To think that attendance recording at school is unfair

(139 Posts)
ICompletelyKnowAboutGuineaPigs Tue 26-Mar-13 11:24:35

So not actually attendance recording per se. I understand why schools monitor attendance and why this is important.

But at my DS's (aged 6) primary school they reward attendance (100%) at the end of every term with a special assembly, a certificate and extra 'golden time' in the afternoon. Now DS has not missed a full day of school or been late this term BUT he has had some appointments during school time. He is currently being assessed by the ASD team and they requested assessment by Speech and Language therapy and Occupational Therapy. The school know about this and the services have liaised with the school to keep them updated. No complaints so far, the school have been great.

The appointments are made by the services and so on 2-3 occasions he has had to miss an hour or two of school - but I always pick him up as late as possible and drop him off afterwards. He hasn't been awarded his attendance certificate because of these occasions. AIBU to think this is a bit unfair? I can't decide if it is discriminatory and whether I should take it further or whether the school are being perfectly reasonable because he hasn't been IN school 100% of the time (my friend's DD, however, has received her certificate despite leaving school early due to illness so I'm not sure what their exact criteria are).

I have spoken to the school SENCO/attendance monitor and he actually agrees with me but says he has to work within the guidelines. Should I challenge the guidelines or just it go?

Kp9111 Fri 26-Jul-13 16:21:40

ICompletelyKnowAboutGuineaPigs - So what did you decide to do ? I would be very interested to hear x

tethersend Wed 27-Mar-13 11:40:27

Workplace attendance schemes would only be comparable if they rewarded you for your parents' actions.

Which, as far as I know, none do.

As it would be ridiculous.

Its not just tesco. The company I work for offers a cash bonus at end of the year for 100% attendance and disciplinary procedures are in place for those who's attendance is considered too poor. So, does it stop people calling in sick? Doubtful given its really not enough to drag yourself in over. It merely creates problems as rotas r constantly changed to try to get the sick days arranged as the standard two days per week. And don't get me started on how selfish it is to expect people to come in and spread their germs about so all the staff get sick. One member of staff was pulled up on it when she was off with swine flu.

HillBilly76 Wed 27-Mar-13 10:53:16

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MandragoraWurzelstock Wed 27-Mar-13 10:50:04

Oh I've just looked it up. It's actually for reading. So you read every night, you get a token. and then you get entered into the prize draw.

That's not so bad. Your child can read to you whatever you're doing I suppose smile

MandragoraWurzelstock Wed 27-Mar-13 10:43:52

I don't like attendance awards. Totally discriminatory. All they do is reward the already fortunate.

Luckily our school doesn't issue them. It reminds me why I disliked the other school we went to see...they had a competition to win a bicycle every term. I think that was for attendance.

It makes me feel a bit sick tbh.

jamdonut Wed 27-Mar-13 10:32:12

And for those who think it doesn't happen in the Real World...take a look at Tesco's. They are forever on about staff attendance .

jamdonut Wed 27-Mar-13 10:30:03

Gosh didn't expect that.... I was only trying to explain how it works!!

Don't have an answer for it. That is how it is.

And I agree...my own son was caught out missing on 100% for all year for missing one registration.

Sorry for upsetting everyone confused

My school has just come out of special measuresgrinne of the things was attendance. By rewarding children for attendance and inter-class competitions, the attendance has now reached well above average. Children whose attendance was improved were also given rewards.

I agree it seems unfair,but it is what is expected. I didn't write the rules.hmm

OddBoots Wed 27-Mar-13 08:42:37

It looks like Ofsted should be our focus here, I'd certainly back a campaign for them to disregard absence related to disability as already described in the equalities act. If they disregarded it the school would be able to but at the moment they are caught in a tug of war between what is right and Ofsted.

CFSKate Wed 27-Mar-13 08:33:08

It is bad enough being a chronically ill school child, without being officially rejected because of your poor health.

