To be pissed off with school attendance awards.

(127 Posts)
FortyDoorsToNowhere Wed 23-Oct-13 21:45:14

I hate it, a child can't help getting ill or can not get to school on time as it down to the adult taking them.
then there are children who have appointments, such as SALTS or paediatrician which are often difficult to rearrange.

What pisses me off is that my son has many appointments, so he will never get 100% attendance and never gets these awards.

aibu to think attendance awards should be banned in school.

TreeFuMom Wed 23-Oct-13 21:46:47



Tiredmumno1 Wed 23-Oct-13 21:51:29

I thought that's why they do unauthorised and authorised absences for this reason, at least they do at one of my DS's schools, so if they are authorised then it gets counted in.

I suppose the schools can't think of any other ways to get the kids there on time and everyday, if there is no good reason of course.

Which I find a much better way of handling it, as I know all too well about having to have appointments in school time unfortunately.

quoteunquote Wed 23-Oct-13 21:52:09


christinarossetti Wed 23-Oct-13 21:52:53

They really irritate me. I've just put my children's in the recycling.

Do they actually improve attendance, does anyone know?

Tiredmumno1 Wed 23-Oct-13 21:54:39

Sorry I should have added that I know not all schools do this blush. Maybe they should if they insist on awards.

WhoNickedMyName Wed 23-Oct-13 21:55:19


I find the people who are against these are the ones whose children are unlikely, for whatever reason, to ever get one.

There's a kid in DS's class who will most likely never win any award at school, but his attendance has been 100% since he started. It's probably the only award he will ever win in his school career.

Some kids will never win a race at sports day, some will never win a reading challenge award or a maths award. That's life.

Tiredmumno1 Wed 23-Oct-13 21:56:02

Good point Christina, I have no idea grin.

chocnomore Wed 23-Oct-13 21:56:08

yanbu. Dd has SN and frequent appointments. she misses out on the awards pretty often. luckily she is nit bothered but I do not think it is fair.

JackNoneReacher Wed 23-Oct-13 21:56:09


Especially unpleasant that a child who is chronically ill/needs surgery will never get the award. What sort of message is this...?

Meanwhile there is an award for a. being lucky or b. coming into school even when you've been up all night with the shits.

Wallison Wed 23-Oct-13 21:57:34

YANBU, for all of the reasons that you cite. Being well enough to have no days off school is a matter of good fortune, not a matter of doing something right or wrong, so I don't see why it should be rewarded.

I also don't see how it helps with chronic non-attenders who aren't in school because of their parents' drug/alcohol etc problems, or those whose parents don't take their education seriously - in order to turn around these children's educational experience, there needs to be a serious concerted effort and a multi-pronged approach, where agencies work with the school and with parents. But that takes time and money and person-power that is not always readily available, so instead schools go around handing out attendance awards and give themselves a pat on the back for their 'initiative'.

thefirstmrsrochester Wed 23-Oct-13 21:59:10

I think they are unfair and pointless. My dc primary school didn't do them for the reasons mentioned. You don't choose to be ill, you just are sometimes. YANBU.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Wed 23-Oct-13 22:00:05

It seems almost every school values attendance over a child's heath.

JackNoneReacher Wed 23-Oct-13 22:00:08

whonickedmyname the reading/maths/sports awards are often achieved through hard work and may be won by different students each year.

You don't earn or work hard for an attendance award. There is no achievement. Its just luck. Thats the difference and that's why many people don't like them.

I can see both sides of this tbh- I agree children can't help being ill and certainly in primary it is mostly the parents responsibility to get them there on time. However, apart from the fact that my children have been blessed with excellent health, even when my son was being bullied he never asked to take time off school and had perfect attendance for 5 years running - he missed a couple of days in P1 and P2. I think that deserved to be recognised in some way. He did get a certificate one year, but it was a photocopied sheet without even his name having been filled in and dated 1997......he wasn't even born until it was a bit of a waste of time.

I think that as long as there are a variety of different awards that children are able to get, having some that some children would find difficult to achieve is okay as long as the same "value" is given to each award i.e. a pencil or badge or whatever.

For example, I wouldn't expect there to be no awards for academic achievement or sporting achievement just because a child is not gifted in either department. However, I think the majority should be for effort as that sends an important message I think.

WhoNickedMyName Wed 23-Oct-13 22:02:21

Jack but isn't it nice for some children who might never academically achieve or be sporty enough or whatever to win anything else, to win just that one thing - even if it is through sheer good luck?

LynetteScavo Wed 23-Oct-13 22:03:48

They are pointless.

Unless you have a child who isn't good at anything, apart from going to school everyday.

For some children, those who sit on the bottom table, and can't pay attention for more than 30 seconds, and don't quite get that a cube has six faces and pushes, and has a packet of biscuits and a fruit shoot for their lunch.....for these children it may be the only certificate (apart from star of the week, which they don't get until July and only then because they are the only child in the class who hasn't had it) they get.

southeastastra Wed 23-Oct-13 22:05:40

can this subject now have it's own topic please?

LynetteScavo Wed 23-Oct-13 22:06:15

My Dyslexic DD hasn't missed a day of school in 3 years.

