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to tell my DC good health is a gift, not an achievement?

(158 Posts)
foolonthehill Tue 24-Jan-17 08:20:25

...and to get rid of the school attendance certificates they are given?

I am blessed with good health. So are my DC. They often get 100% attendance (and the certificate to prove it) ....DD3 is ill, proper vomiting ill...her first thought is "oh no I won't get 100%.

I am so fed up of school treating attendance like a competition. DS has been very ill in the past (you letter ill, in hospital ill). First thing from school was a call to say he needed to look at his attendance...even though they knew he had been in hospital.

I am sure those with flakey attendance for spurious reasons aren't motivated by an almost unachievable 100% attendance certificate.

WhooooAmI24601 Tue 24-Jan-17 08:24:36

I teach in an infant school and agree that attendance awards aren't worth much. DS1 has ASD and has been off throughout each year for appointments with all sorts, including neurology and ENT who he still sees regularly. He's never attained 100% and never will. DS2 is like an ox and will likely get 100% every year because even when norovirus recently swept through my school, floored DH, DS1 and I, DS2 survived unscathed. His attendance awards go up on our "wow wall" but are quickly covered over by certificates which mean something.

Witchend Tue 24-Jan-17 08:30:43

So is being sporty. I have never won a race despite trying really hard and being desperate to win. I still think there should be competitive races.

And it can be something people work hard at. Dd1 does. She went in for a week with toothache last year. Otoh one of her friends will miss a week for a standard cold.

Itisnoteasybeingdifferent Tue 24-Jan-17 08:31:55

It's what you get when you give power to jobsworths.

KP86 Tue 24-Jan-17 08:32:09

But we shouldn't be encouraging anyone (children or adults) to power through being ill. It's the body's way of saying we need a rest! This whole struggle on at all costs attitude is ridiculous.

witsender Tue 24-Jan-17 08:32:27


EssentialHummus Tue 24-Jan-17 08:34:39

I don't understand "Attendance Awards" by their very nature. The school is trying to promote attendance, sure, but a parent who puts two fingers up to school authority for an arbitrary reason is hardly going to re-think because there's a certificate in it for little Johnny.

MTB1003 Tue 24-Jan-17 08:38:49

It really is so unfair towards those children who have health issues. What message is it sending them? That on top of being ill you are now punished for it.

babynearlyhere Tue 24-Jan-17 08:42:43

I agree. Attendance awards are ridiculous and best ignored. I'm sure that parents don't want to keep their kids off school for every slightest thing but rather will keep them off if they need rest to recover. Sending kids to school with an illness just risks them prolonging it and passing it on to others.

ErrolTheDragon Tue 24-Jan-17 08:44:28

Why don't they change it so that rather than just 'attendance' they take out absences due to genuine ill health, hospital appointments, 48 hours after norovirus etc? 100% of the days when you actually should have been here would be fine. And ok, they might get the odd sick note faked by a parent, too many of which might need investigating, but presumably that sort of thing happens anyway.

TheScottishPlay Tue 24-Jan-17 08:46:34

Surely no parent would set any store on achieving this!

EstelleRoberts Tue 24-Jan-17 08:49:21

YANBU. While some aspects of health can be affected by what we do, to a small extent, so much depends on the luck of the draw - what germs you are in contact with, genetics affecting the immune system etc.

Encouraging children to ignore illness and power through is not only cruel, but could lead to an attitude setting in when they are older where they neglect their health and fail to seek medical attention in circumstances that are dangerous. It can also lead to hurtful, disbelieving attitudes to those who are chronically ill (including to their own selves).

I think it would be a very good idea to explain these silly awards are worthless for those reasons.

Pseudonym99 Tue 24-Jan-17 08:54:01

But you can do things to help being healthy, such as eating fruit and veg, washing your hands often to prevent picking up others' germs, exercising can help your immune system. So it can be an achievement as well as luck.

mambono5 Tue 24-Jan-17 08:55:48

I was 50/50 about your title. Of course, it's a huge gift and pure luck, but you can try to improve your odds with a healthy lifestyle.

However, I agree with you 100% about school attendance records, they are a disgrace. Encouraging kids to go to school and spread germs is a terrible idea. Do they even publish the teachers attendance records? If a child can be unlucky enough to catch D*V bug, what about the teachers?
Even the fittest child, who seems immune to everything can have an accident and break something, or need minor surgery. We are not going to push them to go to school before they are fully recovered, are we?

