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To think school attendance parties and certificates are a good idea?

(165 Posts)
Liketochat1 Tue 11-Dec-12 08:53:39

I've been having a discussion about school attendance initiatives such as parties at the end of term for 100% attendance or bronze, silver and gold certificates for varying levels of attendance.<p>
What do you think about these initiatives? Are they a good idea? Do you support schools' decisions to implement them or do you think they are unfair as sometimes children are absent for sickness and can't help that? Does that possibility mean those children who have made it in everyday should not get recognition and a scheme which stresses the value of school attendance and aims to support parents in getting their children to school should be scrapped?
What do you think? AIBU?

12ylnon Tue 11-Dec-12 11:02:56

I think it's an awful idea. If a child is ill, then they're ill, theres nothing anyone can do about that. People, especially children, need to rest if they're ill.
What about if they had a long term illness- can you imagine how awful that child would feel for not being able to attend?
Anyway, if a child in DSs school is ill, i'd really prefer for them to keep it at home and not be encouraged to attend if they're sick.

ReallyTired Tue 11-Dec-12 11:08:20

Its only a little bit of paper at my son's school. There is no massive party for children with 100% attendence. Why get your knickers in a twist that your child has not had a little red piece of paper signed by the head. Its hardly the prize of the century.

I feel attendence is important even if there are "no academic issues". Poor attendence means children don't reach their full potential.

Schools and employers are varied and have different ideas on what is considered important. The world of work is extremely varied and some jobs have strong emphasis on expecting you to be on time and there in person. (ie. teaching!) A few employers do offer bonuses for having no time off sick all year.

I think there are far bigger issues in schools than attendence certificates. Within reason head teachers should be at liberty to do as they see fit.

Pandemoniaa Tue 11-Dec-12 11:09:20

If your attempts to conceal your occupation weren't so very pisspoor, I'd be more inclined to help you write your article.

As it is, I shall simply say that until someone develops school attendance scheme that doesn't penalise absence through sickness, they remain an exceptionally blunt tool to bludgeon children and parents with.

goldenlula Tue 11-Dec-12 11:11:03

A sticker reward is ok in my opinion but actual physical rewards in terms of a party, gifts or money is wrong. Children can not help if they catch a bug and need to be excluded for 48 hours. I think these rewards encourage parents to send children into school regardless of if they are contagious and results in more children being ill and some will have responsible parents who follow the guidelines as it should be. I have 2 in school, neither as yet have had cp but when they do they will need to be of school for a week, hardly their fault is it? I feel having a party for children who have not missed school is punishing those who have due to illness.

moajab Tue 11-Dec-12 11:19:20

I don't have a probelm with certificates as our school seem to give out so many for different things that no child is really going to be upset if they don't get an attendance one (although that does make them a bit pointless!)

I think having parties for 100% attendance is stupid and cruel. All it will do is encourage children to come into school with D&V bugs, chicken pox etc.,as they wont want to miss their party. And it's punishing children for something that is not their fault. I know schools want to boost their attendance figures but seriosuly a child with D&V needs to be at home.

shinyrobot Tue 11-Dec-12 11:19:45

I really do not like them, like others I have a ds who always gets the 100% attendance certificate and then my dd who has a medical condition that means she is often too unwell to go into school, lots of hospital appointments etc who misses out.
I spoke to the head and they now do not count days where she is off with her condition or for a hospital appointment which does make it fairer. I still feel uncomfortable with rewarding good luck. I do recognise that there are parents who allow unecessary time off, I would question whether a certificate would really make a difference in those circumstances though.

TheWave Tue 11-Dec-12 11:43:45

Agree with many other posters, don't like them at all. Reward other things and work with the families who have "issues" around attendance.

We3bunniesOfOrientAre Tue 11-Dec-12 11:51:33

It would be even harder to persuade dd2 that sometimes she can't go to school. I had enough of an ear bashing when she had to have 48hrs off due to vomitting. How could I and school 'disrupt her learning'. If they are sick then they are sick. I do like the idea more of a party for good behaviour, children can learn to have more of an influence over that.

I am a journalist and you sound like one to me!

But regardless - I think they're awful. My poor nephew (who does feel things very deeply) was devastated when he went down with swine flu during the epidemic. After a horrible couple of weeks and a course if Tamiflu he returned to school just in time to be excluded from a cinema trip. It's just shit. And for those children who do care, cruel.

Goldmandra Tue 11-Dec-12 11:57:56

Rewarding children with 100% attendence is not punishing the non attenders anymore than not giving a 5 metre swimming certificate to a kid who can't swim.

The child who has the swimming badge has made and effort to learn something. It is a reward for an achievement.

My DD isn't able to attend 100% of the time through no fault of her own. Why should she and a small group of others be made to sit on the floor and feel singled out while the vast majority of the school stand up for a round of applause and a certificate every half term?

I am all for children celebrating each other's achievements and she'd be happy to applaud any child or small group of children singled out because they have worked for something, whether she has achieved that thing or not.

I am not in favour of rewarding the majority, thereby singling out a minority of children who are unlucky enough to be prevented from attending school through illness or disability.

Startail Tue 11-Dec-12 12:04:15

DD1 won't get two weeks perfect attendance house points.