I jokingly said to her teacher if she wen't to school every day for the rest of the year, and made it to four years without a day off, maybe we should reward her.

Her teacher howled and said "Oh, yes, lets give her a book." hmm grin

I think for some children it can be hard work and dedication for them to make it into school every day.

Sirzy Wed 23-Oct-13 22:12:06

I don't understand how they are allowed as surely it is disability discrimination?

Health is out of control of the child. But awards like this encourage children to attend school when they should be off which means children who are already more vulnerable to illness will end up catching more bugs and need more time off.

LynetteScavo Wed 23-Oct-13 22:17:26

Lets not pretend anyone ever went to school when they were poorly just to get a crappy photo copied certificate.

Sirzy Wed 23-Oct-13 22:18:21

But in too many schools its not just certificates, it's parties and trips and other prizes.

LynetteScavo Wed 23-Oct-13 22:18:37

Mind you, there are plenty of kids sent i to school dosed up with calpol because mum and dad need to go to work.

JackNoneReacher Wed 23-Oct-13 22:20:08

I would still sooner not reward good luck whonicked.

Much prefer to see 'best improvement', 'hardest worker' or whatever other award you could make up which actually reflected a childs achievements.

tiggytape Wed 23-Oct-13 22:20:22

YANBU but these threads always attract people who say "but it might be the only award poor little Fred ever gets"

That hardly compensates for the fact that lots of disabled children are also more likely to be excluded from sporting and academic awards because of their disability and the attendance award is just another thing they will never have a sniff of a chance of getting

It has the added effect of making them feel even more crappy that a condition that marks them out as different, causes them pain, embarrassment or upset and costs them things they enjoy has the power to wreck another small part of their school experience. The chance to go up in assembly and get a well done.

Hospital appointments are only in school time for the most part. There's no choice. And no, it isn't like a run of bad luck when another child has Norovirus and chickenpox all in the same term. Disability means long term and it means that some children already know that in the Summer term of 2014 they cannot win an attendance award because their hospital appointments go up that far already angry

LynetteScavo Wed 23-Oct-13 22:28:16

Oh, FFS, DS1 had hospital appointments every six he never had a 100% certificate as he was also a school refuser. He got over it.

As I said they are pointless certificates.

Don't tell DD that

PurpleGirly Wed 23-Oct-13 22:30:20

It is just another award given to pupils amongst ones for attainment, behaviour, improvement etc. every child should have an opportunity to be rewarded. Schools do not penalise for someone being ill but they do have targets for attendance, lates etc.

It is an important part of schooling for pupils to understand the importance of being there - not those who are genuinely ill, or have appointments etc. but for those who just don't feel like coming in, which happens a lot in secondary school. Attendance is linked to attainment - you would probably be surprised at some of the reasons I have had for absence ( had to stay at home as the new Call of Duty was out being one).

Soontobeslendergirl "I think for some children it can be hard work and dedication for them to make it into school every day." True, but for some children it can be hard work and dedication for them to make it into school for the 90% of days that they are well enough to attend or don't have a medical appointment.

WhoNickedMyName "I find the people who are against these are the ones whose children are unlikely, for whatever reason, to ever get one." I'm against them and while my DD isn't school age yet, her nursery attendance suggests that she is likely to be one of the lucky children who doesn't have a lot of time off ill or having appointments.

It only takes a little empathy to understand what it is like to struggle into school with some sort of chronic health issues but require the odd day off and then see the kids who are lucky enough not to have your health problems also being rewarded for it. Or to be the child who caught D&V from a classmate who wasn't kept off for the required 48 hours and was then kept off and lost out on the award due to their diligent parents safeguarding the health of their classmates.

In secondary school I didn't have a day off in 6 years, but then caught flu and was in bed for a week. I would have much preferred not to have had flu and have been in school. Flu was punishment enough without missing out on an award.

Why not just put names into a hat, pull them out at random and give those children an award. It really is luck.

tiggytape Wed 23-Oct-13 22:32:34

Lynette - Except at some schools they have special trips that only the children with 100% attendance can go on. Or a prize draw. Or a special treat of some kind that all the children want and are encouraged to work towards by not missing any school days.

There was a poster a while back here who contacted the Asthma Charity when she came up against similar and they referred her to the Equality Commission who said, if there were prizes for 100% attendance, disabled children would need to have their hospital appointments recorded separately and not included in the figures as a "reasonable adjustment" under Equality Law

HeeHiles Wed 23-Oct-13 22:35:49

My heart broke for my dd2 - she is never ill and always on time for school - except for one morning I was ill and struggled to get her to school - we were 5 mins late - she didn't get the certificate :-(

LynetteScavo Wed 23-Oct-13 22:52:26

Trips for 100% attendance? Bizarre. Please don't tell me you have to pay togo on these trips (like the engagement trips to Alton Towers at DS1's school....hey kids, you've behaved really well, if your parents can suddenly fork out £35 you can go to Alton Towers...if not, you have to spend the day at school with all the naughty other kids).

WestieMamma Thu 24-Oct-13 00:04:45

I think attendance certificates are fine. Attendance rewards like parties or trips are absolutely not fine.

