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Annual Reports: why so important?

12 August 2020 Share

Annual reports may not be the highlight of your year, but they are the key to unlocking engagement

Annual reports; they take ages, usually they get skim read at best, so why do them? There are a few key things here which are worth unpacking. 

  • Annual reports don't have to take hours and hours; once you've got the right format, it's about the data and you can collect that as you go. Don't collect everything - what will your SLT want to read about?
  • They may not be read by everyone you want, but try adding a few questions at the beginning, or during your performance review/line management meeting; this can raise engagement. 
  • People will read about what they want to know about, so make sure what you're reporting on aligns with the school's aims. 
  • It's good to show what you've achieved with the funding (even if limited) you've been given. Highlight ways you've helped staff or supported priority pupils; point out what you could have done with a little more funding. Link it back to the library and school development plan. 
  • There's an important principle at stake; are we a member of the staff working to help the school reach their aims or not? If not, why would we get funding? If we are, why is doing a report that shows what we've achieved a bad thing?
  • It's a useful reflection practice - if something isn't making it into the report is it worth the time/energy? If there's a box from the school development plan which hasn't been ticked, is there something you could do next year to support? Plans for next year come from reflection on this one. 
  • Use the report as a starting point; turn it into a video, a cartoon, a Sway. Use your pupil library helpers. If a report won't get the attention of your line manager what would? What are their preferences and priorities? Play to them. 
  • Not being accountable in schools, and not demonstrating what we've achieved, can mean that we're not seen as being a part of the accountability team; so if something is really important it will go to someone that is. 

And if none of that convinces you, do it for you. Reflect on the year and recognise your achievements; things you've tried, speakers you've had in, teachers you've helped, pupils you've encouraged. These are the life blood of why we do what we do, so take stock. Here's some of our resources to help:

And if they seem like a bit much, start off smaller, do a Termly Review instead; and as always we're here to help with anything you need.