Parent Reports - Creating and Managing Report Templates (pre release feature guide)

This guide is for a new feature, currently being trialled. See our parent report guides for the current functionality.

Parent reports, in Insight, are almost entirely customisable, to suit your needs.

Admin users can customise Parent Reports, which may then be used by teachers, or other users, to generate reports in bulk.

This guide describes how to create a template and get Insight to automatically populate your reports with comments, assessments and other data.

The following five-minute video walks through the main points using a practical example.

Looking for information on filling out comments and completing your reports? Use this guide.
What is a Parent Report Template?

The design of each parent report is defined by a template - a simple Word file which tells Insight what information you want displayed on the report and where you want it located. Because it's a Word document, you have total control over the design, right down to colour scheme, background, images, tables, and logos.

You can set up as many templates as you need for teachers to use when writing reports for parents. You might need different ones for each year group, or a set of termly parent reports and a different set of statutory assessment reports.

We suggest reviewing the built in templates to see if any meet your requirements. If not, you can start from scratch or download a built in template and amend it.

Preset Templates

Insight provides some built in templates. These could be used with no, or minimal, changes or as a start point for your own amended version.

You can see all the templates at Admin > Parent Reports.

The Parent Report Templates screen has four windows. The upper two hold any report templates you have in your school and, on the right, the built in Insight templates. The bottom two windows relate to using Insight to email your reports direct to parents and customising the filename of downloaded reports.

Many of the Insight templates (EYFS, Phonics, KS1, KS2, MTC) are designed to enable reporting statutory assessments. Others (End of Year and Objectives) are aimed at general reporting to parents.

You can download, tweak and use all of these to suit your school, and/or design additional templates to meet your needs.

Lets look at how to view and amend the built in templates first.

Editing the built in parent report templates

You can see a preview of the template by clicking the name.

To return to the template list just click Parent Report Templates in the breadcrumb trail link at the top.

It is not possible to edit the built in templates directly. To use a built in template as a start point for your own click the create a copy link beneath the template name.

This will copy the template, save it and open it with the editing tools enabled.

Firstly, you'll probably want to rename the template to something more applicable to you. Click the Rename button to do this.

Depending on the template you copied, there might be errors indicated in the Placeholders tab. Placeholders, and how to resolve these errors, are covered in the next section but this just means that the Insight template included a reference to something which differs to your school setup; a subject name for example.

To make the changes you'll need to Download Template. This will save a Word file which you should then open, ready to edit. Read on to learn about how the Placeholders work.

Starting a new parent report template

To get started, make sure you're on the Admin > Parent Reports page.

If you've already copied a preset template, skip to Customising a school template.

If you're starting from scratch, or a report design you already have in Word, you'll need the new template creating in Insight first.

Click New Template to see the options.

New template

If you just want to start from scratch click Create a blank template. A template with some basic content and tips will be created, and a preview displayed. Click Download Template and then open the downloaded Word file.

If you already have a parent report as a Word file click Create a template from a Word file. Don't worry that it may be missing required edits at this stage. You'll be prompted to browse for your file and upload it. Then it will be shown as a preview.

Customising a school template

Here, we'll walk through how to use an existing parent report in Word as our start point. If you've downloaded an Insight template the process is the same, only you'll already have some Placeholders.

Open your report Word file ready to edit.

Make any layout and content changes you need; adding any boxes and headings etc.

Here is a report, as a blank template, similar to ones you may already have in school.

Right now, I’d need to fill this in this for every pupil, typing or pasting comments and data in.

Lets see what we can do to get Insight to complete all of that for me.

Firstly, the actual layout and visuals of the report can stay exactly as they are. Insight will be quite happy with almost any Word file. The school logo, for example, can just be included as part of the Word file and it will appear in each pupil report.

So all I need to do is tell Insight what to fill each of the boxes with.


All parent reports will consist of a combination of "static" pieces of information, which don't change from report to report (such as the report headings and your school logo), and "dynamic" pieces of information, which do change from report to report (such as a pupil's name).

In your template, the dynamic content is defined by placeholders. These are the elements contained by curly brackets (also known as braces), for example {First Name} and {Comment: Teacher Comment}. Think of placeholders in your templates as stand-ins for the pieces of information which will be different on each report. They allow you to draw information from Insight and determine where to put it on the page.

To see the available placeholders, click the Placeholders tab on the preview page.

If the template already contains any placeholders they'll be listed on the right. All the available placeholders are shown on the left.

all placeholders

You can copy placeholders from the Parent Report Templates page. Initially, you'll see a list of placeholders relating to Pupil Details - Name, Class, Year Group, Attendance, etc - which are likely to go at the top of your report. Click on the Display Placeholders for dropdown to see the other options.

You can copy placeholders for Pupil Details, Calendar, Attendance, Assessments and Progress data, Objectives, Comments, and the range of statutory assessments.

Let's make our way through our blank report and add in the necessary placeholders.

Pupil Details and Calendar

At the top of the report we have our title section.

Without using placeholders, the template will need changing for each year group and pupil, or if I want to use the same template in another term.

