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To be cross about school awards?

143 replies

G1veMeStrength · 15/07/2015 08:42

I have an overlooked child and have just found out that today is the fecking school awards.

I know this from Proud Mumz on dreaded facebook.

One child who left in Spring is coming back to get an award. Child went on a sponsored jolly / adventure of a lifetime which everyone else is sick of hearing about. Nothing to do with the school except they gave him time off.

In other awards, the team whose parents helped them with the 'child effort only' project unsurprisingly won that competition and get a fancy prize.

I just get so sick of the unfairness of it all. How can the teachers who organise all this be so blind to the messages they are sending? None of it is about effort or achievement. Just an exercise in shitting on children's self esteem right at the end of term.

OP posts:
TheMoa · 15/07/2015 13:50

Oh, you see I think your update makes it sound fairer.

They had the opportunity to learn a skill that would help with their project, and they took it (I know CAD etc. were just examples, but still).

I would totally expect my children to come to me, and even come to work with me, if it would help them with a project or something.

Dancergirl · 15/07/2015 13:51

Totally agree with you regarding parents 'helping' with children's work. But I suppose it's never a level playing field. What about parents who help their (adult) children get jobs/work experience/a foot in the door in a particular field because they work in that field themselves or have contacts? That's also 'unfair' isn't it?

Bellarom · 15/07/2015 13:54

I find it impossible to care about this, and have never gone to the awards ceremony held at DC's school, which I feel a tiny bit guilty about. There are plenty of things that your child can do well in that are objectively measured - eg performing in a show which is enjoyed by the audience, or passing an exam which is externally marked, or learning to ride a bike, or whatever. They don't need a certificate from the school to give them self esteem.

MehsMum · 15/07/2015 13:58

G1ve, I know exactly how you feel. I have had DC not win prizes when they didn't deserve to (fair enough) and win prizes when they did (also fair enough) but I have one who did loads around the school (music, sports, play leaders, chess, maths challenge team...), had no help with her project (refused it, said it was meant to be own work etc), contributed massively and worked very hard - and come the awards evening, got nothing (and didn't get a good project mark either). I was flaming a touch cross and tackled the teacher, who upped the project mark but could do nothing about the awards other than say, 'Oh, yes, your child was in contention for everything, but was just pipped each time...'

Said child went off to secondary school feeling very down and unappreciated. I am still cross about it 5 years later - can you tell?

marssparklesdownonme · 15/07/2015 13:58

The school I work in does not do this.
However at my dc's previous school one Y6 mother rang the school several times to check that her child would be getting the Most Achieving award because she had been up every night crying that she would not be given it. Sadly I have this on good authority from one of the teachers in the school who felt it was totally unacceptable.
This mother now can't understand why staff at the local secondary are not bowing down to kiss her and her childs arse as the Head at the primary did.
Sadly it is not always reward and effort that is recognized but how much money Daddy gives the school

G1veMeStrength · 15/07/2015 15:26

But TheMoa, the letter home from school to parents said that parents were not to help. It was meant to be the children's own work. I've helped DC with school homework by taking them to relevant museums etc, but with this project the rules were clearly NOT to do that. Yet the ones who broke the rules won Hmm

OP posts:
tiggytape · 15/07/2015 15:37

This reply has been deleted

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

80schild · 15/07/2015 15:40

I lack sympathy OP - it is a known fact that most people as grown ups don't receive an award for anything and as parents it is our job to teach them this is normal. What message are we sending children by letting them expect prizes?

MehsMum · 15/07/2015 15:52

Yet the ones who broke the rules won hmm
Yup, that's how it goes. It pissed me off big time.

it is a known fact that most people as grown ups don't receive an award for anything and as parents it is our job to teach them this is normal.
Actual awards, no: but adults do expect recognition in their work and daily lives: promotions, bonuses, pay rises, thanks from neighbours. If an adult doesn't get, say, a deserved promotion when promotions are being handed out, he or she is quite likely to up and move. I can see exactly where the OP coming from; in our case I told my DC that life is like that, hard work isn't always recognised and rewarded, and not to take it personally.

Twugaroon · 15/07/2015 15:57

The sad fact is that many employees make a lot of effort and don't get recognised for it (beyond being paid their salary). Being congratulated and rewarded are not the norm for adults. IME children get congratulated, praised, rewarded way way more than adults do.

Sophiesueandferdie · 15/07/2015 15:58

In year 6 my daughter was devastated when the child who bullied her horrendously got an award for good behaviour. Karma hit this year when she got 7 nominations for an award and won one while the bully got none.

Dancergirl · 15/07/2015 16:40

I have had DC not win prizes when they didn't deserve to (fair enough) and win prizes when they did (also fair enough)

But that's your opinion, it's a very subjective thing. And you only know about your own child's achievements/efforts, not the others. If they gave too many prizes it would be meaningless.

4EverScottish · 15/07/2015 16:41

DS has just finished his GCSEs. At every meeting I've had with the teachers they have said how lovely DS is, they have had top grades for effort in every subject in every report every year. Every month the newsletter comes out with mentions of all the children who have done well. No mention of DS. Every year the awards ceremony comes and goes. No mention of DS apart from when I get asked if DS won an award. DS's tutor has just left the school, before he left I asked why DS got good feedback but never a mention in the newsletter and never got any awards.
Apparently the news letter is only to encourage the students who normally don't achieve academically. The awards ceremony is apparently an opportunity for students who miss out on opportunities to do exciting stuff at home due to having parents who can't afford it or can't be bothered.

That's OK then! DS will be going to college not school in September, thank goodness.

