Getting started with new parent reports - creating templates

This help guide will show you how to create a custom template for use in Insight's updated parent reports tool.

The parent reports tool has been a feature in Insight for a while now and with its latest update, it's even easier to design your own reports containing all the information you want to convey to parents.

The design of your parent report is defined by a template. The template is a simple word file containing bits of code known as placeholders, which tell Insight what information you want displayed on the report and where on the report you want it located. And because it's a Word template, you have total control over the design, right down to colour scheme, background, images, tables, and logos. You can make it completely bespoke to your school.

There are 4 main steps to creating a parent report: 1) design your template, 2) upload your template into Insight, 3) enter the comments for each pupil, 4) export your reports.

The new parent report tab on the pupil page

First, let's take a look at a pupil in Insight. When the new parent reports tool is added to your system, you will the pupil page has an additional tab:

This differs from the previous system where the pupil information was located in the parent reports area of the cohorts menu. It makes more sense for it to be located here in the pupil page.

Note there are five main functions on this new tab: three dropdown menus to select academic year, term, and template; a download button to export the completed reports; and a Teacher Comment box. The dropdown menus and download button are fixed entities, but the comment box is defined by the template you have selected.

Click on the Template dropdown menu to reveal the various template options:

The Custom template is the default; the other options (EYFS, Phonics, KS1, KS2, objectives) are legacy templates that had a single purpose (e.g. to report the KS1 results). The new system will allow you to build a template that combines all these into a single parent report that contains comments, pupil information (including attendance), termly assessments (including test scores), statutory assessments, targets, and objectives.

When you have designed and uploaded your own template, it will appear alongside the others in the template dropdown menu, and you will be able to select that to create reports to your own specification.

Previewing the default custom report

But first, let's see what the default custom template looks like when it's exported. Enter a comment for the pupil in the box provided, click the Next Pupil button to save it (note the green tick by the pupil name in the list, which indicates a comment has been made), and then click the download button. This will generate a preview of the report:

Our report - based on Insight's default, custom template - shows the pupil name, their class, teacher assessments across the year, and a comment from the teacher. It's basic but it's a start, and we can modify this template so it contains more information, or even start from scratch.

Note that the reports can be downloaded in either PDF or Word formats.

The parent report templates admin area

It is unlikely the custom template will meet your requirements so we need to build a new one. To get started, click on the Admin button on the taskbar:

and select Parent Report Templates from the Admin menu:

The Parent Report Templates screen has two windows: on the left is the list of templates, which will match the list in the dropdown menu on the pupil page; on the right are the placeholders, which are used to define what information will be displayed in your reports.

The placeholders are the critical components of the report because they tell Insight what information to include and where to put it on the page. Initially, you are shown a list of placeholders relating to pupils details - name, class, year group, attendance, etc - and these are likely to go at the top of your report. Click on the Display Placeholders for dropdown to see the other options:

By clicking on the various options, you can generate placeholders for assessment and progess data, objectives, comment fields, and statutory assessments. Once you have generated the required placeholder simply click the Copy button and paste it into your template. Insight will then know to include that data in the specified location on the report.

Downloading the custom report template

Let's get started by downloading the existing, default custom template. We can use that as the basis for our school's own report format. Click on the Custom template name, highlighted in blue text:

This will open the template in Word:

If you compare this template to the preview report shown above, you can see how the two relate. The placeholders - the code that defines the content of the report - are contained within squiggly brackets, and here we can see placeholders for name, class, termly assessments for reading, writing, and maths, and the teacher's comments. The preview we looked at previously contains all this information.

Designing a new report template

We could start with a blank Word file and copy and paste the required placeholders to build our template from scratch, but in this case, we are going to modify the downloaded default (custom) template instead.

First, let's add a table to the Word template with 2 rows and 2 columns and copy some placeholders into the cells of the table. In this example, we have added placeholders to show name, year, class, and attendance.

Text outside of the squiggly brackets will be down on the report. For example, the words Year, Class, and Attendance will be fixed headings.
As with any Word document, you can change the font type, size and colour, and make the text bold, underlined or italicised. Make good use of Word's tools to build your template.

