Should schools dish out ‘attendance treats’ for kids who don’t take time off?

Or does this unfairly punish kids who do miss school - after all, it's not up to them, right?

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So what do you think about schools rewarding pupils who have high attendance records? A great way to keep kids motivated? Or a bit unfair on those who’ve been away through no fault of their own?

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Today we’ve heard a story about a little girl who wasn’t allowed to go on a school ‘treat’ cinema trip because she didn’t have 100% attendance due to the fact she missed some class time because of a hospital appointment for her Type 1 Diabetes.

Her mum says it’s discriminating against children who are sick.

‘It was her first clinic on Thursday since she moved to junior school and it only runs during school hours,” said mum Liz Harkins.

“We don’t get a say in what time she has to go, we just get a letter with Olivia’s appointment time.

“Even if she had the first appointment of the day, it would still be during school time.”

We also heard earlier this year about one little boy at a school in Liverpool who has been denied an end-of-term treat of a movie afternoon because he didn’t have the minimum 97% attendance marks in the register. And why? Because he had been in hospital having his tonsils out!

Doesn’t seem very fair, right?

His mum spoke to her local newspaper to explain that her son missed 7 days of school in May when he had the operation, and at the time, had been told by the school there would not be a problem with him still being able to watch the film – just as long as he was up to date on his school work.

The mum said that the little boy had even completed his maths homework from his hospital bed to make sure he didn’t fall behind.

However, when he returned to school, he was told he would not be allowed to watch the film because of his attendance record – which has slipped only because he had been having surgery. 

His mother explained that she wasn’t upset about the treat itself – saying ‘there are far more important things going on in the word’, but the principle of the matter.

“It is the fact that, despite doing all he was asked, which was to complete all the work he would miss, he was still punished,” she said, adding that the youngster had been in tears for 2 hours because he thought he had been naughty.

So we’re wondering, should these attendance ‘treats’ be in place at all? While we do get why schools have put them in place – perhaps to be a little ‘encourager’ from kids to their parents (some schools do the same with punctuality)  – with primary school kids, whether they are in school or not is totally beyond their control, and surely teachers should realise this? (Doubly when they are legitimately off ill!).

So who is really being punished – or rewarded – at the end of the day? 

What do you think?

Does your school have a system like this in place? What do you think about it? Let us know in comments or on Facebook.

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