Here we are. July 2019. 5 yrs since we took that leap and detegistered the older children. Now N who was just a tiny baby back then is compulsory school age…. half a decade.
Over this time I have watched with interest school trends, headlines and experiences of friends. I have answered questions, offered reassurance and even assisted in letter writing and complaints procedures. I know that there are many people unsatisfied with the education system who feel helpless to do anything about it due to their own circumstances.
One thing I continuously see every year is attendance awards. Children being celebrated for 100% attendance in schools and being rewarded with trips out, certificates and trophies etc… This isn’t a new thing. My husband still to this day has his attendance awards from his days at primary school. At the expense of missing both of his older siblings getting married, but hey, his choice.
But do these attendance awards acknowledge the effort that a child puts in whilst at school? What about their annual progress? Their behaviour? One word, no! But should these things not be valued and rewarded far more?
A child who receives their award for 100% attendance is being rewarded for good luck. That is all. They didn’t get sick. They didn’t suffer a bereavement. They don’t have disabilities or long term conditions that require hospital visits.
Does a child who struggles with their health, who has to undergo treatment in hospital but who continues to work hard and progress alongside their peers not deserve as much if not more praise and acknowledgement as another child who in perfect health has been dropped off in school each day by parents.
Should children be encouraged to attend school through periods of sickness, putting the lives of immune compromised peers at risk mearly for the sake of a certificate and maybe a cinema trip at the end of term?
The delivery of attendance awards like this is a prime example of a schools priorities. Making it ok to praise attendance makes it ok to shame those who aren’t so fortunate. Just one more example of how the system is failing so many in so many ways.
I am relieved that my children aren’t in school, they arent judged in this way, their lives are based around their health anr progress emotionally, physically and academically. I can safely say thatif they were in school we would not accept an attendance award, it isn’t earnt, it is gained solely through luck or negligence towards others.
Make the schools reward something of value to the student body as a whole.