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

(136 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

cory Wed 17-Jul-13 10:17:35

Firstly, it might help to try to understand the school's rationale. If they are chosen for sports days and sports awards, might it not be because they happen to be good at that particular sport? If they are chosen for extra-curriculum activities, might it be because they are g & t children whose needs are not met in the ordinary course of lessons?

Secondly, even if the school's rationale is totally incomprehensible or even utterly wrong, you still have to face the question of how you help your ds to deal with it. Your first job is to parent him in such a way as to enable him to deal with any obstacles in life. If you spend too much time pondering the injustice of it all, he may pick up the vibes from you that there is not point in trying because they're just going to be unfair anyway. And that won't help his confidence.

The awards for resilience sometimes come later in life. But they are great.

At no point, in school or the wider world, are there any awards for

pinkr Wed 17-Jul-13 11:21:06

Sorry but yabu. That's just life...maybe these kids are just better at whatever it is than your kids...not everyone can be a winner and it does a disservice to show your kids anything else.

willyoulistentome Wed 17-Jul-13 11:28:39

OP I'm with you on this. I hate the fact that our primary school has a head boy and girl and about 4 other house/ sport captain type awards. It will be the same small group of over achievers (with pushy parents who rule the pta)very fucking time. Primary age is to young to realise you don't measure up.

You'd be talking about my Ds1 in that case.

He won 6 awards for sport last week, has represented the school for football, cricket, athletics, basketball, and rugby.

He wins the awards and gets selected because he is good at sport
Loves any type of sport, trains every single day, runs 3 miles before school, etc etc.

Funnily enough though, he also manages to be articulate to the point of representing his year group at the student council.

I hate threads like this.

The reason for winning an award or being selected for a team is because, I would imagine, the children are actually good at what they do.

Is that a bad thing? Are we supposed to feel guilty because someone else's DC didn't get an award?

givemeaboost Wed 17-Jul-13 11:29:20

YANBU however it happens everywhere and is not always as black and white as it seems, as others have said maybe some are g&t or SEN.

My son gets to do activities at school that most others don't and gets funding from school to go to summer activities, this may seem unfair but he had a terrible start to school and only 3 yrs into his school life is he starting to catch up with his peers academically & socially, his extra-curricular activities do have purpose- helping him socially and also getting him to participate in hands-on stuff rather than just academics, which he struggles with the "normal" amount his peers do.

All I can suggest is put you dc in for as many activities etc as is on offer and think about joining the pta-that group seem to be first to know about things and seem to get preference ime, hope that helps.

Souredstones Wed 17-Jul-13 11:30:21

You're talking about my DC there.

Why shouldn't the school reward hard work, effort and achievement? That's how the world works.

MidniteScribbler Wed 17-Jul-13 11:33:31

And what award would you like your child to win?

fancyabakeoff Wed 17-Jul-13 11:37:15

I'm with you OP. There are three girls in my daughter's year who get picked for every bloody thing. They are not particularly bright or exceptional at anything other than being a bit loud, bossy and in your face.

I for one am sick to death of giving her the 'life is hard and unfair' mantra when she works bloody hard, is well behaved and loves school.

Fakebook Wed 17-Jul-13 11:37:23

I don't have much experience in this as my dd is only 5 and going into year 1 next September, but she won 6 out of 7 races in her first sports day and I'm flipping proud! She was better than the other children so it could just be that the children who win the awards are just better? I really don't think children who do well have pushy parents either.

LessMissAbs Wed 17-Jul-13 11:37:26

Some children, like adults, are just more talented in certain things than others. Sport is competition and that's the way the world works. Are you suggesting that the school should pick less successful athletes to represent it?

You do realise that most Olympians start showing promise at school and work their way through junior competition, under 18s, under 18s, under 20s etc on the learning process to becoming successful seniors. To miss out on this development process to make some children's parents feel better at school is short sighted.

There is a learning opportunity here. Encourage your child to find out what the successful children at sports are doing and copy them, or do more. Are they eating a better diet than your child? Are they training more in their own time than your own child? Are they simply working harder? Is your child more of a long distance runner than a sprinter, or a thrower rather than a jumper?

If, as you say, the level of competition at this school isn't that high, your child should be able to work on what is necessary to succeed and do so.

As Tantrums and Balloons says above, her child is running 3 miles before school. You don't need pushy parents to do this as a child - I worked out at age 12 that my cross country running would be improved if I spent my lunch break running instead of queing up for the ice cream van!

tapdancingelephant Wed 17-Jul-13 11:38:50

my dd is that child. well, apart from swimming - she'll never be selected for that.

she is, however, picked to represent at everything else - music concerts, choirs, sports, academic/presentation stuff.

she gets parts in school plays because she speaks well and clearly, can learn the lines and sing in tune. she gets picked to speak at assemblies because she can be relied upon to be in the right place at the right time, speaks clearly, remembers the order of things, etc.

she gets picked to go on the curriculum extras (science trips, mathletics challenges etc) because of all of the above, and she can eb relied upon to show the school in a good light.

why should she not be picked, when she makes a conscious effort every day to work hard, listens well, and tries her best at whatever she is doing (even when it isn't her favourite subject).

sickeningly Pollyanna-ish, I know she sure as hell doesn't take after me but it is just how she is. Why should she not be rewarded for being consistently a top performer and achiever?

willyoulistentome Wed 17-Jul-13 11:40:08

If course it's ok to be proud of your high achieving kids. I just hate it when everyone else has their noses rubbedin it all the time.
They seem to laud these SAME kids all the time for winning making all the average ones feel like shit

Souredstones Wed 17-Jul-13 11:41:44

Again, life is like that. Work hard, try hard and you'll win.

I never won any prizes in school because I was average, we didn't have awards for effort like you do now. Didn't bother me other than to make me work harder.

Sunnymeg Wed 17-Jul-13 11:42:43

DS's school give awards based on effort as well as ones for being the best at xyz. It is really nice to see children being recognized and praised from all abilities.

tapdancingelephant Wed 17-Jul-13 11:43:10

but if the same children are winning all the time, how can anything be done differently?

Souredstones Wed 17-Jul-13 11:44:14

So the children who work and are the top should be ignored for fear of upsetting other children? What message does that send?

Exactly abs I have never pushed him to run or swim or train for anything.
I'm not on the PTA, never have been.
I work full time, have done since he was 1 year old, I am about as far from a pushy parent as its possible to be, the only thing I nag them about is homework.

But he loves any type of sport. He researches what he should be eating to stay fit and healthy. He wants to excel in every sport so he researches and trains and works bloody hard

Why shouldn't he get recognition for that?

BlackeyedSusan Wed 17-Jul-13 11:46:08

it is a difficult balance between awarding achievement and effort, without discouraging others who could be trying as hard, be more shy etc and may be bloody good at something given the encouragement.

