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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?

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.

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.

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

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

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

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.

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.

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.

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.

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...

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.

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.

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.

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!

"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.

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.

cory Wed 12-Dec-12 10:54:08

I'll go one further: I really really would like to do anything to help dd's current school meet their targets because they recognise that some things are not in my power.

MummytoKatie Wed 12-Dec-12 10:50:30

As some one who has had a toddler with a chest infection that has turned into a horrible stomach bug I applaud these measures.

Currently I am getting into work at 7am, working until lunchtime, coming home to relieve poor vomit splatted husband who then goes to work whilst I clear up vomit for the afternoon. We then put dd to bed, work all evening and collapse into bed only to be woken 3 times by poor dd.

However, I am a mother who cares about dd's education so in two years in this circumstance I will be able to drop her at school with a clear conscience. When the (vomit splatted) teacher calls to ask me to pick her up I shall explain how important attendance is.

I never knew virtue was so rewarding!

cory Wed 12-Dec-12 10:49:47

I think the key has got to be good communication. A school with good communication with parents, which manages to get across in a positive way how important their child's attendance is, will imo have a better chance of succeeding than one that is known for not supporting parents with problems. Dd's former school was totally unsupportive and it didn't make me feel very loyal to them. Her present school is incredibly supportive, and I really really would like to do anything to help them meet their targets- as long as they recognise that some things are not in my power.

OutragedAtThePriceOfFreddos Wed 12-Dec-12 10:45:15

So many of the posts on here are talking about how unfair this is to children who have genuine reasons for absence, and I agree. 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.

While I can see that awards for 100% attendance is like using a sledgehammer to crack a nut, I think something does have to be done about parents who have so little consideration for the rest of the class that they think its ok to take their children out of school whenever they feel like it. So many parents lie to the school and phone to say their children are sick, but then the children come in the next day and tell the truth.

I've already asked on this thread, and not been answered, but does anyone have any better suggestions on how to tackle this problem?

OscarPistoriusBitontheside Wed 12-Dec-12 10:41:18

Again why should parents who are utterly selfish be rewarded? If a poorly child is sent to school to gain their 100% attendance certificate it is generally fulfilling a patents need to gain bragging rights about little janes wonderful certificate and general marvellousness. Whilst my ds comes home in tears having been warned about his attendance! All legitimate reasons. Car crash, sent home, sent home, tonsillitis, sent home. The times he was sent home was because others had sent children in with d&v!

One parent even brought their poxy child to a whole school assembly FFs!

cory Wed 12-Dec-12 10:32:48

I am loath to mention anything that could be taken as criticism of dd's current school, because they are absolutely wonderful and will get their reward in heaven. But it does hurt a little bit that dd, who has had to fight so hard for her education and who has sacrificed so much, will be the one who isn't allowed to go to her prom.

tethersjinglebellend Wed 12-Dec-12 10:27:25

"One method of awarding bonuses and payrises on attendance - so if you have any hope of your child acquiring and holding down a job, a little bit of real world is beneficial."

This would only be an accurate comparison if bonuses were awarded to you for how often your parents went to work.

"Why shouldn't my child be rewarded for going to school eveyday and not making a nuisance of himself?"

He can make as much of a nuisance of himself as he likes. Technically, he could set fire to the school every day (exclusions notwithstanding) and still receive an attendance award.

Was going to comment on how rediculous these awards are but the reasons have already been repeated again and again so I will go bang my head against a wall instead!
Rewards should be for achievement and encouraging others to strive for the same not for something out of anyone's control.

Oh oops sorry catsmother!

FlaminNoraImPregnantPanda Wed 12-Dec-12 09:44:51

One method of awarding bonuses and payrises on attendance - so if you have any hope of your child acquiring and holding down a job, a little bit of real world is beneficial.

If you were at all familiar with the Equalities and Human Rights Commission website, you would know that this constitutes indirect discrimination and is unlawful.

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