Dancergirl · 15/07/2015 16:44

The same child won 4 trophies

As hard as it is, maybe that child deserved all those trophies. Suppose the boot was on the other foot and you were that child's parent and it was decided that said child shouldn't be awarded 4 trophies simply because it wasn't fair even though he/she rightly earnt them?

Littleham · 15/07/2015 16:54

So true. The quiet well behaved ones can get overlooked.

Pinkcloud6 · 15/07/2015 16:55

Not as bad as the trophies and medals that get brough in.

A medal for being able to jump.
An award for putting your face in the water at swimming.
A trophy for always Turing up for football.

The world has gone mad, it devalues real achievement and school should ban them.

Dancergirl · 15/07/2015 16:55

mehsmum what did you expect the teachers to actually do? It's fantastic that your child was considered for an award but ultimately there is only ONE award for each thing and it must be a very hard job for the teachers to choose. An 11 year old should be able to understand this and not let it impact his/her start to secondary school!

Do you really think there weren't other children in your child's class who didn't contribute well to school activities, worked hard and did their project with no help?

I think sometimes people are too focussed on their OWN child.

LaLyra · 15/07/2015 17:17

I had a conversation about this with my DD's HT three years ago. I have twin DD's. One is quiet, hard-working and polite whereas the other is easly distracted and liked (I hope liked, we seem to be by it now!) to play the class clown. We had meetings and punishments and detentions galore for a while. 5 weeks before the end of term she was told that if she behaved for those 5 weeks she'd get to go on a special trip. That was fun when her sister came home and said "How come I've been good all year and I don't get a nice trip?"

Was the same at the awards ceremony, DD (and several other children in the same position as her) got a special award and her sister, who is not especially academic but works her backside off got nothing, not even in the effort awards.

The HT said she'd had parents say similar before, but it was the fact that DD who hadn't been in trouble asked her how long you have to be cheeky for before you get included in the 'if you are good for X weeks you get a special trip' that made her realise that overlooking the average (for want of a better word) children was being really detrimental to them. I have absolutely no objection to them being rewarded differently as long as it's fair and that really wasn't.

Their school is much better at recognising children who've worked hard to be middle of the road now. They are also very good at not rewarding parents who do kids projects for them (in fact one Mum who bragged on FB about being up til 2am doing the project was pointedly taken aside and reminded about the rules when she moaned that her child should have got top marks).

One of the schools I worked in was awful for this. "We need an award to give Mary because if we don't her Mum won't help at the fete." "Simon's Dad was a great help so I'm giving Simon Most Helpful Pupil award". Erm if Simon's Dad was helpful then why not say at the end of the awards ceremony "We'd also like to take this chance to thank Simon's Dad for all his help this year..." rather than rewarding Simon?

MehsMum · 15/07/2015 17:38

Dancer, I was pissed off because the whole system seemed unfair. Best sportsman went to a lad notorious for a strop if things didn't go his way. DC was the only child who took part in the annual concert who got... no award. The only child on three teams who got... no award.

Of course DC was pissed off. Other years, other of my DC got no award and I could see the rationale (one did f-all and was very idle, so deserved nothing; one was an academic star but there was no award for that that particular year, but she knew she was an academic star so didn't care).

So yeah, I'm clearly always only focused on my own child... Hmm

Notsoskinnyminny · 15/07/2015 18:59

DCs primary school only ever praised the sporty kids and they got all the best parts in assemblies/plays. I never made an issue of it but at the start of Y6 DS accurately predicted who'd get the lead roles in the end of year production. He was chosen to attend a G&T residential in the summer holidays by his new high school with 3 others and they were told, by the sporty deputy head, not to tell their classmates or they'd get teased. I thought this might've been to stop others finding out and parents going in demanding to know why their DC hadn't been picked and they'd get a mention at the leaver's assembly but nothing, not a word, probably because they were geeks and not footballers Angry

Verbena37 · 15/07/2015 19:08

I'm not bitter with the awards at my child's school last week but it seemed a bit unfair and not planned in quite the way I would have planned it. It ended up that one boy and one girl got three awards each.....why couldn't teachers pass an award down to other high achievers rather than give six awards to two people?

I'm not saying my child was more deserving than others but it was. Shame that so many children missed out. Incidentally, the two children who got e six awards are both very academic....I would have liked to see more awards given to those children who had progressed the most etc.

I know how you feel.

EthelDurant123 · 15/07/2015 19:16

Luckily we don't have the big awards ceremony at our school at the end of the year. Instead awards are given, as a small certificate, on a weekly basis every Friday. They are awarded for effort, for good work, and for good behaviour. If they get (I think) 5 certificates a term they receive a badge (Gold Award ) from the deputy head and a mention in the school newsletter. Discipline and overall attainment has improved because of the scheme.

Dancergirl · 15/07/2015 19:16

I think some children (and parents) are going to have a hard time at secondary school if these awards seem so important now.

Maybe the default position should be to expect no award, then it's a nice bonus if they get one. Don't think it's nice to make derogatory comments about other dc who win them either..... Ultimately it's the teacher's decision and their view won't be shared by everyone. But that's life really.

colourdilemma · 15/07/2015 19:34

I don't like awards at the end of year at all. I don't think they are motivational particularly at dcs school. One girl and one boy from each class receives them. They are at teachers discretion and given out in a showy way in end of term assembly. If a child needs special congratulation, can it not be in the same way as a report-ie privately. As nice as it is for the child who gets it there is a little bit of a "oh, so I've done well, but just not quite well enough to get a medal". I don't think they have a place in primary schools and would be delighted if they didn't exist at all.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding · 15/07/2015 19:40

We have teachers award. We choose a well behaved hard working child ... generally lower/middle ability ... (the quiet unassuming child) We also award sport effort - not achievement and academically - sub level points. We have helpful awards and kindness awards. Something for everyone.

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