Report Writing Timeline: 5 Easy Steps to be Time-Effective

One of the best principals I ever had (shout-out to Allan) always sat down at the beginning of the report-writing period and provided his teachers with a report writing timeline.

 It was gold because everything was laid out, and we knew exactly what Allan expected of us and when. It was also an amazing guide to stop report cards suddenly creeping up on you the night before they were due.

Now, not everyone has one of these magical principals that provides a clear report writing timeline to make the process easier. Often, it is quite the opposite… we are left to our own devices, and it becomes a very dreaded time of year for teachers.

Well, we are here to be your Allan! Although his report writing timelines have been long thrown out, we have put one together that we know could benefit you (especially if you like bigger tasks being broken down into small achievable chunks.

Stick with us, and we will help you have those report cards written in no time!

Report writing timeline Image: Canva 

Report Writing Timeline for Primary Teachers

Pre-Planning (Before Report Writing Week): 

Start by setting out key dates and milestones so you are ready for report card writing when it comes around (use this blog post as a guide – you may want to add or subtract things depending on what your school expects).

Record any deadlines as you get them for each phase of report writing to avoid last-minute rushes. We like to mark them in a bright colour on our planner so we don’t miss them. 

We have previously written a post outlining 6 things you can do to prep in advance for report cards if you have some extra time up your sleeve. Read it here.

Planner new grad teacher 

Data Collection (Week 1):

Batch similar tasks to make this step easier and quicker. Dedicate specific time blocks for data collection, focusing on one subject or class at a time. This minimises context switching and improves efficiency.

As you record your data, use the same format you are expected to use in reports. For example, if your school uses the A-E system, mark, grade, and record using A-E. If you have an assessment where students get a mark out of 20, you need to align the marks to the A-E descriptors.


Assessment and Evaluation (Week 2):

Allocate concentrated time blocks for reviewing and evaluating each student’s performance. Avoid multitasking during this phase to ensure accurate and thoughtful assessments.

If applicable, use grading rubrics or assessment criteria to quicken the evaluation process.

We also love exit tickets as a quick assessment if you need to check specific skills.

Rounding exit tickets

Drafting (Week 3 and 4):

Divide report writing into segments, such as academic achievements, areas for improvement, personal development and comments. Focus on one segment at a time to maintain clarity and coherence.

Remember to take regular breaks during the drafting phase. Short breaks will help you stay refreshed and maintain writing quality.

We recommend setting up a checklist for this drafting phase so you can keep on top of all the small tasks you need to complete.


Teacher tip: If you have trouble concentrating for long periods of time, try the Pomodoro Technique in the drafting phase.

The Pomodoro Technique involves breaking work time into focused, concentrated blocks (e.g., 25 minutes) followed by short breaks (e.g., 5 minutes).

Use these breaks to get up and move, refuel with a snack, and hydrate with a glass of water. 

Pomodoro technique for report writing


Editing and Finalisation (Week 5):

Dedicate specific time for thorough editing and proofreading. Consider enlisting a colleague for a peer review to catch any overlooked errors (you could swap reports to help each other). 

Reserve the last day or two for a comprehensive review of all reports, ensuring consistency and accuracy.

Teacher tip: We like to do this final step at a coffee shop while enjoying a treat!

Teacher writing reports RSC

Turn in Reports and Review any Changes (Week 6):

One of the most frustrating things about reports is once you hand them in, you can’t mark them as complete. Keep time in your calendar to review any changes you need to make once leadership has read them. 

Computer and desk - Technology tools for teachers

Celebrate (Week 7):

YAY! You’ve written another set of report cards and it is time to celebrate. Do something you enjoy as a little reward for making it to the finish line. 

Report writing checklist

Additional Tips for Writing Report Cards:

  • Batch Similar Tasks: Group similar tasks together, such as writing comments for a particular section across multiple reports.
  • Keep a personal copy: Record your data and comments on a spreadsheet or doc before you copy them into the report software. Technology is great, but you don’t want to lose all your hard work if it crashes. 
  • Eliminate Distractions: Minimise interruptions and distractions during focused writing sessions.
  • Celebrate Progress: Acknowledge milestones reached throughout the process to stay motivated.


We hope this report writing timeline helps you manage your time effectively and reduce the stress associated with report cards this year.


Need a helping hand with setting up comment and word banks? We have created our Report Companion that includes ready-to-go report comment formulas, word banks, sentence starters, and example comments. Click here to get your hands on a copy!



“Such an amazing guide and tool to support you through report writing, From structure, to do and don’ts, to fantastic examples – it has it all!” Emma ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


What to read next:

How to write report comments in less time

12 Report Writing Productivity Strategies

Why I ENJOY Writing Reports



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