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End of term certificates - bah!

(15 Posts)
thedevilworeboden Thu 28-Mar-13 17:38:17

I know I really shouldn't care about this, but.... at the end of each term the Headteacher hands out certificates for each class, some for academic achievement, some for kindness etc etc. My daughter (Y4) has never had one despite always receiving glowing reports at parents' evenings. She works really hard, and achieves at a very high standard (won't bore you with the details). The teachers all talk of her great attitude, huge enthusiasm, kindness to others etc etc. Sorry if this sounds like showing off, but just trying to set the scene! In contrast, another girl in her class who has been in loads of trouble all term for rudeness (telling teachers to F* off, spitting at other children etc) and is generally very disruptive, received one for her "lovely writing".

I know the important thing is that my daughter is doing well and enjoying school, and I am really proud of her but it still pisses me off! I do wonder what the point of these certificates really is. If there are any teachers out there I would love to get their view. Presumably they are meant to motivate children, but how motivating is it to work your hardest and never get one, and even worse, see children who behave atrociously receive one?

VestaCurry Thu 28-Mar-13 17:58:23

My eldest dc worked his ass off in his primary school, achieved L6 maths and 5a in everything else. Never received one of the (highly prized amongst pupils) HT certificate. Other children in his class received a HT certificate more than once whilst they were at the school.

He started to come home in tears at the end of each term and ask me and dh through the sobs, 'what more do they expect?'. He was always well behaved, polite, kind, so couldn't improve in that area. He moved to the school in Y3 and did make extraordinary progress, which he felt went unrecognised because of the lack of one of these certificates. It didn't matter what we said to him about it, that was what he felt, especially when other children received more than one. On average 70% more girls than boys were consistently recognised with the whole certificate system, despite there being slightly more boys in the school than girls.

We just braced ourselves at each end of term for the fall out and rebuilding of confident needed.


thedevilworeboden Thu 28-Mar-13 18:10:49

I understand what you mean re the rebuilding of confidence and I think that's the thing that irks the most. I really resent being put in the (totally unnecessary) position of having to reassure my daughter that she's doing really well, and the teachers are pleased with her etc. It just feels like the school have scored an own goal.

heggiehog Thu 28-Mar-13 18:50:06

As a teacher, I think it's bad practice not to keep a record of who has and hasn't received these type of awards. It CAN be very easy to overlook children who always do the right thing, which is why you need some kind of system in place to make sure they ARE being rewarded.

I can see how it happens because honestly as a teacher your to-do list is full of hundreds of things every week, including multiple tick-lists and evaluation forms, and these kind of records just feel like one more thing that is taking your time and energy away from planning and teaching. BUT, it matters to the children, so it's important.

That being said, thedevilworeboden, do you think that children who struggle with behaviour (very often linked to traumatic/difficult family life) should not be praised for "lovely writing"? Do you not think they deserve to have their successes celebrated?

We reward all children for their successes, including "naughty" children, so that they can learn to try their best, and not just be written off by the people who are supposed to be helping them.

milocuckoomitten Thu 28-Mar-13 19:02:33

I'm a teacher and I do keep a record of who has had certificates for all the reasons mentioned above. Also I have to say that children who don't work hard won't get a certificate from me. I do give them to children across the ability range, but it's only those who have worked hard and made excellent progress.
Interestingly though, at the schools I have worked at I would say it was more likely that some of the 'middling' children never received certificates, certainly not the more able as they seemed to get them more often.
I have suggested at my school that they need to keep central records of who receives the special end of term awards, because otherwise however well each teacher checks that they are evenly distributed across the year, it could be the same 18 children out of 30 who receive them every single year.

Tiggles Thu 28-Mar-13 19:29:10

I once queried with DSs teacher what he had to do to get an award that was given out weekly at his school, as he was starting to get disheartened as he was trying so hard to get it.
"Oh" she said "he is so well behaved and has always worked hard, so I didn't realise he needed to be rewarded with the prize, as he seemed so motivated without it". Needless to say he won the prize the next week, which wasn't really what I had intended, but possibly does show how some children do just slip under the radar.

thedevilworeboden Thu 28-Mar-13 19:40:37

heggiehog - I do agree that children who struggle with behaviour should be praised, of course, but I wouldn't have chosen to do it in a format that is supposed to reflect the whole term, when in this case it seemed to be characterised by lots of disruptive/obnoxious behaviour, and a bit of good writing. It could have been done via one of the weekly certificates (although don't get me started on those!). Also, in this case, the girl definitely does not have a traumatic/difficult family life! However, I do really like and respect the teacher, so presumably she thought this might spur her on to better things, so fingers crossed! I also appreciate that it must be so hard for the teachers to choose just two children to receive the awards (which also makes me think, then why are they forced to do it?!)

Floralnomad Thu 28-Mar-13 19:45:12

This used to annoy me when mine were at that age especially when TBH it was the same children getting the certificates every year , we used to sit in the church and predict the names before the headmistress called them out .

lalalonglegs Thu 28-Mar-13 19:47:49

If it matters to your child, then mention it (in a non-pushy, non-insistent way) to the teacher. If she's as good as they say, I'm sure she'll get a certificate next term wink.

EverybodysSootyEyed Thu 28-Mar-13 19:48:58

all the prizes so far at ds school have been for best behaviour and have gone to those with the most improved behaviour - which of course always misses out the consistently good!

i was consistently disappointed at school because no matter how hard i tried or how well i did i just never won the prizes. it is really demotivating.

i tell ds that prizes aren't what's important and that we should be pleased for our friends

pedrohedges Thu 28-Mar-13 20:06:18

What i have noticed about my childrens school is this.
If you want any award, prize or day out, you need to be naughty. Then behave for a couple of hours a week.
My son is a timid little thing. He's no bother at all yet some little shits take it upon themselves to pick on him and the other kids. Now, if the shits are good for a few hours they get treats while the good kids get nothing.
This is wrong! It grinds my gears.

Taffeta Thu 28-Mar-13 20:08:26

I think these things cause more upset than good. Each week each class has a star of the week. My DD (quiet, not a trouble maker or a trouser tugger ) got the middle of Y2 never having had the award. I had a word with the teacher and she got it the following week.

The achievement awards, handed out to one person per class each half term, have all this year so far been given to pupils in Y2 that have already won it once in Reception or Y1. It just makes a mockery of it. It's always the same kids.

Manchesterhistorygirl Thu 28-Mar-13 20:15:33

I have to say where awards for work are concerned its consistently spread, but house points seems to be more girls than boys by a vast margin and as for anything concerned with standing up and speaking its the same one child constantly. Which leads to smug child and fucking unbearable parent. It also demotivates the other children who are able to do the standing up in front of an audience.

heggiehog Thu 28-Mar-13 20:30:31

"I think these things cause more upset than good."

Only when done badly.

teacherwith2kids Thu 28-Mar-13 20:34:39

DS, in Reception:
'To get into the Gold Book, you have to be naughty for a long time and then be good for a day. I won't ever be in the Gold Book because I am not naughty.'

The one and only time he was in it was the day he left - in the middle of the year, to home educate temporarily, because the school had turned him into a selective mute....

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