and listening to 'stories'. I quite expect that what I really wanted was to be LEFT ALONE, have the occasional wound patched-up by an attractive busty white-clad nurse, and be given a lump of raw meat to chew from time to time (Yes, I really did eat lumps of raw meat).

I'm sorry I don't have the school photograph with me in France that accompanies this report; it's hilarious. It shows a group of maybe 150 perfect, clean, charming, smiling, happy, well dressed, angelic little children, with just one horrendous scruff-bag sitting in the middle of the front row. Guess who that was? Happy times eh!

OPEN LETTER. To the now long-dead teachers of Highfield School (especially SS). I eventually did pretty well in my 'Common Entrance' exam, which enabled me to go to a highly academic upper school, got enough qualifications to go to university  and ended up with a 1st Class Hons degree in my chosen subject. So I can't have been ALL BAD. You simply overlooked the fact that I had 'Artistic Temperament'.

So, SS (Miss Sargent) and Mr Gordon-Walker, you can stuff your report! I just regret that I was too young to suggest that you did so at the time.

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  1. At the age of 13 my gym mistress wrote on my report "She manages her length well" !!! My father upon reading this thought the teacher needed some English lessons! In the end I did turn out to be 6ft tall!!

  2. 4 1/2 is too young to write a report for.

    From 5 -7 I got 'pleasing progress'. From 8 - 13 I got 'Could do better' and from 14 - 17 it was 'average'.

  3. I had a dozen different schools but my favourite reports were always from the Games Masters; usually along the lines of "Never attends".

    This was always patently untrue, since I often turned up if the lessons were indoors and it was raining or outdoors and the weather clement, I just never joined in and there was nothing, but nothing that they could do to make me ...

    1. I've just been watching the UK news, and it seems that there are two Lancaster Bombers flying over Lincs; keep your head down!

    2. Thanks for the heads-up, I've taken the cover off the ack-ack installation and sent Mavis into the village to buy some ammunition.

      I watched the "Dambusters" film (again) yesterday - spine tingling stuff, I'm not at all sure that I would have been anything like brave enough.

  4. My mother kept every single one of my school reports and a year or two ago suddenly decided I should have them. Hand carried from Germany they made depressing reading with words like, introverted, lonely, does not fit in, takes no part in organised extra curricular activity, easily distracted but then an addendum noting that I was a keen member of the local rifle club. Nowadays some shrink would have had me locked up!

  5. I am constantly telling my son in law that his 4 year old son is not capable of being naughty, he just creatively checks out boundaries and uses every waking second to learn new things. How is it possible for a 4 year old to be described as disobedient ? just craziness....seems you turned out alright though.J.

  6. You sounded like a pretty normal four year old to me.

  7. What importance we gave to those report cards. I remember handing mine over (sealed, of course!) to my parents and actually not being able to breath while it was being opened. Such stress, such nonsense!
    Something, thankfully neither Rudy nor I imposed on our kids - we always told them "Just because someone says it, it doesn't make it so."

    1. And having been a teacher myself, I know exactly how, and in what mood, these things are written!

  8. I taught 4 year old boys when I was younger. Many years later, there are still quite a few that stick out in my memory and it is not because they were well behaved. However, I thought they were fun and interesting to be around. I loved challenges.

  9. I once overheard a first grade teacher in our school tell a very involved parent "I know your child better than you ever will" .....I thought the parent was going to throttle her! It was over some minute behavioral issue. Nowadays everything is based on how well kids do on standardized tests here...filling in those bloody circles with a number two pencil. Creativity is given very low favour so we can turn out mass produced average intelligence humans who have little interest in creative endeavors or learning beyond the scantron test. Gods forbid if your child is above average intelligence because they will get little attention to their needs while the rest of the class is brought up to average and yours is brought down....

    You sounded like a precocious and fun four year old!

    1. As I said above, I probably just wanted to be left alone.

  10. There you go Cro...what did they know! nothing! wonder in the later years of their lives as they perhaps heard of you along the way did they brag that they had taught you..well done in your life's journey.

  11. I've a feeling your school teacher and my kindergarten teacher were related. In the end, i turned out all right, no thanks to her.

    You sound like a normal four-and-a-half-year old to me.


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