Rahahaharubbish Thu 24-Oct-13 00:26:35

FFS it's perfectly obvious that this award has nothing to do with a child with a legitimate reason for absence - it's to engage those who are conditioned by their parents that school isn't important... and that it's cold outside... and that no-one can be bothered to wake them up... and that so what if they miss yet another day, we'll come up with an excuse for them missing school to stop them prosecuting.

I work with kids like this everyday and it's soul destroying. The child who hasn't managed a full week yet this term, and now even when she does no one wants to let her join in group work because they know damn well she won't be there next week so it'll mean more work for them. Self perpetuating misery - how can you engage with others, make friends and grow academically if you're simply not pushed to be there? On the flip side I also have the kid who was subject to local authority action last year for his attendance but this year is on the 100% attendance board so far this term.

So yes, forgive me for supporting attendance awards, in my experience those who have reasons for not being in school generally understand why and often have plenty of opportunity to be recognised in other ways. If we were purely judging kids on attendance then education would be far cheaper all round.

peachesandpickles Thu 24-Oct-13 00:31:12

YANBU. I was talking to my 7 year old dd about this today. She is a bit sad that her friend got a certificate and she didn't. It's not her fault she has asthma and has missed lots of days.

I told her I am going to give her a certificate for being so good at taking all her medication.

I don't see the point of these certificates. After it's not like dd can strive towards not having asthma. All it does is make her feel bad about missing school.

peachesandpickles Thu 24-Oct-13 00:37:56

But rahaha in the sort of families you are referring to how much say does a 4/5/6 year old have over whether they get to school or not? I can't see how their parents would suddenly be motivated to send them because they might get a cert.

I can see how it might help older kids as they can get themselves out to school.

ChazDingle Thu 24-Oct-13 08:37:32

We get an attendance award at work!!

If we don't have a day off all year then we get an extra £100 in our dec pay which works out about £65 after tax and NI.

Originally when they brought it in it was £25 per quarter but all paid in December. So if you had one day off in Feb you still got £75 at end of the year. The thinking behind this was that it was set at such a level that people wouldn't drag themselves into work ill but it gave recognition to those with 100% attendance.

PervCat Thu 24-Oct-13 09:00:34

surely appointments arent counted as absence?

tiggytape Thu 24-Oct-13 09:02:23

If they have those awards at work, they have to abide by equality law too.

For example if a pregnant colleague has a baby with growth concerns and needs weekly scans, they couldn't count that against her. If a colleague with diabetes has to attend a diabetes clininc every 3 months, they wouldn't be allowed to withhold that person's bonus.

Only time off for non-pregnancy and non-disability related reasons could be tallied up.

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 24-Oct-13 09:13:11


There are plenty of awards children can win that aren't academic.

Awards for trying hard regardless of outcome.
Awards for showing kindness
Awards for participating in activities/groups.

Awarding attendance is awarding parents for sending in sick kids and discriminating against ill/disabled children who don't stand a chance. Make a kid upset for something they can't help? Wow that's a good idea isn't it hmm

StanleyLambchop Thu 24-Oct-13 09:21:54

It is an important part of schooling for pupils to understand the importance of being there - not those who are genuinely ill, or have appointments etc. but for those who just don't feel like coming in

In that case why are hospital appointments included as an absence? it would be more fair to disregard them in respect of attendance awards, but many schools don't.

thebody Thu 24-Oct-13 09:23:25

yes a load of old bollocks op. totally agree.

neverputasockinatoaster Thu 24-Oct-13 09:24:59

I'm with you. They are pointless and don't really improve attendance in Primary School as attendance is mostly out of the child's control.

However - looking at it from the other side - if you are a school with poor attendance and getting slated by Ofsted for it you have to show you are taking steps to address it........

eggsandwich Thu 24-Oct-13 09:54:16

In my dd school they have an end of year school assembly where they give out trophys to the children who got 100% attendance, the funny thing was my dd friend got an award when she has been off sick, she told the headteacher as she was handed her award and the headteacher said "oh, never mind have it anyway." Bloody ridiculous idea anyway!

jellyboatsandpirates Thu 24-Oct-13 11:18:58

I find the people who are against these are the ones whose children are unlikely, for whatever reason, to ever get one.
There's a kid in DS's class who will most likely never win any award at school, but his attendance has been 100% since he started. It's probably the only award he will ever win in his school career.
Some kids will never win a race at sports day, some will never win a reading challenge award or a maths award. That's life.*

Agree with this. Why should those who can get an award miss out? As pointed out here, it's an award they can get where they might not get any otherwise.
Some things should be rewarded. Good behaviour, attendance etc.
Not just ignored.

JackNoneReacher Thu 24-Oct-13 11:22:34

Rahahaha are you saying these awards are effective in motivating the parents who can't be bothered to get their children to school?

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 24-Oct-13 11:24:09

But good attendance isn't an achievement. It's bloody good luck that all.

Writerwannabe83 Thu 24-Oct-13 11:24:20

At the school my nephew goes to they buy the Best Attender a bike at the end of the academic year. The boy who won it last year got 98% attendance.

