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Is there any evidence attendance awards work?

(6 Posts)
Wecandothisthing Mon 23-Apr-18 16:20:52

Our primary school is putting a lot of effort into increasing attendance at the moment and has introduced an array of pupil reward schemes for 100% attendance.

I'm a big supporter of encouraging being present and punctual for primary aged kids. I never book holidays in term time and am not late.

However, I am not in favour of schemes that reward children (and therefore, in the eyes of such young children, makes those who didn't get the reward feel penalised) for circumstances which are beyond their control.

My biggest concerns are:

1)Such reward schemes penalise those with chronic health problems disproportionately.

2)Children who are often late or absent for whatever reason, be it health reasons or parents not recognising the value of presenteeism are already at a disadvantage compared to children who are blessed with good health or parents who place a higher value on education. If these children are then persistantly passed over for rewards they may become demoralised and more disadvantaged than they were already in the long run.

I do support initiatives that offer support to families struggling with attendance or perhaps parent education, but nothing that directly rewards children for circumstances beyond their control from the age of 4.

The letter sent home with my child today, detailing all the new reward schemes states "it has been shown that, where attendance rewards are utilised, children who may have previously wanted to stay home for small ailments, they are more eager to come to school so that they don't break their good attendance record."

My question is, are any of you wise education-savvy mumsnetters able to point me in the direction of the study the school must be alluding to with "it has been shown that..". Also, if there are any other studies regarding the efficacy of attendance awards, I'd be intrigued to read them.

Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
GentlyGentlyOhDear Mon 23-Apr-18 16:44:15

I haven't read any studies on this, but it is a big bug bear of mine about DC's school. I feel it is punishing children for things outside of their control. (And don't get me started on Star of the Week, which my 'average' child is very upset to have never had...)

I also fear that it encourages children to be sent in to school when they aren't well and so the viruses spread to others. My DC has had 4 sickness bugs this school year and from what I can gather we are the only ones who adhere to the 48 hour rule!

GrimSqueaker Mon 23-Apr-18 18:30:28

Yeah 100% attendance awards have cured all my child's ailments and special needs so she never needs to attend hospital clinics or community paediatric appointments! Always take the minimum amount of time out of school (working around whatever appointment slot you're given since they're really really obstructive and threaten to just discharge you if you try to change it), always have a copy of the letter sent into school for their records/keeping Ofsted off their arses, always get them back into school for the remainder of the day or get them in and take them out wherever possible... still going to have shite attendance when they started the year with two hospital outpatients for different clinics in the second week of term.

They're bollocks but they're just trying to show Ofsted that they're on the case with attendance. Can't argue with the almighty O...

HumptyD93 Mon 23-Apr-18 18:44:19

I hate them.... makes me wonder how many of them have been sent in with illnesses, or gone back after been sick over the weekend.

star of the week is great if the teacher keeps a list to ensure everyone is awarded it at some point. My dd's didnt and i asked if she was doing ok at school because she was upset to never have gotten star of the week, her teacher was surprised that she'd never been given it as she was doing really well and really well behaved. we suggested they keep a list, which I see now on the classroom wall.

BubblesBuddy Tue 24-Apr-18 01:17:36

I doubt you could find that Attendance Awards improve attendance if not part of an Attendance Policy that is much more detailed and nuanced.

Awards are a blunt instrument and Ofsted will not be looking for an Award Policy for 100% Attendance. What they will be looking for is an analysis of which children have poor attendance, why, and what is being done about it. It is accepted that children with an illness that’s on-going will not be able to have good attendance and these children are very well known to schools and their circumstances will, essentially, be pointed out to Ofsted should their non attendance be critical for the school’s stats and discussions with Ofsted that arise from them.

It is clear from research (the Sutton Trust) that poor attendance is likely to harm social mobility (disadvantaged children are most likely to have poor attendance) and schools are encouraged to have a range of strategies to tackle poor attendance. For example: phone calls to parents/carers, attendance campaigns, newsletter reminders, use of pp funding to help such children attend, closer relationships with parents who struggle to get children to attend, help and advice etc.

Rewards for children are one tiny element and should be used with caution. Support for non attendees should be targeted and based on evidence.

Kokeshi123 Tue 24-Apr-18 01:19:40

It seems daft to me. Attendance issues are not about the tiny difference between 100% attendance and 99% attendance--nobody with any common sense cares about that. Attendance problems are basically about the small hard-core of families whose children are frequently off for NON medical reasons and their parents don't give much of a toss.

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