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To feel cross at my child's school?

(51 Posts)
Mavey9 Tue 17-Nov-15 13:34:33

I'll try to keep it brief. School runs various drawing competitions throughout the year. In reception a child I shall call 'Jane' won the Christmas card drawing competition which involved 60 kids. Fine, no probs. Fast forward to year 1, and 'Jane' wins the drawing competition for a school bench. Then within a few weeks 'Jane' also wins the drawing competition to design a label for something the school is selling. This means she has won all the drawing competitions, nobody else. My gripe isn't to do with my child not winning (as she didn't actually enter the competitions in year 1 as we had a lot going on at that time), but is more to do with the the fact there are 59 other children in the year group, who surely deserve a bit of a chance, and some are understandably starting to say there's no point entering a competition as 'Jane' will win it. They might be only 5 or 6 but they can sense unfairness when they see it. They should be encouraging trying and not making the kids think things are rigged before they even start. I should also add 'Jane' is not lacking in confidence or in need of a boost in any way; plenty others are however and it would do them good to win something. Do you think it's reasonable to voice my concerns about this with the school? I know I could come across as neurotic but it just seems wrong to me? Thanks.

SisterMoonshine Tue 17-Nov-15 13:38:34

How is Jane at sports and other competative things? Does she win everything, or drawing is her thing?
Thing is, if she is great at drawing and they would be committed to printing/selling labels, it makes sense to go with...the best drawing.

Oldraver Tue 17-Nov-15 13:38:47

It seems unfair but I'm not sure how it would go down to voice your concern.

DS goes to a small school and for the last five years the same person has had the lead part in the Christmas play. One parent did have a moan to me that it would be nice to give other children a chance but we decided we would be 'that' parent if anythign was said

jeee Tue 17-Nov-15 13:40:09

If the drawing competition is genuinely a drawing competition as opposed to a confidence building exercise and Jane or Jane's mum is genuinely the most talented artist, then it's hardly surprising she wins.

This is not something to go into school about. Really.

Mavey9 Tue 17-Nov-15 13:42:38

There haven't been many sporting things that have been competitive so far at school that I'm aware of, it's just this. I'm sure though that out of the 59 other kids there are a good few that are excellent at drawing. Plenty others to choose from without having to go with a dud I'd say!

Matildatoldsuchdreadfullies Tue 17-Nov-15 13:46:43

Are the school actually keeping records, though? They may simply flick through the entries and choose the best one - which happens to be Jane's - without realising that she always wins it.

SisterMoonshine Tue 17-Nov-15 13:47:01

Sometimes children do have a natural flair for it that you just can't argue with.
And it's awkward if everyone can see it: "wow, I wish I could draw like you" etc. And then a different picture then goes on to win.

MythicalKings Tue 17-Nov-15 13:48:38

If she's done the best entry it wouldn't be fair for her not to win, surely.

Mavey9 Tue 17-Nov-15 13:50:58

I know what you mean. But they are only 5 or 6; it's not like we are talking about older primary or secondary school kids and the difference starts to be obviously noticeable. I expect the school aren't keeping records, no. The parents are known for being the pushiest ones in the year group, and the most awkward with the teachers. Part of me thinks the school are trying to keep them happy?

RiverTam Tue 17-Nov-15 13:51:24

How do you know it isn't fair? If she really is the best then it's fair that she wins, no? Though drawing competitions are pretty unfair anyway as drawing is surely an innate talent? Maybe suggest some other competitions that are more about effort than talent?

Tiggeryoubastard Tue 17-Nov-15 13:51:42

Stopping the best entry winning to let others win would be 'rigging it'. The clue is in the word competition.

Needaninsight Tue 17-Nov-15 13:52:35

So it's a lesson in 'life isn't actually fair' and the 'best person should win'...yet you have a problem with it?

What if 'Jane' was your child and very talented? Would you be happy to see some dud drawing win and your child's fantastic effort go unnoticed, just because it wasn't fair to reward the best artist?

Seriously. Get a grip!

Rinoachicken Tue 17-Nov-15 13:54:24

One way around this would for them to pick the best 3, no 1st, 2nd 3rd, but just the best three. Less noticeable then if there is one standout everytime

arethereanyleftatall Tue 17-Nov-15 13:57:31

I think the best drawing should win it.

Mavey9 Tue 17-Nov-15 13:57:49

I'm not suggesting a dud should win. There were plenty good entries to choose from and the differences between them are surely subjective at this age and level of ability. Part of a school's responsibility is to encourage effort and trying, not to discourage it by picking same child each time, I would have thought.

Sighing Tue 17-Nov-15 13:59:31

My daughters often win the school maths challenge. (Anyone can enter, correct entries go in to a draw VERY few children enter).
They have, and probably wont, win a drawing competition. Should my daughter's school be handing the trophy over to those with the wrong answer? Or who don't win? My children win out of persistence in the main.
Other children having a stand out talent is an opportunity to teach children how to appreciate talent in others.
Should the UK not enter the rugby when NZ have such a brilliant team?

Sighing Tue 17-Nov-15 14:01:02

And that is the only time in my life I've used sport to emphasise my point!

Mavey9 Tue 17-Nov-15 14:01:33

Ok. So clearly the school need to do some other competitions other than just drawing then. That would make the playing field fairer.

claraschu Tue 17-Nov-15 14:03:33

There is not usually one "best drawing" in a group of 60 young children. There is usually one that is more detailed and neat, one that is quirky and humourous, one that has used colours particularly attractively, etc.

I think the school should be very careful not to keep picking the same child, whether for lead part in the play or for the drawing competition, as long as there are several children who try hard and have a little flair.

SisterMoonshine Tue 17-Nov-15 14:03:38

It doesn't matter that they're young.
Talent can show through as soon as they start making marks with a pencil.
You wouldn't be able to pretend a diiferent child crossed the finish line first in egg and spoon.
She migt be a clear winner.
(and she might be rubbish at other things)

Scoobydoo8 Tue 17-Nov-15 14:07:07

Seems strange they have all these competitions. My DCs, long grown up, had maybe 2-3 competitions in all their primary schooling.

They could award the most colourful, most amusing etc so not always just one wins.

But if it is a competition with a prize then the best will win.

Who cares in the greater scheme of things, Jane might end up a penniless artist, yours might end up an olympic runner or nuclear physicist.

Mavey9 Tue 17-Nov-15 14:08:37

That's my point claraschu; it's a subjective thing to pick 'best' picture. Sport and maths analogies aren't the same; numbers give a black or white answer, drawings don't. The same artist doesn't win the turner prize every year.

HaydeeofMonteCristo Tue 17-Nov-15 14:09:22

I think in a drawing competition it is unlikely that one entry is objectively better than the others. Unless Jane is a genius.

The teachers may well forget who has won on earlier occasions.

I think you may be right in theory but it's not worth going in to the school about.

claraschu Tue 17-Nov-15 14:09:45

Some things are competitive by their nature: races for instance, and chess.

Art does not lend itself to competition because there can never be an objective way of judging children's drawings. I think having competitions like this is stupid and counter productive; if a school is going to do this they should at least spread out the "prizes" and try to do it in an encouraging way.

Also, who is making these judgements; lots of schools don't even have anyone with much knowledge about art and teaching art to children. There is a lot of very lousy art teaching in British primary schools.

claraschu Tue 17-Nov-15 14:10:41

sorry x-post

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