Vagndidit Thu 24-Oct-13 11:27:52

Considering that my child has already been sent home twice from school this term, after his teacher decided he was too sick to stay, I would be quite annoyed if they started rewarding the parents who were committed to not answering their phone at work ensuring their child's education. hmm

fragola Thu 24-Oct-13 11:34:13


I don't get the "for some children it's the only award they're likely to get". The children who are unlikely to get other awards are just as likely (if not more so) to have hospital appointments, be ill etc.

More thought should be put into awards that are more inclusive and meaningful, such as trying hard, being kind etc. This gives all children something to work towards.

To issue awards for something that is out of their control just isn't fair.

TwoLeftSocks Thu 24-Oct-13 11:43:35

YANBU, and I'm glad DS's school don't do it.

elskovs Thu 24-Oct-13 11:49:28

When my son started his new school this year the head could see from his file he has history for lousy attendance - I keep him off whenever I feel like it, he is only 8. The way the head chose to encourage me to bring him everyday was to tell me he would be very unpopular if he let the class down. They have class awards there.

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 24-Oct-13 11:53:09

Class awards shock

Young children shouldn't feel responsible for their whole class missing out. Builds resentment and a lack of understanding for others

tiggytape Thu 24-Oct-13 11:53:18

I keep him off whenever I feel like it, he is only 8

I don't understand your comment. Do you really mean that you let him have random days off school with no illness, no appointments, no other reasons?

Is so then I am not surprised the Head is unhappy about it. I guess it would make you the exact type of parent the certificates are supposedly aimed at. Do the class awards / certificates motivate you not to take time off then?

Bumbolina Thu 24-Oct-13 12:02:10

I'm in my 30's and remember our school having these awards (I never got one!).

From memory, only a couple of kids ever achieved it - and they were generally laughed at because the poor saps hadn't had any time off grin

elskovs Thu 24-Oct-13 12:10:15

"Do you really mean that you let him have random days off school with no illness, no appointments, no other reasons?"

Well, less than legitimate reasons. Holidays in term time for example. The bulk is from when one is ill I keep them both off rather than drag the sick child along on the school run with us or make my husband get to work late to take one. I just don't think school is that important at their age.

We had a weeks holiday middle of September, so to avoid that being down as "unauthorised" I delayed registering him in school (its a new area) until after that holiday. So far he has been in 4 weeks without a day off.

I decided to keep the 5 year old off school altogether this year as he only managed 70 something % attendance last year and we were at risk of being fined.

I don't think class attendance awards are at all fair on the child though. Its not an 8 year olds fault if he doesn't get to school.

NoComet Thu 24-Oct-13 12:12:56

We need funding for a EWO (education welfare officer) and other support staff.

Not shirty letters to DCs who were genuinely ill, followed a week later by a smug 100% letter for the next term.

I wish I'd recorded DD2 reading these letters out. Her sarcastic tone of voice summed up the whole farce perfectly.

janeyjampot Thu 24-Oct-13 12:18:53

There's a boy in my DD's form at secondary who is so determined to get 100% attendance that he sometimes vomits in class. Personally I'd rather he was rewarded for being responsible and thinking of others than coming to school with illnesses that could be transmitted to others.

My workplace has attempted many, many incentives like these to bring down sickness. Monetary bonus, team bonus, an extra days holiday. Ten years, eight incentives and we reviewed the outcome last April. No significant improvement. None. If people are sick or the kind people who fake it, these incentives have no impact.

On children the only impact IMO is the Childs feelings. As it's the parents making decisions, and if extra money can't make them stay in work, a piece of paper isn't going to make them force their child to school. the only outcome is disappointed children. And the few proud children who feel all the worse next term when they are sick and mum won't take them in.

2tiredtoScare Thu 24-Oct-13 12:54:41

I was really happy when my DD1 got her 100% attendance award as I couldn't drive at the time and used to walk the 45 minutes to nursery every day and used to feel like I was letting them down because I couldn't drive so was proud of her award. Don't think your BU as I know of several children her are often late as their parents are laid back in the mornings!

fuckerandbawl Thu 24-Oct-13 12:57:30


All it's saying is, well done for being somewhere where you have to be on time.

MsWilliamTheBloody Thu 24-Oct-13 13:04:29

DS's school is doing my head in with their attendance wankery.

DS was really poorly last year with an impacted bowel and had a fair few weeks off school.

Is sorted now and he's not had a day off since. And it was really good before the bowel issues. Yet the school (one particular person - no idea what her role is - busybody?) are currently bombarding me with letters saying stuff like:

WELL DONE for getting DS to school!! CONGRATULTIONS on your good attendance. THANK YOU for supporting us in this matter.


FUCK OFF!! He was ill!

Was I supposed to send him in while he was in agony and having frequent poo related accidents?


2tiredtoScare Thu 24-Oct-13 13:06:28

That is very patronising, I'd be royally pissed off too

kalms1971 Thu 24-Oct-13 13:09:05

These awards get me mad. Ds has appointments for his medication etc and will never get 100% attendance award because of this. I am always trying to be positive about his appointments but then these stupid awards make him feel different and he says its not fair sad

hillbilly Thu 24-Oct-13 13:14:29

At our school, every week the class with the highest attendance gets a cake to share out hmm

MsWilliamTheBloody Thu 24-Oct-13 13:15:03

That is very patronising, I'd be royally pissed off too.

