What Are The Right Student Expectations for My Child?


  1. What are student expectations? 
  2. How do I set the right expectations as a parent? 
  3. Student expectations and rewards 
  4. Setting student expectations for your child FAQs

After a long summer of rolling eyes, refusing to eat at the table, and sluggishly flicking through mindless Netflix shows, getting back into the swing of the school year can be hard. This is why knowing the right student expectations for your child is crucial. 

Fear not, the team at GoStudent are here to help with everything you need to know about student expectations for the new school year. ✅

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What are student expectations?


The best way of thinking about student expectations is as a framework that helps your child succeed in school and grow as a person. As a parent with back to school 🎒 upon us, the main question on your mind is probably: what are the right student expectations for my child

The first step in understanding student expectations is to visit the school’s website to see what they have to say when it comes to rules and policies. Here we are going to cover: 

  • Knowing the school behaviour policy 
  • What if I can’t find the school’s behaviour policy for student expectations? 
  • Should my child be socialising more? 


Knowing the school behaviour policy 

Every school has what is called a ‘behaviour policy’. A behaviour policy is basically the school rules. It is usually presented as a document where the school outlines: 

  • what the school student expectations are
  • what rewards students get when they follow the students expectations
  • what the sanctions or consequences students get if they fail to follow the rules

Every school will have slightly different student expectations in their behaviour policy. Generally speaking, they all tend to include the following ideas and concepts 💡: 

  • Complete all of your homework on time and to the best of your ability 
  • Follow classroom rules set by your teacher – they sometimes vary teacher to teacher 
  • Wear the correct uniform – this sometimes includes a strict coat policy
  • Be on time – if your child is persistently late to school, you might want to read our guide on how to get them there on time
  • Use an inside voice – some kids just love to be loud 
  • Be prepared for class – this means to turn up with the correct books and school stationery 
  • Be considerate and respectful to teachers
  • Show respect for school property and other students
  • Stay seated during classroom activities and events – it is important to ask for permission to get up. This might sound harsh, but it really helps the teacher keep control of the classroom. 
  • Help each other – collaboration and teamwork are important life skills which all schools expect students to learn
  • Work quietly and follow directions
  • Raise your hand before speaking
  • No extreme haircuts – many schools in the UK now ban dying hair ‘unnatural colours’ and any stripes. Some schools may send your child home if they come in with a cookie-monster-blue trim – as cool as it might be!

As well as this list, each and every school has its own rules (some of which students or parents may not necessarily agree with). It is important to bear in mind that the school has probably set these rules because of problems they’ve had to face in the past. 

It is important to remember that the school’s expectations go beyond the school grounds: they also expect good behaviour outside the school including in public and at home. 😇 This is because behaviour policies, school rules, and student expectations all tie into the school mission and values.

It might be a good idea to read through the school’s behaviour policy with your child. As well as reminding them of what they already know, it reminds them that both you and the school take the student expectations seriously. 

While most children like to push boundaries when it comes to behaviour, there are ways to positively manage challenging behaviour in children. Remember, if your child’s behaviour is out of control at home, you can talk with the school for support. 


What if I can’t find my school’s behaviour policy for student expectations? 

Schools sometimes don’t make it easy to find their behaviour policies and rules because they’re considered internal documents. It’s worth noting that these documents don’t always make for ‘happy clappy’ reading, unlike school leaflets or other parent-facing communication. 🤦

If you can’t find it, we suggest that you do a google search: [SCHOOL NAME] behaviour policy’ and Google usually finds a link straight to the policy. Another thing that you can do is email the school reception and request a copy be sent to you and they should be willing to help. 


Should my child be socialising more?

Some kids make friends quickly whereas others struggle a bit. It is ok if your kid isn’t socialising as much as Ms Jones’ daughter. Just remember, children develop at different stages and shyness in children is normal. It is also ok if they have one or two close friends instead of dozens of casual friends. 

If you are worried that your child isn’t making friends, maybe check out our post about how to help your kids make friends

It is always good to encourage your child to take part in an extracurricular activity; for example, there are loads of benefits to joining the school debate club – including the possibility of making new friends!