Remember: to copy the placeholders, return to the parent reports admin area in Insight and click the copy button beside the required placeholder:

Adding additional assessment data to the template

Now let's add some more assessment data to our template. Again let's add a table, this time with 2 columns and 3 rows to contain some test results:

Return to Insight's parent report admin area to generate the placeholders, which will be pasted into the empty cells of the table. Click on the dropdown menu and select Assessments:

Now we can generate the placeholders we need to instruct Insight to add the test results to our report. In this example, we have created placeholders for reading and maths test scores and reading age assessments for the summer term, e.g.

Again, copy the placeholder to the template using the copy button. Our template now looks like this, with a table to show test results beneath the main table of teacher assessments:

We can add additional, explanatory text to the report template. A note has been added beneath the test score table to provide some explanation of the test scores.

Adding effort grades

Insight is capable of storing any data in any format, and an assessment of effort is no exception. We can create a mark scheme to capture this information and once active, you can add it to your report template.

Contact Insight support if you'd like us to create a mark scheme for Effort, or any other type of data you want to collect in Insight.

Many schools provide parents with effort grades alongside attainment data and if that information is stored in Insight, it can be automatically added to your reports. Assuming you are collecting such information, we can generate a placeholder for it. Return to the parent report admin area and select Assessments from the dropdown. Then generate the placeholder for effort grades:

These have been copied into a new table in the template:

The report will now display the pupil's effort grades for reading, writing, and maths.

Throughout this help guide, we have referred only to reading, writing, and maths. You can of course include assessment data for other subjects - for example, foundation subjects - if that data is stored in Insight.

Adding additional comment fields to the report template

Our template currently has just one comment field titled Teacher Comment, but it is highly likely that other comment fields will be required. For example, you might want to record comments on pupils' achievements in individual subjects, list their targets for the coming year, or provide a field for a headteacher's comment.

In the parent reports admin area select Comments from the dropdown menu and generate placeholders for any additional comment fields you require. These will then appear in the parent reports tab of the pupil page when the relevant report template is selected. Here, we have generated placeholders for two new comment fields: targets and headteacher's comments:

Again, copy the placeholder using the button provided and paste it into the desired position in the template.

Add titles above the placeholder to provide structure and clarity to the report

You can continue adding placeholders to your template to display any other relevant information. Schools that track learning objectives may want to add that data to show pupils' achievement in key areas of the curriculum, and for those pupils that have taken national assessments (e.g. phonics, KS1 and KS2) there is a statutory responsibility to report the results to parents. Placeholders for objectives and statutory assessments can be generated by selecting the relevant option from the dropdown menu in the admin area.

Uploading your template

First, save your template, giving it a meaningful name so it can be easily identified by teachers when they are adding their comments to Insight. Once saved, we can upload it to Insight.

In the parent reports admin area, click the Upload New Report Template button, find your saved template and upload it:

You will now see a new template in the list on the left-hand side:

Using the new template in the pupil page

Let's return to the parent reports tab of the pupil page. You should now have a new option template list - our new report template. Select that option:

And we should see the additonal comment fields that we added to the template in the previous step. Add some comments and then click the Next Pupil button. This will save the comments for that pupil for the selected year and term, and move on to the next pupil in the list. A green tick will appear beside the pupil name in the list to show that comments have been saved.

A comment will need to be recorded in each field for the green tick to appear.

Previewing the report

Once you have entered comments for each pupil, all that remains is to download the report. Click the Download Report button (highlighted in screenshot above). This will generate a preview where you can select PDF or Word format.

Our new report shows all the new information specified by the placeholders added to the template including attendance, effort grades, test scores, and comments.

You can have as many templates as you like. You may require different templates for different year groups or key stages.

When you are happy with the format of your report, click the Download Reports button. If you want to change it, go back to the saved template, make the required alterations including adding any new placeholders, and then re-upload it. To replace the current version, click the Replace button. This will overwrite it:

If you have templates you no longer require, you can delete them using the button shown.

You can design your template how you like. Try adding your school logo and motto at the top of the page, and experiment with different fonts.

We hope this help guide has been useful and that you now feel equipped to build your own report templates. If you have any questions or feedback about Insight's new parent reports tool, please get in touch.

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