They sometimes post a 'Good Attendance' sticker too.

I have about five of them on my fridge.

Everytime I get the milk out I see them and pull this face: confused

2tiredtoScare Thu 24-Oct-13 13:17:34

We got a pencil!

MsWilliamTheBloody Thu 24-Oct-13 13:36:12

A pencil?

Ooooo, 'citing!!


NoComet Thu 24-Oct-13 13:40:45

We'll probably get a shity letter this term to because DD hurt her knee.

Had she not insisted on going to school the next day, it probably wouldn't have ended up flaring up to the point she missed three days the following week.

2tiredtoScare Thu 24-Oct-13 13:43:30

It was very exclusive grin

NoComet Thu 24-Oct-13 13:48:30

And that's the whole problem, you as the parent aren't judged competent to decide when your DC is too ill or hurt to go to school.

You might know they coughed themselves sick or guzzled a ton of party food and haven't got D&V and don't need 48 hours off.

You might know your YR or Y7 is absolutely exhausted and one day off will stop them going down with something for the following week.

You know walking on injured limbs will only cause more grief.

And you know sometimes the little darling is pulling a fast one and simply needs some paracetamol and some TLC.

First Aider at senior school is great at this, primary sec. sent them home just a bit too easily.

2tiredtoScare Thu 24-Oct-13 13:54:15

I detest people who knowingly send kids in with sickness bugs

nf1morethanjustlumpsandbumps Thu 24-Oct-13 13:59:52

YANBU. When I was at school it was a day out - BBQ type of thing. When I was in fourth year my dad passed away suddenly and then two weeks later I was in hospital for scheduled spinal surgery so obviously missed quite a bit of time of school that year through no fault of my own. When it came to the end of year outing I was excluded from it and made stay behind at school because of my 'poor'. I was upset as all my friends went off on their outing and I was left behind like I had done something wrong. Twenty odd years later I still feel hurt about it. Can't imagine that would seem reasonable to anyone hmm

My son has special needs and his school doesn't count hospital appointments as absences as long as I copy the letter into the school.

They are very annoying and discriminatory and unimaginative.

And that's from someone whose DC have both had several.

Much more interesting when dd had a postcard for good work sent by the geography department - something more personal is much more memorable. With thought every child could get an award (or several ?) for something over their school career.

Went to one end of term assembly where only attendance awards were given out by hand by head-teacher (way too much emphasis on them and on nothing else)
I couldn't sit still for adjusting my judgy pants grin

treas Thu 24-Oct-13 14:02:17

It's probably the only award he will ever win in his school career.

Well then schools should be more creative and imaginative in rewarding the children for something they put effort into achieving.

Speaking as a parent whose children always receive attendance awards. My children find them pointless and think them unfair to children who have been away for reasons beyond their control, e.g. illness.

DismemberedDwerf Thu 24-Oct-13 14:07:58

They have this at my local primary, those with 100% attendance get a trip in a limo to a restaurant. Dd3 was sent home feeling very sick last week, now she knows she's not going, it doesn't exactly give her motivation to not swing the lead. But I've had rumours they are moving to a termly reward instead, which is a better idea.

On the other hand, they do like rewarding the kids for a variety of stuff; smile of the week, most helpful, reading awards, excellent work rewards. For a time they were doing a raffle system, so that any child could earn tickets for a variety of things and go into the raffle.

Personally, I reward my kids when I get good reports at parent evenings. And by good reports I mean when I'm told they've worked hard, kept out of trouble and generally been the sort of kids that are a pleasure to teach. I wouldn't do it on grades.

I think they're quite disrespectful really to children and parents because they inherently don't acknowledge or accept that the main reason (or surely one of the main reasons) for absence from school is illness and/or attending medical appointments.
Also I think they give out an unrealistic and intolerant message that 100% attendance at school or later in life at work should be achievable by everyone

HappyMummyOfOne Thu 24-Oct-13 15:54:36

Our school does half term certificates and a term one with a prize, usually chocolate or pencils. I like them, DS sometimes gets one, sometime not.

Some children may never get another award bar this one so its nce to see. It always appears to be the same children picked for sports, plays etc whereas this one is out of the hands of teachers.

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 24-Oct-13 16:17:52

But it's also out if the hands of the kids. It rewards parents only.

Congratulations for sending your child in poorly.

Well done for fulfilling your legal duty of taking your child to school where they legally have to be.

Congratulations on not being ill or homeless and lucky enough to be in a situation where you can take the very best care of your children in the hope that they can be as healthy as possible .

And well done for not having a child that suffers from an illness that results in time off school for appointments.

I cannot believe it's something that's is seriously allowed!