Souredstones Wed 17-Jul-13 11:47:12

Tantrums, one of mine is like that but academically. Shit at sport mind but they try. I'm the same as you too, I work full time and always have done.

Morgause Wed 17-Jul-13 11:48:22

You're also talking about my DCs. Both very academic, both won a lot of year prizes in their time.

One was an excellent actor and always got a leading role in school productions and the other was good at sport and in most teams.

Why shouldn't these two hardworking young people who were always prepared to put in the extra time and effort not be rewarded? Eldest didn't resent youngest's sporting success and neither did youngest resent his brother's success in drama.

OH is still bitter because he wasn't given the prize for English Lit in his O level year. He got the best results in the mock and his classwork and homework was consistently better than anyone else's. Everyone knew he should have won it. He didn't because the head thought he "had won enough already".

Ask any of the three of them to put up a shelf that stayed up or cook anything edible and you'd be waiting forever. That's not where their talents lie.

NellysKnickers Wed 17-Jul-13 11:48:33

YABU. It's life, they are winning the awards because they are the best. In adult life you will get the job because you are the best, not because you didn't get the last two you went for, therefore its your turn now. Life isn't fair, IMO its better dcs learn this early on.

EvieanneVolvic Wed 17-Jul-13 11:50:32

Why shouldn't the school reward hard work, effort and achievement? That's how the world works

Soured you dear sweet thing you! If only what you say were true.
Regrettably too often it's the face fitting syndrome and the alpha parent effect. I have no problem at all with genuine talent and effort being rewarded.

Eyesunderarock Wed 17-Jul-13 11:50:53

I think that the idea is to have as wide a range of possible awards and achievements a s possible. I never won a sporting awards in my entire school life, that was offset by the fact that I won a lot of academic ones.
Good citizenship/eco awards cover a multitude of areas, as do effort awards.
The point I'm trying to make is that winning something isn't an entitlement, it should require some effort on the part of the winners.
So what sort of achievements and awards do you think your children could contribute in, and what isn't the school offering to cover that?
It is becoming an increasingly competitive system, and if the pressure is placed on jobs, pay and outcomes to rate a school, then that will impact significantly on the fluffy 'No one loses, everyone wins' approach of many schools up to this point.

Dededum Wed 17-Jul-13 11:53:22

Yes, but at primary a bit of imagination would be good.

My sporty son did not get picked for the local school sports athletics. No, they have 2 or 3 exceptional athletes who then get picked for 3 or 4 events each. We win the school competition in all age groups, we always do. But why not branch the competition out so they can only get picked for 2 events to allow my son and others, who are on the edge of being picked, to represent the school.

Often we talking about natural aptitude at primary, not hard work per se and how old you are in the year. The kids who get picked for sport tend to be autumn born at my son's junior school.

willyoulistentome Wed 17-Jul-13 11:54:58

.. snd by the way just because these kids win doesn't mean that someone else didn't TRY harder... or that coming 8 th wasn't a HUGE achievement.
I am thinking of keeping my son off school on the last day. He is in y5 and had AS. I know he won't be getting any awards as I haven't been invited to assembly. . And I also know I am going to have to field questions all summer about why he wasn't picked. What am I meant to do? Lie? Or tell him the truth. I hate being put in that position. The golden ones already have enough luck
They don't need their huge egos boosting any more. .

onefewernow Wed 17-Jul-13 11:55:21

I have another perspective . One of my kids is one of those leader plus sports plus way above on grades. He DOESN'T win much at all. Yesterday he brought home a school one pager showing him to be level 8 as opposed to 6 on most things.

There was an awards day this year and he won nothing. He said it was because awards were for the most improved kids. He was quite happy with that. To be honest I think he is too confident to care much.

My younger son is less confident and more likely to need encouragement for effort.

So I like that system to be honest.

People should not only receive reward for achievement, especially when it comes so naturally to them. Others do need it.

Most larger families have a mix of personalities anyway.

I can remember when the older son was very young, he needed 4 merits to win some ultimate badge or other, but said he wasn't bothered to win it. I asked why not, and he replied that " first I'll have to be naughty, and then good again, and I just can't be bothered!" We all thought it was funny, and so did he.

Remotecontrolduck Wed 17-Jul-13 11:55:38

Nothing wrong with the best person getting picked for stuff. Some kids work hard and are good at everything it seems!

What gets on my nerves is favouritism though. At DDs primary one girl was picked for absolutely everything music/drama wise. She was good, but no more exceptional than many of the other children. She was the blatant favourite though so got picked above equally talented and committed DC. That is very unprofessional and wrong.

HerculePoirotsTache Wed 17-Jul-13 11:56:07

YANBU. I've noticed its the same children being picked for things too.

showtunesgirl Wed 17-Jul-13 11:56:07

Why is always assumed that the kids who win awards must have pushy parents? confused

freddiefrog Wed 17-Jul-13 11:56:28

I hate things like this.

DH is a school governor, I'm on the PTA, so I'm sure you can image the tutting, eye rolling and comments we get every time one of my kids get picked or win anything - "ooh, her again, it's only 'cos her mum's on the PTA/Dad's a governor". DD1 won a place in an art show run by the National Gallery, but oh, no, she only won because her Dad's a governor. Not because she's actually quite talented or anything. The competition judging had absolutely nothing to do with the school.

My eldest is kind and thoughtful and works hard. My youngest is dyspraxic so has to work twice as hard as her classmates. But no, they've never achieved anything off their own bat, they only win because their Dad's a governor hmm

And actually, if these people actually looked at the back of the school newsletters where they list award winners each week, and compared who wins what, my DD's haven't been picked or won stuff more than anyone else.

<rant over>

cory Wed 17-Jul-13 11:58:04

The most important thing is not whether your ds gets an award but how you teach him to deal with whatever he gets or doesn't get.

My dd has loved the theatre and dreamed of a career on the stage since she was 4. She never got picked for any main parts throughout junior school. I could have treated this as a terrible injustice and encouraged her to feel hard done by.

Or I could do what I did- I pointed out that not everybody could get main parts, that every part matters to the whole of the performance and that doing the very best you can as a minor angel or chorus member is just as important.

And then I made sure she had other opportunities to learn and develop: I signed her up for ballet lessons and then for youth theatre. And encouraged her to think along the same lines: it doesn't matter what part you get, it matters how much you learn from it.

Dd is about to start A-level drama and hoping to audition for stage school after that. Doing the fifth angel from the left in the nativity play has done her absolutely no harm.

EvieanneVolvic Wed 17-Jul-13 12:00:29

Why is always assumed that the kids who win awards must have pushy parents?

