To be fed up of the same children winning all the awards at school?!

(142 Posts)
Bluebell99 Wed 17-Jul-13 10:00:16

My son's school states some such rubbish as valuing each child and encouraging them to reach their potential, and yet it is the same children that are chosen for sports day and awards. Recently the school was awarded a grant, for a specific purpose, and they have used it to organise extra curriculum activities. I was invited to an award ceremony to recognise their achievements. Aibu to be disappointed that the children that won prizes are the same confident children that always win everything, and that there had been some extra invitation only expensive activities that only these kids took part in?! Is it a self fulfilling prophecy, that confident children get these opportunities? I was shocked at how inarticulate one of the popular kids was, who had been sent on a expensive summer school and asked to give feedback. It made me realise how low the aspirations are at this school. And instead of feeling inspired, I am feeling that my children are never going to get opportunities to meet their potential at this school. sad

LaydeeJayne Wed 17-Jul-13 12:22:03

I can see your point OP. DD1 (10) gets picked for every bloody thing going - cross country, netball matches, school plays (started with Mary in reception nativity). She won the academic achievement award this term too. Not sure why.. She is very confident gobby and a bright girl. While I am thrilled for her and proud, I can well see why some of the other parents would be thinking.. Her again?? hmm It is certainly nothing to do with me, I am as uninvolved with the school as they come grin

I am going to get shot down for this but I hate the "everyone wins" thing. Because its not true.

If you have a talent, an ability and you work damn hard to get better and excel why shouldn't you be recognized?

Why should you not get an award because you won last year and it's not fair to the DCs who didn't win?

Why should people not be picked for teams/events even though they are the best, because it's someone else's turn?

My ds1 plays an instrument, he has for about 6 years now. He has never won a prize for it, never represented the school playing it. Because, he isn't outstanding at it. He doesn't put as much effort into it because he puts more effort into sport and school council.

I don't think it's "his turn" to get an award.

Mumsyblouse Wed 17-Jul-13 12:25:55

Some children are just much more visible than others, they are in teams, do well academically, in school plays and so on. Mine are like that, it's partly because they are very self-confident and good readers so are able to learn lines/be relied upon to perform, but it's also partly because we do lots of activities, so my eldest gets picked for the swimming team each year not because she's a brilliant swimmer but because she has been in lessons for years and puts in a lot of effort. They join anything, will participate in everything, choir, plays, teams, after-school sports clubs, so it is not surprising they then appear in teams/plays (not always picked, not ever in a starring role, but just taking part).

I agree the school has to provide opportunities for all talents to be recognised and they do- there are no academic prizes at all (much to my husband's disgust), they do talent shows anyone can enter, anyone can be in the school play, in every class assembly all children speak and so on. But the plain fact is that some children are just good at everything, whether it be because they have a positive attitude and will have a go at anything, or because their family join everything and they get extra experience, it's inevitable these children are more visible in the school as a whole. The school needs to be careful though to encourage the quieter ones to come forward, and I think say them all taking part in each assembly rather than just a few star performers with the rest singing at the back makes a really big difference.

I agree with cory too- mine often have very minor parts in plays (the last one was non-speaking!) or come 4th out of 4 in the swimming competition, but I always encourage them to put themselves forward and try hard, and to cope with disappointment with this, in fact, I think competitions are good for this because it's very important that you can accept losing, or getting a low score, or coming last (as my dd did in all her races on sports day) but keep going.

OnTheNingNangNong Wed 17-Jul-13 12:28:57

FWIW too, my son would love recognition that he has gone from being one of the lowest performers in maths to one of the highest, he's worked hard at it but he probably won't get anything, he will be happy with his 100% attendance certificate, I am sure!

Arcticwaffle Wed 17-Jul-13 12:31:54

I have one child who never wins anything much, one who scoops up every prize going, and one who wins prizes for things like "Creativity". Nothing to do with parental input, one of my dds is highly motivated by prizes and competitions, she's keen (ok, bossy and confident and in your face) and tends to sign up to things, especially if there's a prize. She also has a growing collection of Blue Peter Badges and every badge it's possible to get in Woodcraft folk (which is quite an achievement as it's not an organisation that rates badges and individual achievement much). With the effort she puts it it would be unfair if she didn't get these things.

Our schools try quite hard to reward the quiet and shy children, but even then it's only some sorts of quiet ones - my quiet arty one wins prizes, but my other quiet one tends to be overlooked. It must be quite hard for the teachers.

Cherriesarelovely Wed 17-Jul-13 12:36:52

Well put Evieanne, it's about recognising that talent and ability comes in many forms.

willyoulistentome Wed 17-Jul-13 12:37:42

I have no issue with the best kids at sports being picked for teams etc. BUT. I just don't think that at primary school there should be these awards at all. Success in life / work has very little to do with who was the best at football or maths. It does have a lot to do with personality and confidence. To have your confidence shat on starting in primary is rubbish. High achieving kids will go far whether or not they are awarded 'head kid'. They don't need that extra boost. Less able kids certainly dont need to have it pointed out that however hard they try, they will not get any recognition. Sure fire way to make you stop trying.