PennySillin Thu 24-Oct-13 16:25:38

Starballbunny this is exactly what happened to DS last week. He coughed at lunchtime until he was unfortunately sick (food went down the wrong way he said) so school rang me and asked me to fetch he which I duly did. When I picked him up he seemed fine, the history did not point to a bug, no further vomiting, no fever, normal stools, no abdo pain but school would not allow him back as he had vomited. (DH is a GP and I am a minor illness nurse and even with our assessment they still wouldn't allow him back) angry

On the plus side we had a lovely day off together smile

insanityscratching Thu 24-Oct-13 16:29:03

Dd's school has started handing out weekly attendance certificates, it's the only time dd has ever had a certificate for attendance tbh. I suppose with weekly targets there is a good chance that all children will receive quite a few throughout the year.

Yeh, I suppose weekly might be slightly better, but on the other hand more times to be disappointed about not getting one for sick children.

jamdonut Thu 24-Oct-13 16:41:35

You'd think that, by the time you are an adult, this sort of thing would be grown out of, wouldn't you? But no.

Tesco reward their staff for 100% attendance for a "quarter" with a certificate and a chocolate bar. I kid you not. DH was the 'proud' ( hmm ) recipient of one of these recently.

I work in a school,and I can see both sides of this argument. No-one expects a genuinely sick child to be in school. And yes, it seems unfair if you are off a lot through no fault of your own.

But it IS an achievement for some children, and I don't see why they shouldn't be rewarded for it.
Most children understand it is a bit of a lottery.
Maybe we should stop giving awards for anything:sport awards,music awards ,competitions etc,as it it is always going to be 'unfair' to someone?

PennySillin Thu 24-Oct-13 16:47:09

But giving an award for music, sport, competitions is a true achievement whereas I believe attendance is. The child has either been forced to go to school unwell or has been lucky and hasn't caught the latest bug doing the rounds during term time or at all. I don't believe avoiding illness is a true "achievement"

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 24-Oct-13 16:48:54

How is it an achievement though?
They can't take themselves to school? And surely it's an insult to a child's intelligence that a poxy piece of paper is the answer to all their emotional struggles and fears??
It doesn't address the issues behind why a child may not want to go.

Perhaps stopping the bullies or providing help with school work would help?

But not certificates

Can I just repeat this, posted earlier by Rararubbish.

"FFS it's perfectly obvious that this award has nothing to do with a child with a legitimate reason for absence - it's to engage those who are conditioned by their parents that school isn't important... and that it's cold outside... and that no-one can be bothered to wake them up... and that so what if they miss yet another day, we'll come up with an excuse for them missing school to stop them prosecuting."

We are taking our 100% attenders to the cinema tomorrow.
Some parents see school as optional, if they can be bothered to get out of bed, if it's not raining, if they were drunk the night before etc.
These awards do motivate children like this.
We have achieved amazing attendance this term because of the possibility of a cinema trip. For over half of the 50 children coming it will be their first ever visit to see a film.

What can be so bad about that?

And actually, lots of our children do bring themselves to school.

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 24-Oct-13 16:54:24

What can be so bad about that??

How about the fact that the other half of the kids don't stand a chance of going confused

Gileswithachainsaw Thu 24-Oct-13 16:55:22

Not because no one woke them up, bit because they were ILL through no fault of their own

But it's a particular sort of unfairness to lose out, especially something like a treat (which I'd really want to complain about), due to suffering with an illness in childhood.

It's crazy too as on the other hand we give children awards for their bravery in times of sickness such as in the Heroes type shows on TV
- I don't really rate those either because in my book if you have childhood cancer and want to scream and shout and cry about how unfair it is and how it hurts, if that helps you through more than being brave, then who am I or anyone else to judge you?

< grumpy old woman hopefully with heart in the right place smile >

christinarossetti Thu 24-Oct-13 16:56:51

I have less objection to them if there is evidence that they increase attendance.

2tiredtoScare Thu 24-Oct-13 17:14:34

Is that in secondary school morecrack

PurpleGirly Thu 24-Oct-13 17:33:17

So what the majority of people are saying here is that rewards should only be allowed if their own DC can win one? My son will never win an award for sport, but that does not mean others shouldn't . He also won't get one for attendance as he has had some time off every year with illness, but I don't get wound up about it. Or begrudge those who have been in 100%.

I teach in a secondary school and our pupils are rewarded for everything from attendance to attainment to kindness and community spirit.

We have reward trips every term. Pupils must have over 93% attendance, with some exceptional circumstances permitted. They must also have behaved. Form groups in each year with the highest attendance get free dress days. When they get to year 11 their attendance at the prom depends on behaviour and attendance.

This all encourages the pupils to take responsibility for their own attendance - teenagers need very little persuasion to be off! Looking at the comments of the parent above who seems to think attendance is optional (the one who has kept her child off all year as last year's attendance was 70% and she doesn't want the fine) then I think we do the right thing.

Regarding attendance is a positive thing and has had an effect on attendance figures in my school and also schools around here.

PurpleGirly Thu 24-Oct-13 17:34:55

Rewarding not regarding

harticus Thu 24-Oct-13 17:46:35

pupils are rewarded for everything from attendance to attainment to kindness and community spirit

I'd rather awards were given for something quantifiable like attendance than something like kindness.
Anything relying on subjective interpretation of behaviour by members of staff is always open to abuse and unfairness.

tiggytape Thu 24-Oct-13 17:48:15

So what the majority of people are saying here is that rewards should only be allowed if their own DC can win one?