Because I was one! Not taking anything away at all from my DD who got the school record prize at the end of primary school and very likely deserved it on her own merits, but I was that mouthy interfering completely hands on mother with a finger in every fucking pie and I know is was as much a thank you to me as a well done to her. You will be pleased to know that I am much less narcissistic now!

I don't see any "face fitting" and certainley no "alpha parent" with ds1.
I had to go to his school for an event on Saturday and I didn't even know where the bloody main hall was, that's how involved I am with the school.

Is it so hard to believe that some DCs are rewarded for being the best at whatever the award is for?

exoticfruits Wed 17-Jul-13 12:00:46

I was going to comment and then saw that cory in the first reply you got said it all. I also agree with her last post.

Souredstones Wed 17-Jul-13 12:01:33

Yes, my children win awards because their parents, who both work full time and don't do the school run and aren't on the PTA or board of govenors, faces fit. Yes that's it. Nothing to do with their effort and attainment at all. No.

Dededum Wed 17-Jul-13 12:02:09

Actually I find this thread really depressing all this - look at my son, daughter, work really hard, great at everything why shouldn't they get all the rewards blah, blah, life's not fair, why shouldn't people learn that sooner rather than later....

Back in the day, there were a couple of sporting and academic awards - now it is expanded to a ridcolous level with people getting more than one award. So not required and makes the majority of kids feel like s**t. I would actually like the majority to feel good rather than the uber achievers ps:who will continue to get all the goodies.

exoticfruits Wed 17-Jul-13 12:02:43

You must still be a bit narcissistic if you still believe that now Evieanne!

exoticfruits Wed 17-Jul-13 12:05:00

As a child I would find it very patronising to be given a prize because 'it was my turn' when I knew that there were DCs who stood out as better.

SparkyTGD Wed 17-Jul-13 12:06:59


My parents were the furthest from being 'pushy' you could imagine, very WC & very surprised & delighted to have bright children.

I got lots of prizes at school for academic things, that's life.

tiggytape Wed 17-Jul-13 12:07:45

I think this is where the move from primary to secondary has really helped.
For one thing the year groups are so much bigger so if 11 boys are selected for a football team, that represents a tiny minority of the year group - it doesn't mean one third are selected and two thirds miss out.

Also at secondary school, parental involvement is much less so there's no pushy parent / PA influence. Children are taught by specialist teachers so the maths teacher chooses children for maths things, the P.E teachers select the sports teams etc. If one child is flavour of the month with one teacher, it doesn't mean they get chosen for everything as it can do at Primary.

My DS is quiet, reliable and academic but not 5 years ahead or anything astonishing like that. He gets chosen for loads of things now even though Year 7 is so much bigger than Year 6.
In early primary he was invisible in the wake of mega confident types who muscled their way into everything and made sure they got noticed. Secondary schools seem to go a lot more on ability and reliability than lazily keep selecting the same person over and over just because when they were 7 they could be relied upon not to mutter, forget their lines or make a show of the school. I do remind DS now to be grateful for the chances and to do his best at enrichment opportunities or be pleased at getting awards because he remembers how it was when he was the one never noticed at all.

SparkyTGD Wed 17-Jul-13 12:08:57

Great posts by cory

EvieanneVolvic Wed 17-Jul-13 12:09:41

I don't see any "face fitting" and certainley no "alpha parent" with ds1.

I have to admit you make a fair point Balloons and present it well. Let's face it there are going to be opposing anecdotes across the board here (including mine!) so interesting, but not much use in terms of proving anything.

Having said that I really feel that OP is NBU nor is the one (sorry I just can't find it now) who is thinking of keeping her son off school on awards day. It must surely be possible to dream up some sort of scheme that recognises progress/ability etc in all areas so that there is a whole range of children being included, not just the usual suspects.

And well spotted Exotic I'm well and truly rumbled!

Cherriesarelovely Wed 17-Jul-13 12:10:03

I don't think you are BU at all. I work in a school where all children's different "gifts" are truely valued and acknowledged. We spend alot of time thinking of ways to help EVERY child to have the opportunity to shine. An example of this is that we send some teams to sports events that are picked on ability and some that are picked on giving children the experience. We do talent shows that are just for fun and a free for all and one that is "judged". It's not so much nobody loses, everyone wins, it's a firm belief that we are all talented in different ways and that it is important to celebrate that, particularly in children.

I work in a small village primary school but my Dd goes to a large city Junior school which has several hundred pupils and they STILL manage to find ways to let lots of different children be recognised and to participate.

Dededum Wed 17-Jul-13 12:10:22

My son is about to get his first prize for chess. He is NATURALLY really good at chess, has done a bit of work and goes to chess club. But really he is quite lazy and this prize is for his talent, winning not his effort.

SueDoku Wed 17-Jul-13 12:10:33

Again, life is like that. Work hard, try hard and you'll win.

So how does that work if there are 30 children in the class, 15 of whom do the above - and there's one prize...?

exoticfruits Wed 17-Jul-13 12:17:54

My DSs went to a large primary where all were valued and recognised -however a prize for the best should go to the best- otherwise why have one?

HazelnutinCaramel Wed 17-Jul-13 12:17:55

Doesn't your school have a range of awards? Surely a school should have awards for sport bit also for maths, art, most improved, most books read....I don't know. Bit something to ensure that not only one type of talent is always rewarded.

tapdancingelephant Wed 17-Jul-13 12:18:01

I don't think my dd is entitled to win all the awards, just because, but if the school has awards for XYZ and dd happens to be top/win at XYZ then yes, she should win.

Her achievements are just that: achievements, for her. Is she any better, as a person, because she wins loads of school awards? Of course not. And neither she, nor I, think that she is. She doesn't have a huge ego, and doesn't expect to win, but is quietly confident of her own abilities.

She is as pleased, btw, when her sister (severe learning difficulties) earns a school award for 'nice listening' or 'good sitting' or works her way through ORT level 1 (her sister is in Year 4), as she is when she herself is awarded a prize for consistently working 3 years ahead in maths or literacy. Because she recognises that different people have different strengths a d weaknesses, and that a certificate for 'good listening' is probably harder for her sister to achieve than the maths prize is for her to achieve. But that doesn't make either of the awards more or less valuable, just different. And we celebrate the ones that dd1 earns (even though they are 'easy' for dd2) just as much as we celebrate the ones that dd2 earns (even though they will never be achievable for dd1)

OnTheNingNangNong Wed 17-Jul-13 12:20:13

My sons school offers award certificates twice a year for some spurious reason The children know this is how it works and so it doesn't encourage achievement.

The muttering children who have fronted the assemblies and school productions since they started did get a complaint from some parents, no one could hear a word he said as he always spoke too fast and mumbled. There should be the opportunities for all to have a good go at it, rather than picking the favourite.

This isn't to say that those who have talent shouldn't be shown, they should be proud of their achievements, but it is against the blatant favouritism that is shown in DS1s school.

