Attendance Awards In School: Is It Right?

My little boy has just finished Year One. We are all set and ready for a fantastic summer holidays and preparing as much as we can for Year Two. I am well aware that this next school year is going to be a tough one for Logan. With SATs and extra milestones he needs to reach I’m going to have to help him at home as well. Hopefully to ensure that he isn’t falling behind or losing the enthusiasm he has for school simply because he is struggling and not enjoying it. School have a lot to focus on. With targets and levels they need to meet I understand they are under pressure to get the results, and attendance is one of the areas that they need to get to a certain level.  Our school encourages classes to have at least 97% attendance each week. So I am guessing that this could be around the target in which they need to meet.

Praising attendance

Each week our school has an assembly, and every year is given their percentage for attendance, and the kids love it. They all want to reach that 100% goal and earn a badge for their year. This is great encouragement, and attendance in school is extremely important. But, there is one thing that seems to be a big trend amongst schools these days, and that is awarding children individually for 100% attendance.

I don’t agree with it. 

There will always be times in your child’s school life when they are unwell. They don’t ask for it, they certainly don’t enjoy being ill. In many cases, our school included, if a child is ill then you are encouraged to keep them off school. This avoids the illness spreading and causing further absences. There was a prime example earlier this year, our school was hit with the vomiting bug, bad! At least 40% of the school was effected and because of this we were advised to keep out children off school. Until a full 48 hours had passed since the last sickness. My son ended up with it, in fact we all did, and it was pretty horrific!

We didn’t manage it

My son didn’t get 100% attendance this year, he ended up on 97%. The percentage in which our school aims for. He wasn’t rewarded for that, I don’t expect him to be, but why should a child be rewarded for 100% just because in-theory they were lucky to not have to experience the illness?

Now don’t get me wrong, I think attendance in school is extremely important. But it is down to your own parental opinion. Some people are happy to take their child out of school and have unauthorised absences for one reason or another. This isn’t about judgement. It may even Be worth it to take my son out of school in the future. But I don’t think that awarding children for 100% attendance is the right way to go? At this rate, children who become aware of the award system will push themselves to go into school when they aren’t well, and they may even get worked up and upset because they have had to have a day off. Is that really fair on them and their mental wellbeing?

In conclusion

Award systems work well in most scenarios, and even with attendance I think it can be a good motivator, but I don’t think 100% should be the target, it should be awarded for the school reaching their target.

What do you think about attendance awards in school? Do you think they work? I would love to know your thoughts.