No, they are saying rewards should not automatically exclude children on the grounds of disability. If a child has hospital appointments booked months in advance, they are automatically excluded from ever being able to win.

Form groups in each year with the highest attendance get free dress days.

How lovely. Really inclusive. So you encourage the whole clas to turn on the children who let them down? As if going into hospital for endless tests and therapies isn't bad enough - the whole class can be pissed off with one or two children who stuff up their chances of winning every time.

It is even worse of trips and prom attendance depend on this
I very much hope your school wouldn't exclude a child who has to attend hospital appointments every week from such treats and if they do, I very much hope they get taken to task over it because that would be outrageous as well as illegal.

People here seem to forget about Equality Laws. The laws that meant when you got pregnant your employer couldn't get narky about you going off for scans (or had to be quietly narky at least).
Laws that say a disabled person is allowed to have more time off work than a non disabled colleague and cannot be disciplined for that. Laws that say schools have to do whatever is reasonable to make sure a child does not suffer any disadvantage as a direct result of their disability.

Some of these schools are positively Victorian in their attitude to the more vulnerable people in their communities.

I work in a Primary, 2tired.
An inner city primary in an extremely deprived area where schools have to do everything in their power to ensure attendance is average or above, or face the wrath of OFSTED.

I work with children who have attendance at less than 75%, and parents are at risk of prosecution. And yes, some children do get themselves up and ready and walk to school alone.
Our attendance raffle is drawn each week, so any child with 100% and no lates in that week is entered, even if their attendance is previously poor. Much fairer than a termly prize.

And tbh, my daughter will never win her school's maths prize.
Not due to lack of effort, but simply because she is naturally crap at maths. I don't think they should do away with the award!
I am sorry if people feel their dc are missing out through circumstances beyond their control, but in a school like mine these kinds of prizes mean some children make the average grade. And the pressure upon schools to achieve this is enormous.

Mim78 Thu 24-Oct-13 18:09:17

I think the child who is chronically ill is the clincher - if they have hospital appts or need surgery it is sad that there are awards they can never win.

If it's just a certificate or sticker maybe not so bad, but I've heard of the 100% attendance parties and that's really sad. Also your child being in school when contagious is clearly not good for anyone.

Probably those kids who are not good at Maths, sport or whatever else might win a prize could get prizes for kindness or effort rather than attendance.

So I think YANBU.

2tiredtoScare Thu 24-Oct-13 18:17:23

Wow morecrack a primary! Sounds like those kids deserve a treat. Puts things in perspective

PurpleGirly Thu 24-Oct-13 18:30:46

Er tiggytape that's why my post says 93% but exceptional circumstances taken in to account.

My school is inclusive and most certainly not Victorian in its attitude.

complexnumber Thu 24-Oct-13 18:38:34

No one's child is being punished.

Some children are being rewarded.

tiggytape Thu 24-Oct-13 19:36:35

PurpleGirly - I am glad that exceptional circumstances include disabled children who have appointments that cannot take place outside school hours. I wasn't sure if you meant one off exceptional circumstances (death in the family) or whether you also meant children with chronic or ongoing medical issues.

complexnumber: Some workplaces have a bonus systems.
Nobody is punished but some employees get an extra reward.

The law says that any such systems must make all reasonable allowances for disabled people so they have the chance of getting the bonus too eg if it is attendance based then all hospital appointments directly related to their disability must be discounted because they are unavoidable and related to a disability which gives this employee special protection in law to have exceptions made for them

Schools should at the very least match what all workplaces must do by law. In fact they are legally obliged to as well but some to think they don't have to.

tiggytape Thu 24-Oct-13 19:37:46

..and I would argue being excluded from a class party or being blamed for the whole class missing out on a treat is a punishment as well.

hels71 Thu 24-Oct-13 19:46:18

DDs school give certificates for 95% or more attendance. The school I work in give 100% attendance and improved attendance. The child we had who was seriously ill got an award for being in as often as he could.

hackmum Thu 24-Oct-13 19:53:47

I don't understand the point of these awards. Schools are always telling you not to bring your child in if it has chicken pox/D&V/nits, but surely this is encouraging you to bring them in regardless?

DD's primary used to give awards for things like improvement, or effort, or even (for the little ones) helping a new child settle in.

Choccy84 Thu 24-Oct-13 20:06:37


I worked at a crazy school where they gave out attendance certificates to staff as well!! Weird. You can't help being ill and I'd rather people didn't come into work if they had norovirus or something.

jamdonut Fri 25-Oct-13 08:02:46

Our school also has IMPROVED attendance a child who has had time off for,say, chronic illness can achieve this if they have a better term or year.

jamdonut Fri 25-Oct-13 08:04:47

Letters went out the other day saying nits are no longer a valid excuse for absence!! Probably because you can treat them with Hedrin overnight.

Gileswithachainsaw Fri 25-Oct-13 08:06:34

Improved attendance awards? shock

That's almost worse. Well done for your asthma not flaring up this term hmm

It's just rubbing their nose in it

Sirzy Fri 25-Oct-13 08:07:23

I don't buy the "but some children will never get an award for maths" type argument. Most primary schools reward EFFORT rather than achievement for those types of awards so actually it should be possible for any child to be in with a chance of winning.