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.


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.

tapdancingelephant Wed 17-Jul-13 13:23:13

There are many ways a school can encourage and motivate pupils of all abilities. But that really does mean of all abilities, including at the top!

Dd's school has a good scheme where pupils earn house points (obviously according to ability/aptitude/attitude) and these are tallied on a (individual) points chart. Each child can earn various prizes via Bronze/Silver/Gold/Platinum awards - prizes vary with the most recent being tickets to the semi finals at Wimbledon.

House are awarded for anything and everything, from effort to results to politeness and consideration, so it really is a scheme that every child has a chance at. Of course, some children have more opportunities to earn house points, if they are sporty and arty and academic and polite and considerate etc. but then if every variable is accounted for, it ends up making the achievements worthless - it is, after all a competition.

There is little point in using praise and reward ineffectively, as children know whether the achievement is real or not (whether academic or social or sporty)

VerlaineChasedRimbauds Wed 17-Jul-13 13:23:13

I'm not sure it's very easy to get this right - and I applaud cory's posts.

I think it would be better just to have a very few awards - and to explain that awards are great, but they are not all that matters.

If you have loads of different awards for all sorts of things, you have two possible outcomes:

1. Everyone gets an award of some kind - so the awards themselves are devalued. Most children are not fooled by this, and I don't think it would be an altogether good thing if they were.

2. Lots of people (but not everyone) get awards and those that don't feel very sad indeed because LOTS of other people did.

If your children's self-esteem is being battered by it - rather than yours, as a parent grin - then surely your job is to bolster their self esteem by means other than school awards.

ArtemisatBrauron Wed 17-Jul-13 13:28:01

I am a teacher at senior school and this attitude from parents really gets my goat... I had a parent call me up to complain because their child didn't get an academic prize and "one child in the same year got 6 or 7 prizes"... well, sorry but that child got higher exam marks than your child in every subject, so there's not much I can do about it.
The academic prizes are awarded on numerical scores alone, not on whose parents are involved in school or who our "favourites" are.

I will never understand the aversion to meritocracy in this country. The same pupils who "win everything" will probably also get 11 A* grades at GCSE and 3-4 A*/A grades at A-level. That will then give them an advantage over those with mixed A/B/C grades. Should we take their A*'s off them and share them around equally?!

Keeping your children off school because they didn't win a prize is ridiculous and petty - they should be able to feel pleased for those who did win and celebrate with them, you're just teaching them to be sore losers by removing them.

flatpackhamster Wed 17-Jul-13 13:35:23


If I could print your post out and nail it to the heads of the all-must-have-prizes lot, I would. Fucking A.

muppetthecow Wed 17-Jul-13 13:46:16

Just read my post back - want to clarify, I don't think that everyone should get awards, only that the awards that are given should reflect a variety of achievements as opposed to just sporting or academic.

I'm also not a huge fan of big awards ceremonies at primary school full-stop. We just had a community spirit award, the house shield (we had four school houses and house points), a certificate was given to the child from each year group who had achieved the highest test results at the end of the year, and each class teacher picked one child in their class who they thought had worked especially hard/improved/excelled that year which was left at their discretion. Secondary school children are generally much more able to appreciate and understand why so-and-so got an award when they themselves didn't...

jacks365 Wed 17-Jul-13 13:48:34

My children's ex primary went too far the other way, they had a weekly award that was used to encourage effort and good behaviour but those who could be relied on got ignored and the rewards near enough always went to those who struggled with learning or behaviour. The school had two exceptional pupils who were both academic and sporty neither of whom won anything until they moved up to secondary school. My own child turned round to me and said you only get rewarded if you are naughty, at that point I changed their school

Miggsie Wed 17-Jul-13 13:49:46

My DD was at a school where the fancy dress prize always went to the child of the PTA chair. Hmmmm - even the kids twigged that one, and that was unfair.
They also used to give drama parts to random children tho "build their confidence" which was purgatory for some poor kids who really really didn't want to be on a stage.
I found at my school the most biassed item by far in the school calendar was the casting of the school play. Drama teachers favourites every time. You could cast it yourself she was so blatant.

If a prize is awarded as an absolute: top mark in a subject, highest mark in an exam, fastest time at 100m then inevitably there will only ever be a small number of children in the running for such prizes.

Form prizes awarded by subjective teacher appraisal generally go to girlie-swot goodie-two shoes types. If a form prize is awarded for best achievement in exams overall then it will generally go to the same child all the way through school.

DD's present school does do prizes: music prize obviously goes to the child who practises instruments 3 hours a day and goes to the Royal College of Music at the weekend - they can't not give the prize to that child. The awarding of it is almost irrelevant.
They also do prizes for iniative and volunteering and charity work - and anyone could theoretically have a crack at that. Interestingly - that is where all the socially awkward boys seem to congregate.

So it would be nice to have some form of effort or "most improvement" prize otherwise it ends up a procession of the same few kids each time. Sports is a tricky one - every race has to be a winner. Perhaps there could be wacky team sports? My DD didn't win any race individually at sports day but her House own overall so she felt ok.

Any prize giving means 29 or so kids don't get anything. Perhaps school is the palce to start learning most of us are irrdeemably ordinary - or should school have to recognise progress as more important not innate ability?????

exoticfruits Wed 17-Jul-13 13:56:34

Some children would find winning a prize an ordeal- they don't want to be singled out. I can't think that I won many prizes at school- I only remember winning 'most progress for swimming' and I would rather not have done, it was only because I was a non swimmer, scared of getting my face wet, at the start. DS3 got a prize for French but he never kept up the early promise and therefore we always had rather an inflated view of his abilities. He also got student of the month and a voucher,
but we only found out by accident, a term later.
Like most people, my DCs and I went through school without many prizes and yet are reasonably successful, well balanced people.

I always get the impression on MN that many parents want to live through their DCs - they want the child on centre stage in productions, the one who is chosen for teams, the madly popular one who is invited to every party etc and yet their DC is probably like me and doesn't want any of it.

willyoulistentome Wed 17-Jul-13 14:04:48

I am considering keeping him off not because he won;t be getting an award but because his Asperger's syndrome means that not getting an award will mean that he will question me..almost constantly... why he didn't get anything..all summer. He will feel very hurt.

Why can;t school shut the fuck up about how bloody clever and wonderful a small group of kids are. We all know that some people are life's winners and some are life's losers. It doesn't have to pointed out again and again, who is who.

willyyou your reasons for keeping your DS off school that day seem pretty sensible tbh.

LadyBryan Wed 17-Jul-13 14:14:23

We have an awards ceremony - one for infants and one for juniors.

I have no clue about the Juniors, but not one of the children who won a prize at Infant Awards has a parent in the friends of the school.

My daughter won at Sports Day this year. And won the Form prize.

