A History of Mediocrity

While sorting through old photo albums at the weekend, a big red album titled “This is Your Life” was re-discovered. My other half compiled it for my 30th birthday – twenty years ago now – and it has somehow survived hidden away in a dark corner of the book-case.

While flicking through the pages of the album, a small paper booklet fell onto the floor – titled “School Report”. I looked through it with my eldest daughter this lunchtime. She laughed a little bit more than she should have.


A good set of reports, Jonathan. Try to involve yourself with more noticeable enthusiasm in some subjects.

Miss Baston, Form Teacher

He understands the work quite well but shows a rather casual attitude at times.

Mrs Ball, Mathematics

He has tried hard to achieve quite pleasing standards and his rate of progress has been sound.

Mr White, Chemistry

Has worked very well in all aspects of the subject, and has attained a pleasing standard of work.

Mr Lloyd, Technology

Has worked steadily, and has maintained a satisfactory standard.

Mr Bradley, Physics

His examination revealed his poor appreciation for the concepts involved this year.

Mr Davies, Biology

After missing a large part of the energy topic, has worked well and should pursue science next year.

Mr Bradbury, Combined Science

Has made steady progress. He could consider as an exam subject – he is capable of obtaining a good grade if he applies himself.

Miss Baston, French

This pupil has shown some interest in the subject. In my opinion he would benefit from taking this subject next year.

Mr McCullagh, History

Finds difficulty learning facts. He knows the basics, but must revise in more detail. Excellent illustrations. Very quiet. A little shy. Must ask questions, and work faster.

Miss Foote, Geography

Produced a good term’s work and his examination result was exceptional. Has a great deal of potential for further study.

Mr Jones, Technical Graphics

Enjoys music and could gain some benefit from an examination course. However he would need to concentrate on listening skills.

Mrs Hawker, Music

Has had some success with his basic skill repertoire, and shown a limited knowledge of tactics, and the rules of play.

Mr Maskery, Physical Education

It’s amusing looking back. This series of reports – from the spring of 1987 – coincides with computers entering my life. I remember getting into trouble with the English teachers (who’s report is strangely absent) for “mailing it in” for the first half of the year – and having to sit with one of them and explain myself.

There’s also no art teacher report. I’m not sure why. Perhaps the year was broken into blocks in the run-up to choosing exam subjects? Art was the one subject I never had to try at – I could always just do it, and got good reports with no effort whatsoever.


Thought you might like to see these. I think it helped make my eldest realise that nobody is good at everything (apart from my other half, who get top marks across the board). I think perhaps I was guilty of doing “just enough” throughout school.