If she'd gone to get her medications checked last Friday she would get this weeks.

If she had she would have missed an important test, yesterday she missed PE which she isn't in a fit state to do.

Which ever way you look at it, it's daft.

ReallyTired Tue 11-Dec-12 14:03:28

What do you think of children with a an appaulling punctuallity record being given a star chart. Ds has been promised by the head that if he manages an entire half term with no lates he will get a kit kat. (He doesn't care about the possiblity of his parents getting fined.)

Surely that is is unfair on the children who have never been late and don't have a star chart.

Prehaps some schools go over top about attendence.

Liketochat1 Tue 11-Dec-12 14:05:44

I have clearly missed my calling as a journalist. I'm looking for a career when the children are all at school, perhaps this should be it! I feel a bit flattered actually.
Thanks for giving your views. I was a teacher and a trained Ed psych before I became a mum and am thus interested in education and discussing it. I've thought these initiatives were a good idea as I feel there are lots of ways for children to be rewarded and recognized in school- attendance being just one of them. If a child doesn't win an attendance prize- they might win an achievement or effort one, the prize for being the most friendly, well mannered, most organized and so on.
I felt that if even one child in every school is encouraged to attend school because of these schemes, like having a party for attendance, then I felt they added value. Because of course for lots of children getting to school isn't all that easy. Many don't have parental support so have no breakfast and dress or get to school alone. If these initiatives, alongside a wider support network, help a child in this situation, then I see merit in them. Obviously LEAs, head teachers and Ed psychs who consult each other when planning these initiatives think so too.
Anyway, the majority believe I'm 'unreasonable' to hold these views. Fair enough. I also apologize if some people don't like the tone of my posts but can assure you all I'm not a journalist.

ZZZenAgain Tue 11-Dec-12 14:08:01

I really don't like the idea of attendance parties and attendance certificates

That's a different issue entirely. It's working with a child whose attendance is an issue. Handing out rewards for 100% attendance at primary school doesn't incentivise anything. It's like rewarding people for having naturally blonde hair.

IWipeArses Tue 11-Dec-12 14:14:13

But if those children without support have already missed a day, exactly how would there being a party they're already excluded from help?
The LEAs, head teachers and Ed psychs who think this would help need to look at the bigger picture.

Having a party doesn't help those children who are suffering because their parents can't be arsed to take them to school. In fact, the idea that it's rewarding those children who've managed to get themselves to school despite their parents will only put those children off more. It says, 'not only are your parents feckless, but you aren't doing enough yourself. Look, little johnnie got himself to school every day, so why didn't you?'

How about schools think about the children in their classes and come up with ideas to help them all, rather than applying short-sighted, and often very lazy, one-size fits all reward strategies?

naturalbaby Tue 11-Dec-12 14:17:52

children should be rewarded for effort, not how many days their parent/carer gets them to school on time.

ReallyTired Tue 11-Dec-12 14:20:07

I think that certificates are Ok, but a party is going to far.

It would be interesting to know what initiatives actually work for improving attendence. This is an area for research rather than ponificating on a mumsnet thread.

Prehaps LEAs and head teachers need to look at which schools have good attendence and copy good practice. (Comparing socially similar schools.)

LoopsInHoops Tue 11-Dec-12 14:25:32

You have a nanny and are a SAHM? confused

You can't just look at other schools and copy 'good practice' because their situation probably isn't identical to yours. You can get ideas from what other people do, but you really have to think about the circumstances in your own schools, and individual classes, and the individuals within those classes.

There is loads of research about improving school attendance in all sorts of circumstances. A significant chunk of it is about the need to work with families and communities so that they value sending their children to school and are motivated to do so. Handing out perfect attendance certificates may be cheap and easy to do (which is by it's so bloody ubiquitous), but they hardly address the actual issues that underlie attendance problems in primary schools.

Pandemoniaa Tue 11-Dec-12 14:37:12

Disregarding the perfectly reasonable reasons why some children can never achieve 100% attendance (many listed above so I shan't repeat them) it was always my experience that the very parents who were not motivated to send their children to school were precisely those who wouldn't have given a toss for a certificate, let alone a party.

I am a believer in tackling problems as they occur rather than introducing initiatives that can only be unfair if applied across the board.

The school my dc go to seems to have a good balance with stuff like this.

They focus on making the children want to be at school - they line up outside and have a bit of competition about which class is ready to go in first and that sort of thing (stuff all kids can take part in).

They also reward 100% attendance on a week-by-week basis. Basically on a Friday afternoon all children that have been in all week go into a draw. 2 kids then win 2 free items from the 'healthy' tuck shop and get to go first in the queue. It's a more manageable chunk of time, the kids seem to understand that sort of time period better and because the 'award' is a prize draw it doesn't single out people who have been off.

YABU crap idea ds has had 2 bouts of sickness this year and had time off when his terminally ill nanna died. Dont see why he should miss out a party because of this. bad idea which wont be well received i dont think. manage attendance individually and plan parties for whole school

ouryve Tue 11-Dec-12 14:43:06

YABU.

I can just see the certificate "congratulations, your wee precious never succumbed to gastroenteritis by day and was brave enough to share the flu virus with the whole class, but never had a day off"

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