Cherriesarelovely Wed 17-Jul-13 12:41:48

I don't agree with awards not going to the person who is the "best" just because it's not their turn either. What I mean is that different talents need to be recognised rather than the same ones all the time. I don't mean that someone should be given a prize for being the fastest runner if they're not!

cantdecideonanewname Wed 17-Jul-13 12:42:02

It's hard because of course children who are good in any given area should be rewarded, however my DD has always struggled at school, we do extra work at home to help her to just keep up with her peers not to excel. She works bloody hard and is classed as being just below average, she recently got a achievement certificate for "working well independently" rather than needing adult involvement to complete her class work, the certificate she got has had the effect of increasing her confidence more, so providing a positive cycle of feeling like she's done well and achieved something so is then able to work better because she feels better about herself and has more confidence so is then more confident in her work.

Recognizing the effort put in by children who try really really hard but aren't the best at anything is also very important.

manicinsomniac Wed 17-Jul-13 12:42:27

At our school every child in the oldest year has to win a prize, all the children are in sports teams and everyone who wants to is in the plays/choirs.

BUT:

1)) We are a private school so we have the money/contacts/resources for more stuff.
2) Prizes for all doesn't stop the fact that some children get one prize and others get 5.
3) Not all children can be on the A teams or have lead parts or be in best choir.

Being an involved person doesn't get your children things either (ime). I'm the Performing Arts teacher and my daughters, who (as is to be expected, genetically speaking) are very good at dance, drama, singing and music will never have the lead part because I am responsible for the casting so I couldn't cast my own children in the best part. And my influence is never going to get my eldest on a top sports team or my youngest an academic prize because they just aren't that good at those things.

Such is life. They do plenty outside of school anyway.

Arabesque Wed 17-Jul-13 12:46:20

Well, if a prize is being given for a specific activity eg singing, drama, gymnastics then the prize should obviously go to the most talented person. But I think a lot of schools also give prizes at the end of the school year to the 'most helpful' student etc to try and even things out and, I suppose, get the message across that there are lots of different ways of contributing to the school/community and everyone has some kind of a talent.

I do remember once winning a tennis prize for 'most improved' and not really being fooled at all smile.

iamadoozermum Wed 17-Jul-13 12:47:57

I have some sympathy with the OP. my DS1 was below average in writing in yr 1, but his teacher says he has been the most improved in his class and was one of only 3 pupils to get a level 3 for his writing this year. But nothing in the awards ceremony which does have awards for effort as well as achievement. It would have been nice for him to be recognised for it IMHO and would have given him a great confidence boost.

MissStrawberry Wed 17-Jul-13 12:48:21

Better than some schools that give patronising awards just to make sure that every child gets one.

Award on merit or not at all. Not just because it is Jimmy/Jane's turn. Not just because you are teacher's pet/the parents donate to school often. And don't not give an award because you don't like the child/parent.

No point sending a child to a club where they don't like the subject or aren't any good at it but by all means every child should have an equal chance to try out to see if they are any good/enjoy it.

Crowler Wed 17-Jul-13 12:51:00

It's just a normal part of being a parent, isn't it?

My oldest is whip-smart. When I think of him, I always feel that it's best to reward achievement because how else will we compete with China!

My youngest is middle of the road. When I think of him, I am incensed at the prospect of him becoming aware of the fact that he's not as smart as his classmates, and I wonder why we must be so brutally competitive with kids at such a tender age.

Parents will always empathize with their own child, and view the world with this bias.

MissStrawberry Wed 17-Jul-13 12:53:13

Dededum - I read your post as your son is good at cheese grin. I was really interested in what he did!

CloudsAndTrees Wed 17-Jul-13 12:55:35

I'm with you OP.

I think schools sometimes need to think harder about what they are actually trying to achieve for their students. Do they really need to show off the best all the time so that the school looks good and they can be proud of their star pupils, or do they want every child to have the opportunity to achieve and feel proud?

You could have been talking about my ds, he was picked for everything. it was nice for him at the time, but it did nothing to teach him humility, or that everyone is valuable. I think he would have been better off learning those qualities at school where he is with his peers, rather than having to listen to me give him that balance when I as his parent should be able to do nothing but praise.

josiejay Wed 17-Jul-13 12:55:39

I think it's a bit mean to comment on a child being 'inarticulate' to be honest. Being bright/popular doesn't necessarily equate to being good at public speaking and it might have been very difficult for that child to stand up and talk.

TheCrackFox Wed 17-Jul-13 12:57:49

I'm not really sure about this TBH.