Throughout the year there's a weekly merit award, they also get given their badges for piano, speech & drama, gym, swimming in assembly.

I think the "every child should get an award for taking part" really waters down the achievements for everyone.

Muppet - I think you right for some children, yes, but it isn't a rule of thumb. My girl is the brightest, happiest little soul known to man. Whilst her report was absolutely outstanding academically, she was also praised for kindness, politeness, friendliness. She's flown this year - and is so, so happy

OrmirianResurgam Wed 17-Jul-13 14:15:57

With regard to my eldest son, I absolutely agree with you. He never seemed to get awards for anything. He is not a joiner and doesn't put himself forward.

Fast forward a few years and now I have a DD that collects so many acheivement certificates it must take an entire tree to make them. It's almost embarrassing (but not quite wink). She gets picked for all kinds of inter-school competitions and the team usually wins.

I no longer mind so much..... They are different people.

lainiekazan Wed 17-Jul-13 14:17:27

I started a thread like this a week or two ago.

I am very much against the "prizes for all" philosophy - ludicrous. But I discovered that the Head at dd's school had organised a series of enrichment activities for the same certain children - trip to Houses of Parliament, another to sketch at National Gallery, canoeing and so on. now, these "certain children" weren't g&t, nor did they have special situations, they were the push themselves forward confident ones who the Head knows. I am still incredulous that a Head could show such blatant favouritism.

Reading this thread one feels that the teacher's pet syndrome is alive and well.

OrmirianResurgam Wed 17-Jul-13 14:18:32

Mind you they are in secondary so probably not relevant <scurries back under stone>

FWIW my youngest, still in primary, gets nothing either. Nor will he, ever, I suspect. Until they introduce an award for nerdy knowledge about dinosaurs or beetles that does not require him to write anything or organise his thoughts coherently.....

twistyfeet Wed 17-Jul-13 14:26:10

Primamry schools are more than capable of helping everyones acheivements stand out. dd's school has some severely disabled children who clearly arent going to win at sports or painting or musical instruments but the school manages to recognise their acheivemnts as well. As it should be. There are after school clubs for the 'prizes' types.

phantomnamechanger Wed 17-Jul-13 14:27:03

I consider myself very lucky that my children are academically talented and often represent their schools at sports and music as well. I have 2 DD at grammar and one DS still primary.

I do not consider myself to be a "pushy" parent, though I do consider myself to fully support the school and my children in their education, and always encourage them to do their best and be proud of it.

DD is really really embarrassed among her peers (grammar school) that she has 9 awards this year for her form (Y8) but when she has excelled across all subjects, and always goes the extra mile over homework and projects etc,(while some of her friends obsess about pop stars and the latest reality TVshow or soap plotline) why should that NOT be celebrated? I have never met most of her teachers except for a five minute chat once this year, so it has nothing to do with keeping certain parents sweet. I doubt her subject teachers know how she does in other subjects except their own.

However, I do think that in primaries (and my DS primary is v good at this) ALL children should win something during the year - whether its for tidiness, kindness, or good behaviour, or improved writing, or whatever - a simple colourful laminated certificate is what they usually do.

Everyone should get SOMETHING. That does not mean that the very sporty/academic/musical children should be overlooked just so that everyone else gets a turn (because the kids themselves will know this is false), it just means there needs to be more awards for more things.

curryeater Wed 17-Jul-13 14:27:43

But what about

"extra invitation only expensive activities "


Someone took the decision to select those activities and invite these kids. It is not unheard of that such decisions could have been made with a degree of subconscious favouritism. OP you should interrogate, as reasonably and assertively as possible, the decision making process for this.

I get the resentment. Not because you should dish out music prizes to the mediocre musician because the best musician has already won maths (that sort of crap is obviously silly); but because who chooses what is available and who takes part in it and how can different talents and interests and potentials be brought to higher profile?

willyoulistentome Wed 17-Jul-13 14:27:51

Yes - 'everyone ' getting a prize makes the prizes meaningless. winning at Sports day should be its own prize - you should not have to get an award for it too.
Getting all As at A levels or all level 5s at year 6 SATS- again surely holds its own joy. Why wave the certs in the faces of those who didn't do as well.

expatinscotland Wed 17-Jul-13 14:31:03

YANBU. This whole 'that's how the world works' and 'hard work needs recognised and rewarded is why have so many entitled twats who believe they deserve XY and Z.

In the real world, no one is entitled to jack shit. The majority, billions of people, toil away for next to nowt with no recognition.

rob99 Wed 17-Jul-13 14:34:43

At my daughters primary school, same thing. The same few kids get all the opportunities e.g. best parts in school plays, nativity, photo opportunities etc. Invariably it's the solicitors kids, doctors kids. They probably are the brightest and best but it is only primary school and it's a bit young to start this winners and losers mentality in my opinion.

I think the school does it this way because the headmistress is basically a politician and it's all about showing the school in the best light to all and sundry. Rather than shout from the rooftops that 12 kids in school are special needs and get free school meals, she wants to shout look at Tarquin and Tabitha, our wonderful top performers who are playing Joseph and Mary in the nativity play. Tarquin's father is a doctor and he's G&T and he will hopefully attend Oxbridge which will be a feather in our little schools cap.......that's great miss but what about little Jordan Taylor who's dad's an alcoholic and he's a shy quiet boy with low self-esteem and a reading age of 2............"who's Jordan Taylor" ?

curryeater Wed 17-Jul-13 14:41:40

rob99 great post, but please allow me to be pedantic for a second and say "23 kids who have special needs" rather than "12 kids who are special needs". I am sorry to nitpick and don't mean this be snotty, I hope that is ok

ShedWood Wed 17-Jul-13 14:43:24

I've only skim-read this thread as there seems to be one at the end of every term, but to those of you who wished their children won awards but didn't, what have YOU as parent/carer done to change that? Or what will you be doing to change it for next year?

One mum in my school had a very upset 5yr old last sports day because he came last in the skipping race as he'd never picked up a skipping rope before, so in the run up to this year's sports day they taught him how to skip. This year he very proudly came first, and learnt an improtant lesson that practice can make the difference between first and last place.

A simplistic view of the story, but it gets my goat when it's always the school who should change things and never the parent.

FunLovinBunster Wed 17-Jul-13 14:49:28

My lovely DD won the class book prize last week for being the only one to score level 3 in maths and English; she is one of the youngest in her class.
Why shouldn't her efforts be rewarded?
And thanks for referring so rudely to parents who help with PTA. Our committee gives up a lot of their spare time to fundraise for the school.
Stop whining and do something positive for your school instead.

phantomnamechanger Wed 17-Jul-13 14:50:15

SW - agree with you - if only some parents would spend as much time helping their kids as they do moaning about the school.