I didn't know they now had proms just for the able-bodied.

StanleyLambchop Wed 27-Mar-13 07:17:55

Jam- we all know that turning up for registration means you get your mark as present even though you may go absent 10 minutes later. But the argument that schools use to justify these awards is that they are encouraging good attendance for the educational benefit of the child- ie the more hours they are in school, the better it is for their education.

So how can they, by the same token, say it is all right to register for school, leave straight after, be away all morning, but get back in time for the afternoon session and they get 100% attendance? That is making mockery of their own mantra about children needing to be in school for their educatiion, when it is in fact a case that children need to be in school for registration only so that the school can claim good attendance figures. If they want to fiddle the figures in this way then fine, but perhaps they should cut all the crap about it being for the sake of the child's education!!

SofiaAmes Wed 27-Mar-13 05:41:55

Attendance awards should be based on attendance figures that do not subtract for excused absences. I have a child who missed many many weeks of school each year because of illness. Do they really think that issuing an award encourages negligent parents to send their kids to school? All it does is encourage competitive children to nag their parents to send them to school when they are truly too sick to go (dd is one of these).

JE001 Wed 27-Mar-13 05:24:44

The reason why schools don't make allowances for illness, appointments, etc, is that it's one more detail to have to think about. It's much easier to go with 'present / not present' and leave it at that. But if someone makes an issue about it, they should just shrug and say 'yeah, fine' and hand out the attendance award at the next opportunity. No idea why it's such a big deal for everyone.

Goldmandra Tue 26-Mar-13 23:58:05

I just wish somebody would do some investigations into whether these attendance awards for the children really do work.

I cannot imagine that hearing from their child about having missed out on a certificate is going to have more of an impact on parents' decision making than a letter from the head teacher expressing concern about their child's repeated absences.

The overriding response to policies of rewarding children for attending seems to be that they are inappropriate and unhelpful and wouldn't make a difference to those planning to take term-time holidays. Perhaps I would feel better about my DD being upset at the end of every term if I believed that what is upsetting her is also doing some good. I honestly don't.

I can see that the culture needs to be changed in some schools but that can be done by addressing the matter with the families causing concern. It can be done by talking about it in assembly and putting procedures in place for children who have been off to follow in order to catch up with work they have missed. That would put a few off having duvet days as well as support the learning of all the pupils, including the more unwilling absentees.

With the best will in the world you cannot effectively reward one group of children without making those who cannot achieve the goal feel like rubbish.

Attendance awards and rewards for individuals are still in my opinion used because they are easy and don't take much planning or admin time, not because they actually make a significant difference. To use them is lazy and unethical.

mamadoc Tue 26-Mar-13 23:13:05

I'm a school governor and our school got hammered for attendance on its last ofsted. We got outstanding for the teaching and pastoral care but the attendance was poor.
There are a lot of reasons. We have high fsm and high eal and it seemed quite a lot of parents didn't put a high priority on their dc attending or being on time. A lot of term time hols to see relatives in other countries or days off when they visited. One family I used to pass every single day half way to school as I was coming back.
My first reaction was to feel it was unfair really to penalise the school for something beyond our control but ofsted made the fair point that there isn't much point providing great education that kids aren't receiving.
We didn't have much choice but to make it a big priority or we will fail our next inspection. Yes, an individual approach is taken of the EWO and family support worker working with repeat offenders but we did need to do something more general to change the school culture as well to make it less acceptable just to not show up.
We sent home a letter with quotes (real but anonymous) from the kids about how it feels to them to be late. I found that very powerful myself. Plus we did institute some of the dreaded attendance awards and I have had direct feedback from other parents that this did make them think twice about keeping their dc off for spurious reasons.
Ours is on a whole class basis, no individual certs but there is definitely no naming and shaming of who pulled the figures down.
I am genuinely sensitive to the inherent problems. You can guess from my unimaginative username what my job is and that I therefore do understand about ill kids and hospital apps (the NHs would not function if everyone insisted on out of school apps). I am going to check with our school that we are making allowances for disability and not breaching confidentiality.
I'm just trying to point out the reasons why these things exist which aren't wholly ridiculous. I think that if sensitively done they do have their place.