Firstly, we want the placeholder for Year Group, in the Pupil Details section.

Clicking the small Copy icon allows me to then paste the placeholder into my report.

The name placeholders will replace the pupil name in my template, and the class placeholder will insert the correct class name.

The Calendar section has various date and term related placeholders. The ones that begin with Selected will automatically use the selection when you come to produce the reports. This means you won't have to change the template if you use the same one in another term, or year.

The {Current Date: dd/MM/yyyy} placeholder allows you to precisely define how you want the date to appear in the reports. For example {Current Date: mm/dd/yyyy} would display the date in the format 01/07/2023. {Current Date: d/m/yy} would display the date using as few characters as possible, 1/7/23 for example. Using mmm will show the abbreviated name of the month, e.g. Jul, and mmmm the full name, e.g. July. An underscore ( _ ) will insert a space.

Here's the title section with all the placeholders in place.

So you can see, I now have a header that will automatically use the appropriate text for each pupil and time of year.


You can define different comment elements for your reports. Many will require a "Teacher Comment", so a placeholder for this exists by default. Click the + Add Another button to create others. 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. You don't have to use all comments in all reports, of course.

Once added, the comments will be available in the Pupils section > Parent Reports tab for teachers to enter. A separate comment is available for each term if you need it.

For my report, I want comments for Reading, Writing and Maths. As before, just copy and paste the placeholders.

When Insight inserts the comments, it will use the same font and size you use for the placeholder, so be sure to choose the options you want.

Assessments and Progress

All the assessments you use in your school will be available for placeholders.

Just choose the various criteria to build the placeholders, then copy and paste them in.

For Assessments, you can choose between specifying the term you want (e.g. Summer) or choose Selected Term to create a placeholder that will use the term you choose in the main Parent Reports page. The former is useful where you want to include historical assessments in a report. The latter is useful where you have a standard template used multiple times throughout the year.

The range of years available will match the years you teach in your school, as defined in Admin > Change School Settings.

I've used the Selected Term option.

Adding effort grades

Insight is capable of storing any data in any format, and an assessment of effort is no exception. Effort will appear in the Assessments section, and I've included it in my report for Reading, Writing and Maths.

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.

The attendance section includes a number of different placeholders for attendance data. The attendance values will be the ones for the current academic year that are in Insight at the point you create the report. Changing the academic year will not change the displayed attendance.

Statutory assessments

The Statutory Assessments placeholders (EYFS, Phonics, KS1 and KS2) enable you to meet your obligations to report these to parents. There are Insight provided templates for these also.


If you are recording Objectives assessments, it may be useful to report these to parents as, for example, recent achievements and things to work on. See the Adding Formative Objectives guide for detail on adding, and configuring objectives.

Uploading the completed template

Save the completed Word template ready to upload.

In Admin > Parent Reports choose the applicable template from the School Parent Report Templates list.

Click Replace Template to select and upload the file. The preview will update to reflect the changes. The report will also be available via Reports > Parent Reports for non admin users to run for pupils.

Invalid Placeholders

If the placeholders tab indicates errors, this means that there are placeholders in the template that reference data items missing in your school set up. This could happen for one of the built in templates or, perhaps, if you've imported a template from another school using Insight or just through a straightforward typing error. The report will still work, it will just ignore any invalid placeholders.

For example, if you copy (or use) the built in End of Year template it comes with a number of subjects that you may not be using. It also includes an Effort grade. If the template has placeholders for Effort, but you don't record an Effort grade, then this would represent an invalid placeholder.

To help fix placeholder errors Insight will indicate why the placeholder is invalid. You may need to add subjects or other measures to your school setup. Or you may just need to alter the placeholder text to match the setup you do have. Some elements, such as comments, can be added by any admin user. Others, such as Effort, will require Insight support to add for you. Just get in touch if you need any help with this.

Invalid placeholders are also indicated when you preview a template in Reports > Parent Reports.

You can click Show details to see which are invalid.

Filename Download Settings

When you come to export the Parent Reports, via the main Reports > Parent Reports page, it can use useful to specify the filename format to suit your needs.

By default, Insight names the reports using the pupil full name. Use the section on the bottom right of the Parent Report Templates page to customise the filename.

You can use a combination of placeholders, as dynamic text, and any other text you want to appear in every filename.

For example:

{First name} {Last name} End of year report

Filename changes apply to all templates downloaded as per pupil. You may need to change the format if you're downloading multiple template types and require different filenames.
Email Settings

See the Emailing parent reports guide.

Deleting Parent Report Templates

Deleting a template will permanently remove it and it will no longer be available to use going forward.

Of course, it could be recreated if you still have the Word template file.

The only exception is if you have sent a report home, using the email feature, and then deleted the template used for that report.

In this scenario, the deleted template will still appear in the Reports > Parent Reports Template list but it will be greyed out and include deleted in brackets after the name.

Selecting a deleted template will show the standard list of pupils and whether an email has been sent or not.

Email links are available to parents for six weeks. Once all links are no longer valid, the deleted template will cease being available to select.

This function is to ensure you are always able to access any live email links, and unapprove or resend them if needed.

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