Rewarding improved attendance is better than expecting 100% attendance but still IMO a flawed system for the child with a chronic condition.

southeastastra Fri 25-Oct-13 08:09:49

have any of you written to the county council to complain about this or just bleat on mn occasionally about it

MollyWhuppie Fri 25-Oct-13 08:18:51

I have friends who will give their children days off at the drop of a hat - for the slightest sniffle - and I think it teaches them that attendance isn't important.

They have just started reception and I think when their children do not get the certificate at the end of the year they will feel bad that their child missed out, and will make more of an effort next year with attendance.

I think there are quite a few parents like that around, and I think they are the ones who the certificates are aimed at - to prevent unnecessary absences and boost attendance.

cory Fri 25-Oct-13 08:32:12

WhoNickedMyName Wed 23-Oct-13 21:55:19

I find the people who are against these are the ones whose children are unlikely, for whatever reason, to ever get one."

Some have children with compromised immune systems who will get into serious trouble if other parents are encouraged to send in their vomiting or poxy children.

The child who wins a race isn't actually putting somebody else at risk.

ChazDingle Fri 25-Oct-13 08:37:29

We didn't lose the work bonus for maternity appointments. For other appointments we have to take them out of work time anyway, or take flexitime or holiday so they wouldn't be sick time anyway.

At school if you are off unnecessarily it doesn't effect anyone else only the childs education (which is obviously important) but if you are sick at work it puts pressure on others which is not fair if you're not really ill.

FortyDoorsToNowhere Fri 25-Oct-13 08:43:08

Have read the thread and some amazing responses.

My son is not academic and he would be good at sports if he could cope in group activities. ( he is ASD)

I wish just once he could win an award, instead of struggling every thing in life. I just want to scream life for him is just so unfair

cory Fri 25-Oct-13 08:47:55

FortyDoors, plenty of children are in the same situation but also have to struggle with medical conditions which mean they could die if they catch ordinary childhood diseases- and yet the law says they have to be in school. Which means they are totally dependent on the responsible attitude of other parents. Life isn't fair. But there are degrees of unfairness.

PatoBanton Fri 25-Oct-13 08:52:55

Often parents who will flout the 48hr rule need no encouragement to do so, thus making a lot of other children ill while their child's attendance looks great.

Rewarding this sort of attitude however is a very poor idea.

It is better that one child stays at home for two days than that they come into school and ensure that 6 or 7? other children have to miss two days each. (those with conscientious parents)

cory Fri 25-Oct-13 09:02:56

For every parent I know who keeps their child off with a sniffle, I could think of another one who sends them in with a careless "oh, I'm sure it's only something he ate, he hasn't thrown up since this morning".

A friend of mine told me she had seen met an acquaintance at a softplay party and she had mentioned cheerfully that her ds had thrown up a couple of times that day. It turned out later that he had concussion: he had fallen and hit his head that morning and his mother knew about it. But didn't put two and two together and was the kind of person who prided herself on her brisk, no-nonsense attitude.

tiggytape Fri 25-Oct-13 12:50:29

have any of you written to the county council to complain about this or just bleat on mn occasionally about it

Of course. One of my DC's school doesn't do attendance awards. The other one does but, in line with equality legislation, discounts any days lost attending hospital appointments directly related to disability.

Last term alone we had 7 or 8 such days and yet got a shiny attendance award. Which is eqully stupid as well. I am very glad that all the non-disabled children who happened to catch a sick bugs did actually take time off and spared us even more time off school so I don't see why they should get left out either. Maybe a special 'responsible school citizen badge' or something for them?

It is frankly ridiculous. The people who like duvet days and take to their beds for the merest sniffle don't care anyway. The people who are responsible enough to care about attendance are the ones responsible enough to obey the 48 hour rule so cannot do both. And the ones with disabled children may care about attendance or not care but cannot do a lot about consultant appointments that always seem to run at 11am or 2pm on a Tuesday!

PatoBanton Fri 25-Oct-13 12:52:44

SEA you're in such a strop these days grin

Reastie Fri 25-Oct-13 12:55:16

YANBU. I've always hated these, like rewarding those that either happened to not be particularly ill one year or who went to school anyway and passed it around to everyone else very generously . I remember some classmates getting these and feeling really bad that I had dared to be ill and have time off school.

Couldn't we cut the crap and have a "you don't have feckless parents" award. I guarantee that the teachers could accurately identify who should get them.

grin @ breathslowly

treesntrees Fri 25-Oct-13 20:58:13

At my eldest three children's primary school there was an annual prize giving where every child got a prize. As well as the usual best at maths etc there were prizes for things like always being cheerful, holding the door open for a teacher, being kind etc. You get the picture. It was such a pleasure to see the look of pride on each child's face as they went up for their prize. Admittedly it was a very small school but in a large school it could surely be done by having prize giving for different sections at a time.

Misspixietrix Fri 25-Oct-13 22:32:13

YNBU!! Our School has just changed its policy to weekly awards instead of monthly. The kids with the 100% are likely to be the ones that come in half dead and spread the Lurgy around attendance IMO.

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