I have sat through more school performances than I care to remember listening to some golden child sing completely out of tune. The same tune less, yet breathtakingly confident, children get chosen all the time. It is a bit of a chicken and the egg - are they confident because they get chosen all the time or vice versa?

With sport it is harder to fake - you either win or you don't.

I think, though, this is we're high school comes into its own. There is a far greater choice of activities and opportunities and the over looked children get a chance to try and even get good at new things.

manicinsomniac Wed 17-Jul-13 12:58:43

MissStrawberry - the awards don't have to be patronising to make sure everyone gets one.

For example, in the sports section we have prizes for the best player, hardest worker and most improved player in every year group in every sport. So that's 27 prizes per yer group straight off. In the performing arts section we have things like best actor and best actress but also a stage crew award and a technical crew award. For academics there are prizes for individual subjects as well as all around performance. And then there a whole range of prizes for things like citizenship and perseverance as well as specialist talents like chess, dance and outdoor pursuits.

I don't think anyone would feel patronised to receive any one of the 100s of prizes that get given out.

The worries I have with that system are that they prize means nothing because there are lots of them and that, inevitably, some children practically need a wheelbarrow to get their prizes off the stage whereas it has been a struggle to match just one prize to certain children.

I agree that indeed that's life and of course hard workers and high achievers should be rewarded. It doesn't really make sense to do it any other way.

It do sometimes feel sad for the average kid like my son. He is good at sports not great. He try hard at school, but does not acheive high marks. He is always in the 2nd or third row of any performance, never a lead part. He didn't get voted Head Boy or House Captain. He is an average, well mannered quiet kid who has loads of pals and is never in trouble.

The brighter, louder kids getlots of attention, and the troubled kids, or the SEN kids gets lots of attention too (quite rightly). Kids like mine just live under the radar, and I think it's ok to feel sad about that sometimes.

MadeOfStarDust Wed 17-Jul-13 13:07:47

I think some kids are just more "visible" than others - maybe pushy parents, may be confident kids..

my eldest has Grade 3 piano (has piano lessons outside of school) but was never picked to be the "player-of-the-odd-twiddly-bits-in-the-play" because so-and-so "plays so well" and is taking his grade 1 through the school music service. He also got the musical ability award...

Hey ho..

Budgiegirlbob Wed 17-Jul-13 13:09:39

My DCs primary school only has a couple of awards at the end of each term, one is the House Cup, won by the house with the most house points, and the other is the Citizenship Cup, which recognizes the overall contribution to school life by an individual, and includes attitude, effort etc rather than achievement alone.

They do have an assembly each week, where one or two children are awarded a certificate, some for academic achievement ( xxx did well in spellings this week) or effort ( xxx made excellent effort with times tables this week)

I think this is ideal at Primary level as it recognises that everyone deserves recognition if they have made progress or effort, and at that age it is not just about ability but also effort and behaviour.

None of mine were ever particularly pleased to receive a certificate for 'sitting smartly on the carpet' though !

I do think it is different as you reach secondary school though, as older children are better able to recognise that awards should go to those with the greatest ability.

SHarri13 Wed 17-Jul-13 13:10:19

Interesting topic. I think from my short school experience (eldest just finishing reception) that there seems to be a mix. Some children are genuinely talented, others receive things because their parents arse lick.

LadyEnglefield Wed 17-Jul-13 13:21:39

I believe that the children who work hard and develop the talents they have is just & right and that they should be rewarded/recognised.

However, ensuring that all children win some sort of award isn't necessarily patronising.

My DCs' school has a weekly "Achievement" certificate for each class and which all children win at least once a year.

Its not just for so-called high achievers but for any child who has worked hard to do something that they found difficult.

The certificate is presented by the HT in assembly and the children are extremely proud to get one.

muppetthecow Wed 17-Jul-13 13:22:56

I'm preparing myself to be flamed here, but just want to point out that the gifted kids aren't all necessarily the happiest/most confident...

My sister was a capable, yet average, student in most things, and very seldom won anything at school or otherwise regardless of effort. She is a very happy, confident young woman with a really healthy attitude to life. I, on the other hand, constantly feel like I need to prove myself, that I haven't lived up to the general expectations of the people around me (not my parents I hasten to add - they are incredibly proud!), and have incredibly low self esteem. I got the highest GCSE results in my school, was an All England dance champion, got the lead in the school play, won awards (though never for sport as I was RUBBISH at anything involving running!) and was generally 'that child' described so many times above.
It's a question of balance really. Sometimes consistently being placed at the top of the pile is as bad/worse as being nearer the bottom; how can you ever live up to that as an adult?

I think that's a pretty long winded way of agreeing with everyone else who says awards at school should try to recognise a range of achievements, not just the best results/sport accomplishments. That way the kids at the top of the academic heap don't feel so much pressure, the middling ones get a chance to be recognised for their hard work and effort, and the ones toward the bottom are rewarded for effort and improvement in various things.

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