I tell my kids to concentrate on real awards, not mickey mouse ones. It's not an award to be proud of.

CryingShame Tue 24-Jan-17 08:56:56

These lost any credibility in our eyes when MIL died and DS got authorised absence to attend the funeral, but still didn't get a 100% attendance certificate. So you're approving him not being there but also sanctioning him for not being there. Ok. I'll tell my MIL to die in the school holidays next time shall I? hmm

These certificates are a waste of time but I guess it gives thhem something to give out to the kids who aren't the perenial winners of the good handwriting and reading prizes. cynical

seafoodeatit Tue 24-Jan-17 08:58:31

YANBU, I've always thought attendance awards should take into account illness, surely attendance only counts when you have a real choice? I had immunity problems as a kid and schools were even less tolerant then, forget certificates they were constantly trying to bully my parents into pulling me out all together.

irvineoneohone Tue 24-Jan-17 09:01:04

Totally agree with Pseudonym99 .
My ds has chronic illness, so he will never achieve 100%. But we do all sorts to help him achieve as high attendance as possible.

Isadora2007 Tue 24-Jan-17 09:01:24

Agree with you OP in regards to the certificates rather than health overall. Yes it Is a gift but we need to also help our children learn to aim for good health with their choices and lifestyles (as should we).

Witchend. This isn't like sports at all. Yes some have natural talent but they also then have to nurture that talent and work hard.

ThunderAndFrightening Tue 24-Jan-17 09:04:45

another yanbu

I really hate the class awards. As well as being ill and enduring multiple hospital visits etc DCs also get to feel they are letting their class down. Starting early with the idea that people with illnesses and disabilities are a burden.

rumblingDMexploitingbstds Tue 24-Jan-17 09:05:51

you can do things to help being healthy, such as eating fruit and veg, washing your hands often to prevent picking up others' germs, exercising can help your immune system. So it can be an achievement as well as luck.

Oh I wish. sad I do all that obsessively to try reduce as much of my chronic illness as I can. It still doesn't do me much good, which is why I'm MNetting between reeling around trying not to fall over or throw up this morning. There is very little real control I have over how this waxes and wanes.

kaitlinktm Tue 24-Jan-17 09:06:16

I hated the attendance awards when I was teaching (secondary) but was aware that the school was under pressure to improve attendance (how?) and it is one of the things Ofsted placed great importance on at the time, so there had to be something the school had to be seen to be doing. Attendance awards/rewards and letters to parents about absence were about the only thing they could think of I suppose.

I would have hated the idea of being able to judge when an absence due to illness was OK or not OK. That would have opened a whole new can of worms and there was always so much else to bloody well do anyway.

As far as my own children were concerned, they just had time off if I felt they needed it and I played down any attendance communications because I knew they didn't have any unnecessary time off.

mambono5 Tue 24-Jan-17 09:06:22

Another point: one of mine rebelled a bit against school. He is bright enough to get very decent results by doing hardly anything and frankly taking liberties. He is supposed to work hard, not cruise around and waste everybody's time, especially his own time.

I would be very annoyed if he was getting a certificate for just turning up at school! This is not the message I am promoting.

CripsSandwiches Tue 24-Jan-17 09:10:49

YANBU. There is very little almost anyone can do to become more healthy (or to avoid attending compulsory appointments that have to fall within school hours).

There' a place for competition in areas like sport (which to be honest it doesn't really matter if you're bad at) but that doesn't mean every aspect of school life needs to turn into a competition. Children are meant to be learning common sense (can I go to school or should I not?) and intrinsic self motivation (that doesn't require a certificate).

It also actively encourages people to come to school sick and spread their germs to the rest of us.

Velvian Tue 24-Jan-17 09:13:14

I agree, OP. The school attendance thing is ridiculous and there are so many mixed messages; at 1 point our school changed time since last D & V to 72 hours!
There are also adults who are so smug about their health & like hold forth about their water consumption etc (until they get ill)

claraschu Tue 24-Jan-17 09:14:36


Witchend, the thing is that races are competitive by nature, like chess. I think it makes a certain amount of sense to give prizes for things which are inherently competitive. I am not saying that it is fair, or even that it is a good idea, but it is not absurd.

Not-being-ill is not an inherently competitive activity.

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