Samu2 Tue 26-Mar-13 22:45:41

I hate attendance awards with a passion.

My children pretty much always get 100% attendance. For my daughter it is a big deal, she loves standing up to get her little certificate and sticker and being clapped.

Last month she had a day off school due to vomiting so she has lost this terms 100% attendance. Basically, they are rewarding those who have the good luck to have good health and the ones who get sick go without. Parents who don't give two shits about their kids going to school aren't suddenly going to send their kids in just so they can get a certificate so it doesn't even make sense to me.

It's not the child's fault if they get sick. It isn't the child's fault if mummy/ daddy don't send them in as they want a lay in or whatever. That is beyond their control (at least until they get to high school)

I haven't read all of the replies yet so this has probably been said many times already but it's my favourite subject to rant about grin

Mumsyblouse Tue 26-Mar-13 22:38:05

I have never heard of anything so stupid in my life as having a prom for attendance, and then penalising those who can't attend due to illness, disability, or just unlucky enough to get flu or a winter vomiting bug. Attendance monitoring was supposed to tackle the very poor attendance (e.g. missing every Friday, or most mornings) by a small segment of already problematic families, it is now a blunt tool with which to beat (randomly) ordinary parents doing their best.

Goldmandra your daughter is ace, and I would also be teaching mine to think critically about things like why people in authority do things they know are unfair and don't challenge them, why illness is often deemed as a 'moral failure' even in this day and age, and so on.

Landofhope- good on you, again, absolutely ridiculous situation and definitely discriminatory. It's just not good enough. Hope it goes well.

Has the overall standard of maths/english/science gone up internationally in the UK since they started on this bizarre attendance fetish? Has it heck.

HillBilly76 Tue 26-Mar-13 22:30:12

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HillBilly76 Tue 26-Mar-13 22:29:01

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jam are u seriously suggesting that these vital long awaited appointments , that r attended in clinics run on certain times and days that are essential for the health and welfare of these children, are cancelled or rearranged for god knows how long for ,given that everyone wants non school time appointments? That progress remains unchecked, medication left at un-tweaked doses etc for a piece of sodding paper???
Seriously???

Goldmandra Tue 26-Mar-13 22:00:06

jamdonut do us all a favour and don't post on threads you haven't read.

jamdonut Tue 26-Mar-13 21:56:58

I haven't read the whole thread...

If your child is there in time for registration in the morning and the afternoon,they have attended.

If you take them out after they have registered then that session's attendance will stand. That way you can get 100% attendance even though you've attended appointments.

If you miss the registrations, even if it has been OK'd by school, that session is "missed" even if you turn up to school later.

Schools' have two sessions per day,morning and afternoon, so if you miss morning registration but get in a bit later and are there for second registration and the rest of the day, you will not get 100% because that's one session "missed" ( i.e not there for registration). Hope that helps.

dyzzidi Tue 26-Mar-13 21:33:27

At our school attendance awards are given out for improved attendance and there are certificates for great effort and aspiration all things like that. This is so that recognition can be given for children who overcome obstacles to attend school. They also only give out a couple every week and celebrate in assembly that each child has made a very good effort to be in school.

landofsoapandglory Tue 26-Mar-13 21:20:10

Goldmandra That is shocking angry shock, and if anyone still believes in attendance awards after reading that then they are a bloody idiot.

Goldmandra Tue 26-Mar-13 21:16:39

What on earth did you say to the school?

I checked later on that they had listened to her. The Head then apologised to DD in front of me and told her that she'd made sure that the teacher wouldn't do that again.

If it does happen again this term I won't be so understanding.

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