Moan about the school - but never hear your child read at home
Moan about them not winning fancy dress - when you BUY yours and someone else has made an original home made one full of the child's own ideas and artwork
Moan about them not being chosen for a play - when you have never even turned up to one of their assemblies
Moan about INSET days etc, when you have not bothered reading the published dates list.
Moan about paying for a trip - when you never support any PTA fundraisers.
Moan about your PFB not being allowed to the prom - when she had been warned and warned about her attendance and behaviour and TOLD several times that she was not allowed to go, never mind, buy her a posh frock & moan about them not letting her in.

FunLovinBunster Wed 17-Jul-13 15:00:57

YY phantom and SW. Sick of this ooh lets give everyone a prize/get rid of competition mentality.
Life IS a competition.
People are rewarded for a reason. Because they are good at what they do.

Cherriesarelovely Wed 17-Jul-13 15:01:23

It's not all about prizes and awards though, it's recognition of children's efforts, achievements and talents which can come in lots of different ways. Giving them some extra responsibility (like helping the younger children in the school if they are good at doing that), asking them to help compere a school concert if that is their skill, asking them to design the poster for the fete, getting them to bring in photos of themselves doing an unusual hobby and talking about it to the rest of the class. All of these things can be life changing for children, giving them a confidence boost.

We had a talent week once for the children and wider school community. Part of it was an art and craft show. One parent who could not read or write and so had never had the confidence to come into school sent in his paintings which were phenomenal. He received huge congratulations from children, teachers other parents alike and now comes into school quite often.

ArtemisatBrauron Wed 17-Jul-13 15:06:48

Oh, and a small additional point...

If your biggest problem in life is that your PFB didn't win a prize at school then you have very little to worry about in the grand scheme of things.

Time to take a step back, no?

twistyfeet Wed 17-Jul-13 15:13:08

'People are rewarded for a reason. Because they are good at what they do'

And those who are good at nothing? They should have this drummed into them at 6, 7, 9? No recognition that they try? DD tries her best but she will never read, never win anything at sports, never play an instrument. Because she is blind and cant move. She is well aware she doesnt measure up to the lucky people who didnt get a broken brain.
Thankfully her school recognises 'trying your best'.

Mumsyblouse Wed 17-Jul-13 15:13:49

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 agree that sometimes children who have won a lot of things, such as academic prizes or are always on the top table can become scared of failure. I like my two very academic children to do lots of activities, especially sports and drama whatever they like, precisely because they can learn to lose gracefully, take small parts while others get the glory, work in a team not always the star, cheer others on and so on. These are the skills that are valuable to me if you want to be an all-rounder and get on in life although my dd did have a bit of a learning curve when she came last in all of her sports day races this year, it can be hard.

NobodyPutsTomArcherInTheCorner Wed 17-Jul-13 15:23:58

Yabu. My dc have won at times and others missed out both for awards/parts in plays you name it.

Not getting what you want and missing out is life. Sad but true.

My teeth have been gritted before when dd has been upset at missing out on a yearned for part in the play, but dusting yourself off and being gracious about it is a fantastic thing to know how to do.

FunLovinBunster Wed 17-Jul-13 15:24:44

Twisty, I'm all for recognising people who try their best.
It's the "lets reward everyone for everything" which does nothing but belittle real achievement.

grumpyoldbat Wed 17-Jul-13 15:40:16

Working hard and trying hard does not ensure winning, it's very naive to think that. I have always worked hard at everything I've done. Put in lot of hours, taken on board every criticism and tried to use that to improve yet I've failed at everything I've ever done.

I get where you are coming from OP. There are 3 girls in dd's class with beautiful singing voices (I've heard them while they are playing). Yet only one of those 3 girls ever gets the chance to sing in school events. She is the one with the pushy parents of highest social standing in the area. BTW none of these 3 girls is my dd, it's just an observation I've made.

OnTheNingNangNong Wed 17-Jul-13 16:02:55

I listen to my son read all the time,hell, I even listen to other peoples children read too. I make each of my son's costumes and dressing up outfits, I have been to every assembly, every play, every school event. I help the PTA where I can, spend a fortune on things for and from the fundraisers, I pay for trips unquestionably.

Can I have a moan or a certificate

harryhausen Wed 17-Jul-13 16:35:38

When I was at primary school every Christmas we would have a Christmas stamp competition where a child would anonymously design a stamp to go on the internal school mail.
I won it every single year. In my last year I they banned me, yes banned from entering. My mum was furious. Looking back, I can sympathise with the other children.

The injustice of it did however spur me on, and I'm now a professional full time illustrator doing very nicely thank you.

This is the only thing I've ever won!

Sorry. I'm not sure what this adds to the discussiongrin

muppetthecow Wed 17-Jul-13 17:18:28

LadyBrian - I'm not trying to say that it's a rule of thumb, just pointing out that the general assumption on this thread that all the children who consistently do well are 'super-confident' and have pushy parents is wrong. Some of them are, some of them aren't. Some of them are probably embarrassed at always being singled out.

MumsyBlouse - I did say sometimes it's worse; not always and not for everyone. I was also taught how to lose gracefully, and understood from an early age that wining wasn't the name of the game. I was always prouder of 3rd place and a PB than 1st place under my best score. I still felt the pressure (mostly from teachers at school and extended family) to do well because I always had IYSWIM.

Not doing a terribly good job of explaining myself today! I blame the heat and raging pregnancy hormones! smile

formicadinosaur Wed 17-Jul-13 17:23:02

Our school teachers have their favourites. Those kids receive 10 rewards a year whist some of the polite quieter kids receive next to none.

Parmarella Wed 17-Jul-13 17:28:52

My DC never win any prizes, one is just too much of a day dreamer and the youngest works very hard all the time but is always 2nd or 3rd or 4th.

I feel a bit gutted for them about when there are do's and assemblies and prizes for winners, I feel a bit envious and left out, and annoyed with myself for feeling that way too!

DH is brilliant though, he tells the DC that if they want to win they just have to try harder, work at it, that it is up to them.

The boys are not at all down, as a result, they actually feel motivated to try harder!

So not a bad thing, maybe a good lesspn for kids? If you want success you have to fight for it.

cory Wed 17-Jul-13 17:29:48

I think there are two separate issues here:

a) whether you are in favour of prizes and awards and trumpet blowing

b) how you teach your child to deal with situations arising in his daily life

If I have to be absolutely honest, my enthusiasm for school awards assemblies is probably limited.

But my first job is to parent my child.

exoticfruits Wed 17-Jul-13 17:43:11

It is full of problems. I think lots of children point out that the 'naughty' children get a lot of prizes for encouragement, whereas the quiet DC who just does as they are told are passed over.
If you give it for effort it can equally be unfair. I was quiet and conscientious at school therefore I was deemed to be trying my best, whereas I was coasting.
If one child is clearly the best do you ignore them because 'they got it last year'?

