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?

tethersjinglebellend Wed 12-Dec-12 11:19:42

"But no one has any suggestions on how to prevent or at least encourage parents to send their healthy children into school instead of taking an extra day for their weekend break, or to send them in instead of going out for lunch for Grannies birthday or whatever."

Any consequence for the things you describe should be for the parents, not the child- the most effective consequences may differ from council to council or even school to school... But I would really like to know why attendance is targeted above other factors shown to have a greater impact on children's educational outcomes, such as household income and continuity. There is no consequence for children of parents who earn very little or move frequently. I am not suggesting that these parents should face a consequence, just that these are also factors in children's education which need to be addressed.

cory, I actually find it worse when an otherwise great school insists on implementing such a system of attendance awards.

"But no one has any suggestions on how to prevent or at least encourage parents to send their healthy children into school instead of taking an extra day for their weekend break, or to send them in instead of going out for lunch for Grannies birthday or whatever."

Call them into the school. They might not come, but they'll know they've been rumbled. It's their bad behaviour, not the child's.

Differentiate between authorised absence (eg known disabilities, hospital appointments) and sick days. Ask for doctor's notes for persistent sick-leave takers.

cory Wed 12-Dec-12 11:45:29

But please don't ask for doctor's note every week for children with a known chronic condition. They are £20 a shot!

blackeyedsusan Wed 12-Dec-12 11:48:32

it is possible that attendance certificates and parties reduce the school overall attendance levels. some parents/children are swayed by this to try and attend whilst poorly, thus infecting several of their class mates/siblings and some of whom may be more prone to getting poorlier with the same infection... their parents keep them off school and the children are, in effect, punished because another child wanted a certificate.

No, cory, I quite agree. Anyone with a known chronic condition should be left to get on with it, they have quite enough on their plate.

ArcticRoll Wed 12-Dec-12 11:51:19

No I think it's a terrible idea; you will be rewarding parents who send in ill kids and making children with chronic health conditions suffer even more.

Well indeed blackeyedsusan. There's someone in my office who prides himself on coming in no matter how sick he is. And so we all go down with it... it would be better for all of us if he'd just stay home and confine his germs to his own sofa...

the school i work at and send dcs to send letters to parent either thanking them for sending children and supporting school in meeting targets or that their dc is below average and will be monitored. I have called parents in and said X has been telling us about his holiday/baking at home/shopping etc. parents are often very embarrassed and don't do it again. We also send certificates and have attendance rewards which i hate and am trying to stop The parents who these are aimed at really don't care so they do nothing except dishearten dcs.
I think the only solutions are to toughen up and call parents in when absence is suspect and differentiate between authorised/unauthorised absence.

Lancelottie Wed 12-Dec-12 12:04:48

It must get very dispiriting too for the admin staff who have to send out pointless 'attendance' letters.

The last one of these I've had came after the school had repeatedly sent my child home because they were fed up of listening to him coughing. The previous one came in the same post as the 'sorry about your appendicitis' card from the child's classmates.

Both times I phoned up and asked what the point was, and both times they said not to take it personally, it was just something the HAD to send out.

Goldmandra Wed 12-Dec-12 14:43:30

Both times I phoned up and asked what the point was, and both times they said not to take it personally, it was just something the HAD to send out.

That's the thing isn't it? This is about HTs being seen to do the right thing, not about implementing strategies which can be shown to be effective or proportionate.

When my DD was in a very bad way and was getting unreasonably distressed by the thought of having to sit amongst a forest of legs being looked down on by the masses of 100% attenders, I kept her at home on the days it was happening. I did tell the school my reasons and had the backing of the CAMHS psychologist. This meant that their policy actively damaged their own attendance figures.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Wed 12-Dec-12 15:34:09

To me the answer is in recording authorised and unauthorised absences, so if sick and school is informed its authorised if a child just doesn't show up, its unauthorised.

IWipeArses Wed 12-Dec-12 16:45:15

That's how they do it, it's all counted as absence though.

StepAwayFromTheEcclesCakes Wed 12-Dec-12 18:36:54

Oh sorry, thought it would make sense if only unauthorised was counted.

Goldmandra Wed 12-Dec-12 19:11:40

Oh sorry, thought it would make sense if only unauthorised was counted.

People would just call their children in sick more instead of being honest about taking them on holiday.

Hulababy Wed 12-Dec-12 19:15:42

Can't see the point in attendance certificates and rewards myself, esp at primary level - and I talk as an ex-teacher, a parent and a now-TA.

Primary children have NO influence over if they get sent to school or not.

The reward, if any, should surely be directed to the parent/responsible adult.

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