How do I set the right expectations as a parent?


Sometimes it can be hard to know how to set the right expectations as a parent. Here are two options for you to consider: 

Parent A: 

‘Look at Mindy Jones! Look at how much she does! Why aren’t you more like her?!’ 😡

Maybe this isn’t the best approach… 

Parent B:

‘Hey I saw that the school has a debate club. How about you try it out next week? If you don’t like it you don’t have to go again.’ ☺️

Parent B is taking a more constructive approach. This has a better chance of succeeding in engaging a child. One of the things you might notice is that the second example sets an expectation without even framing it as an expectation. 

When it comes to school rules, it is sometimes worth having a conversation to remind your child of what is expected of them. Saying something like:

‘I had a look on your school website and they said it was important that you bring the right equipment. Did you bring your calculator for maths today?’ 

It is almost always best to reinforce expectations with positivity rather than negativity. 

Depending on your child’s age, you might need to explain to them why certain student expectations are important. This might involve creating a scenario or roleplaying so that they can see the impact of not following a certain expectation—such as not being careful with bringing their calculator to maths class

If your child struggles with meeting student expectations, it might be worth starting with two or three expectations (without minimising the importance of the others) and going from there. It might even be something as simple as ‘I’ll get you a reward if you manage to go two weeks without getting a detention’. 💫

Some students struggle to behave themselves in school because they are overwhelmed with their academic learning. One of the best ways to support your child here is with some specialised one-to-one tutoring. There have been many cases where tutoring changed a child’s attitude to school and learning.


Student expectations and rewards


Rewards are an important tool to motivate children and foster learning. As well as radiating positivity, make sure that you celebrate your child’s achievements. Even if it doesn’t seem like a lot, telling your child that they’ve done a good job can sometimes make their day – this is true for both parents and teachers! 

Some parents like to have a points based system. Every time their child successfully meets an expectation, they get a point and a certain number of points builds up to a reward. We all prefer the carrot to the stick! 

Never underestimate the power of a star chart! ⭐

But why do children need rewards? Many children, depending on their age, don’t understand what is the right or wrong thing to do. For example, a younger child might not understand why it’s not really ok to scream with excitement in a quiet space. 🙉

The idea of self-restraint for the consideration of others isn’t something that kids are able to immediately grasp and apply in their daily life. But sweets on the other hand, that’s easy to understand.

As a parent you want to find a balance between rewards and teachable moments where you can engage your child on how to behave and why in different situations. Just remember it’s a marathon not a sprint! 

As your child grows up they will eventually learn that we do the right thing because it is the right thing to do and we’re not necessarily always rewarded for it—but that doesn’t stop us from trying to be good people and meet expectations. 💁


Setting student expectations for you child FAQs


These are some answers to common questions about student expectations.


What expectations do teachers have for students? 

If we were to keep it brief it would be: 

  • Turn up on time to all lessons
  • Behave in a respectful and considerate manner 
  • Complete all work to the best of your ability 


What is the difference between student expectations and academic achievement?

Student expectations relate to both behaviour (social) and academic achievement (developmental). Academic achievement refers to how well a student is learning: one form of measurement might be exam results. 

Having a student who is achieving top grades and still throwing paper planes around the classroom is still failing to meet student expectations overall.


How do I know if my child is meeting student expectations? 

The best way to know if your child is meeting student expectations is through:

  • your own observations
  • talking with your child
  • talking with their school

Usually you can tell if your child is behaving badly. However, their behaviour at home might not always reflect their behaviour at school. 

As well as asking your child how they’re getting on, you can also ask their school. If you are worried, you have every right to make an appointment with their form tutor. It is very important to have good parent-teacher communication

The school should also send you a report at least once a year and arrange a parents’ evening to update you on your child’s learning and development. 

We hope you enjoyed reading this article and you're more confident in knowing what student expectations to have of your child and how to assert them. If your child isn’t quite meeting their academic expectations, you might want to consider signing them up for some one-to-one tutoring with GoStudent – the trial session is free!

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