Since so many people are disgruntled maybe all names should go in a hat and when it is pulled out think of a suitable prize! Once they have been pulled out they don't go back in until the last name is out- even if that happens to be 4yrs later. grin

StanleyLambchop Wed 17-Jul-13 17:47:17

It is not so much the winning of awards, more the 'getting picked for everything child' that makes me agree YANBU. A child at dd's school was the favourite of the yr3 teacher. Got picked for everything, class rep, Eco-group, soloist in choir (despite awful voice) narrator in every play/assembly ever performed. After a while it became a habit- who shall I pick- oh how about Wonderchild? She is so good at this kind of thing- Yes, because she had had plenty of opportunities to practice and get confident! This lasted until Yr 6 when she was caught cheating in a spelling test- turned out Wonderkid was terrible at spelling but had been built up so much that she felt pressure to always be the best so had resorted to cheating . Very sad. The schools really do need to be careful not to create such situations!

Mumsyblouse Wed 17-Jul-13 17:54:32

muppetthecow perhaps it's the heat as I was trying to agree with you, just also to say that for those for whom academic achievement comes relatively easy, learning to lose or to fail graciously, as someone else has said, is very important.

Having said that, I used to get prizes for academic achievement, but I really did work harder than everyone else as well! I was prepared to stay up all night, I was prepared to revise extra hard and so on in comparison to many of my friends at uni, and so although it partly does reflect innate achievement, you don't do exceptionally well on either talent or effort, you really do have to have both.

I think nowadays effort is very much rewarded in the exam system to the point that sometimes my students are very much disappointed they don't get firsts even though they simply don't have a first-class brain even though they try really really hard. They tend to take this quite badly as up til now, simple hard work and effort combined with some talent, has been enough and it's difficult to fact that others may be intrinsically better than you.

muppetthecow Wed 17-Jul-13 19:50:28

Mumsy I'm pretty much blaming the heat for everything - my brain has turned to mush! of course being 37 weeks pregnant and managing a grumpy toddler doesn't help either

I found life much easier by the time I got to uni as (almost) everyone on my course was there to actually work so there was nobody to bully me about being a square/teachers pet etc. It was easier again for my MA. That being said, my poor mum now gets comments like 'Muppet was so talented, it's a shame she didn't do anything with it' or 'Oh, she's working in a pharmacy? What a waste of all those brains' so I don't think it ever really ends! smile

Turniptwirl Wed 17-Jul-13 22:57:47

Yab(a bit) unreasonable

I always won academic awards at school because I was good academically!!! Why should I get missed out because someone else isn't as good and doesn't win an award? I agree effort should be rewarded as much as results because some people just aren't academic naturally so work much harder than me but get a C when I might get an A.

This is a current bugbear of mine as at work I was considered "too good" to be given opportunities to develop... Still not sure why joe blogs who's been in the job three times longer than me and us half as good as much should get rewarded instead of me.

Frustratedartist Wed 17-Jul-13 23:40:11

My DS wins lots of awards at school. He also copes really well with chronic illness. The awards give him a lift. I don't push him
I understand your pain as my other children don't get awards. But it's also real life, and it's up to you to handle the situation for your kids. The reality is the awards are lovely to get, but no one is ever going to ask what certificates you got at primary.
Get the situation in context. Give your child your own reward, and get over it.

OhMerGerd Wed 17-Jul-13 23:40:27

Don't worry about it too much. Teach your child that sometimes life isn't fair but it's how you deal with unfairness or obstacles or disappointments that will determin your success and happiness in life.

At primary school it was always the arty and sporty who won prizes and cups and got picked to attend the extra curricula activities representing the school. My DD is an academic. If there had been a logic puzzle cup or brain teaser prize shed have won every year .

Give your child hje confidence to know and value their own unique talent. Everyone has someth

TheSecondComing Wed 17-Jul-13 23:46:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

exoticfruits Thu 18-Jul-13 07:03:18

I agree with frustratedartist and OhMerGerd.

It is more or less impossible for the school to get 'right' - if they go for the very best then the same DCs will get it, if you go for encouragement then the quiet and academic can miss out entirely and if you go for effort you can get it wrong with a child me who looks as if they are making an effort when actually they are not.

Basically everyone is complaining because they want their child to get a prize. If everyone gets a prize is there any point?

I'm sure that people would be happy with my name in a hat idea - pull one out and think of a prize to suit. Once pulled out it doesn't go back. Keep going through the year. It would be fair but is there any point?

Teach your child to deal with it- it is those who can deal with it who will be the successes in life.

Eeeeeowwwfftz Thu 18-Jul-13 08:16:17

When I was at primary school I was very hurt by a classmate commenting that "It's always fftz isn't it?" when my design was chosen for the cover of the programme for end-of-year production. My artistic abilities are beyond bad, and in my entire life I've produced about three pieces of work that came out looking anything like what I intended. I'd spent ages looking through books to find suitable pictures of rainforest creatures so that I could get their shapes right when drawing them myself, and created a passable scene. I was dead chuffed when the teacher chose my design, in part because she clearly hated me. The reason for the girl's complaint was that I was top of the class in all the academic subjects and I must have been perceived as the one who got all the plaudits. Having this one piece of artwork highlighted meant so much more to me than the top marks in the academic subjects, and I am quite pleased that my secondary school in particular made no particular fuss about who was top of the class because I would have hated the attention.

I don't really get the enthusiasm for prizes, particularly those for being top of the class. The person who's top of the class already knows that they're in that position. Likewise the people who are good at sports tend to end up in the teams. The best artwork ends up being prominently displayed. And so on. With a little imagination, there are plenty of ways kids can receive due praise for their achievements without singling out a select few in front of the whole school. If you insist on doling out cups and badges and other crap like that, the categories could at least be broad, reasonably independent of each other, and not restricted to the ability to pass exams. But really I can't see any point to prize-giving ceremonies - waste of time in my opinion.

melika Thu 18-Jul-13 08:22:18

I have 2 DS one is sporty and average, the other very academic but tries hard at sport, it's been really great to see them excel in different fields. They are individuals and I appreciate it. Yes the same names get read out and you know they are going places. But I don't resent them, I think good for them. Saying that my DS2 got 6th place in his year at Grammar School which really surprised me but when he went up at assembly he got a bar of Cadburys!

ComposHat Thu 18-Jul-13 08:22:43

The idea tgat 'all must have prizes' is bollocks. The kuds who hsve worked hard, improved significantly or achieved an important milestone should be reward ed, not spread round evenly in the interest of 'fairness'.

To gove an award to a child who has just coasted along devalue s the concept and probably demoralises the chols who has worked to earn it.

AlanMoore Thu 18-Jul-13 09:03:04

I used to win stuff and get picked for stuff because I was articulate, could learn lines and was reliable and hard working.

I was bullied by the children of people with attitudes like some of the ones on here to the extent that by the age of 10 I was deliberately under performing in tests.

Try and remember that the children concerned are CHILDREN with FEELINGS just like your pfb, rather than 'overachievers' with pushy parents (mine were not at all).

Nobody wants to see their child disappointed but I was made ill by the bullying so please remember that the teachers make these choices and your ire should be all for them if you think its unfair, not the children, they don't deserve scorn.

MadeOfStarDust Thu 18-Jul-13 09:18:05

I'm now torn totally - DD just had her end of year 7 assembly yesterday - and came home with 4 certificates.

one of which was for "Outstanding Performances and Compositions in music throughout the year" So she went through primary school TOTALLY ignored for musical ability (the thing SHE feels is her main talent) amongst 60 kids - and felt miffed when the playing in the school plays/ceremonies etc always went to someone else... but now she has been given top of the year - 240 kids - by the music teacher and asked to perform in Y7 assembly.

So I'm chuffed to bits that she got an award, but at the same time wary that there may be someone in the position she was in in primary school - just not being noticed....

JakeBullet Thu 18-Jul-13 09:18:19

My DS' s school gives little awards throughout the year.hThey also give each child credits each term for things like attitude, behaviour, kindness etc. Those who are not doing well get support to make changes.

At the end of the year all the credits are added up and the children get an award based on their credits. Thosein the hhighest group get a trip to a theme park, the next group go bowling, the third group get a voucger and the final group get a certificate of merit. Everyone gets something but all want to be in the top group.

Last year DS got bowling and he was furious grin.The school told him what he needed to do in order to achieve higher marks and this year he has done it. As he is autistic this is not always easy for him but the school adjust their expectations for him based on this.
So he is off to a theme park on Monday much to his delight.

Pigsmummy Thu 18-Jul-13 09:23:49

Surely that's like saying that you don't want the gold medal being given to the winner. Life isn't like that.

In the same way that if a pupil shows talent in a sport they will get extra coaching, sometime at county level, a child that hasn't got the same ability won't. It's not unfair on either and unless it continues then we won't get sporting greats in the future.

Dixiefish Thu 18-Jul-13 09:30:02

My Dcs' school has prizes for all sorts of things as well as academic excellence, eg courtesy, service to others, effort, love of reading, love of performance, effort by SEN kid - potentially there's something for everyone, which is good. Even so, some children win more than one award, some win nothing.

There's always going to be kids who excel at many things - and it's NOT always the ones with the pushy parents by any means – and good for them. It's hardly fair not to recognise their achievement. I tell my DC that's life and shouldn't stop them trying their best.

AngelinaCongleton Thu 18-Jul-13 09:32:21

I think teachers do seem to often only see the more confident children. I think some kids are good at everything at primary level. It is tiresome to constantly have to make the kids feel better when they don't get picked or win or whatever. My daughter goes to a massive school, so chances of her winning or getting picked is always slim. Luckily she goes to some extra curricular stuff that seem to strike the balance of celebrating winners and giving all the kids a sense of achievement. Something that our massive (but great academically) school is not so good at.

NoComet Thu 18-Jul-13 09:34:07

YANBU, schools can be very lazy.

DD2 has a huge stack of certificates for English. Yes she is good at English, but surely someone else's child had tried hard that week too.

(DD is the granddaughter of two English teachers and has pocked every literacy gene they passed on to her dad. I'm not certain she has to try very hard in English lessons)

lainiekazan Thu 18-Jul-13 09:34:54

I agree that schools can't get it right.

Ds plays the piano fairly decently and by the end of primary school was Grade 5. But - he was not allowed to participate in the end of year concert because he had learnt piano out of school. I sort of understood where they were coming from, but ds was a bit put out.

I tell dd that academic success is its own reward (not sure if this is true!) as she never receives any praise. She is very quiet and I hope one day someone says, "No one puts Baby in the corner" to her [hopefully not holiday camp dance professional though grin ]

ZingWidge Thu 18-Jul-13 10:39:12

yabu and sound a bit jealous

if those kids are talented or the best at that sport they should win and get the awards.

and a confident child still might get stage fright - so what? doesn't mean they don't deserve the award or special activity or whatever for their talent.
(your comment about that was a bit mean, you are not in a position to judge why they got the special trip)

you win some, you loose some and some people never win.
even if that's unfair it's a good lesson to learn, because life is full of disappointments and kids need to learn how to suck it up and carry on.

I do hope your children achieve to be great or the best at something one day - but maybe it will be something that is not awarded with a medal.
like being kind or generous.

ZingWidge Thu 18-Jul-13 10:52:14

my DS3 had an excellent school report, he is more than significantly above average so he had SAA+ next to most of the subjects.

and for improvement? the teacher couldn't apologize enough that she had to put C or N/A - she said he is working on such a consistently high level that it can not be expected that he improves on it further, but there's no way to reflect this!

he is in year 3. has 4a for most subjects, and A+ for effort, yet it looks like he didn't improve much since the beginning of the school year!grin grin grin grin
just hilarious.

but otherwise I agree, grading effort and improvements as well as the actual grades give a much more balanced and realistic result.

Lilicat1013 Thu 18-Jul-13 11:11:17

I never won a thing as a child, I was averagely intelligent with undiagnosed and dyspraxia. I was quiet, well behaved and ignored.

It is gutting to know no matter how hard you try you no one will ever notice or reward it. I am sure that is a good lesson for life but it seems cruel to have it pointed out so early on. As an adult I know I am pretty useless but it would have been nice to have a few years where I could have believed that I could do it if I just tried really hard.

The message I took away from primary school was I was stupid, invisible, unpopular and ugly. I was basically a defective human being and there was really no hope for me. It is something that I have carried through till adulthood.

This was in part due to being constantly bullied and I also didn't get a lot of encouragement at home but someone telling me that there was something did well would have meant the world to me.

I don't think there should be prizes for everyone but I think they should be some prizes that everyone has a chance of getting. Stuff like fastest runner or best at maths should go to the children that are. There should be stuff like best at helping, kindest to others or most improved that all children could potentially obtain if they put the effort. They should still be earned and should still mean something but it they wouldn't be out of reach of anyone body who wanted to be aim for it.

No matter how hard I tried at school I would never have been best at maths/spelling/running etc no matter how hard I tried but I could have worked hard to be the most helpful child.

It is a sore subject to me, not only because of my own experiences but because my oldest son has autism. He will start school next year and it is very unlikely he will be best at anything since he will already significantly behind his peer group.

This is why I am not pushing for him to go to mainstream school. I would prefer him to go to a special school where hopefully they will encourage him and make him feel valued rather than have to learn he is considered less than his classmates early on.

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