Rewarding Attendance | Yes or No?

DSC_0020The Boy Child attends a school where 100% attendance is rewarded.  At the end of each term, children who haven’t missed a day receive a metal badge to wear on their blazer.  If they manage 100% attendance for the whole school year, the badge is yellow in colour.

Now in his third year at the school, The Boy Child has two yellow badges (for Years 4 and 5) and has just received a green badge for 100% attendance during the Autumn term of Year 6.  He likes to receive them, with a public name-check during an assembly, and wears the yellow ones on his blazer.  (It’s too much of a faff to have them all on there.)

Now, as we are aware, 100% attendance is mostly down to chance, to be fortunate enough not to fall ill during term time.  But also, in the case of children with disabilities, other factors can sometimes interfere with attendance at school – severe anxiety, for example, or even cases where a child has been excluded.  I happen to think that for The Boy Child, the badges are a gift.  An act of public recognition that he has achieved something, even if that something has been outside his control.  The likelihood of The Boy Child ever receiving a prize for academic achievement is fairly small, although he has received prizes for ‘most improved’, and if his sense of esteem and self-worth is boosted by a badge, who am I to disagree?

So, rewarding 100% attendance, yes or no?

There’s a lengthy blog post written by an autism mum who takes the opposite view here.

6 thoughts on “Rewarding Attendance | Yes or No?

  1. Kudos to TBC for achieving the pins. Interesting thought today & timely. On Wednesday I listened to a talk from a much admired coach about working hard to be rewarded well & in the talk the speaker gave her take on why she’s against giving everyone (kids) a ribbon for just showing up & why it is important to keep sore & have winners or losers of a game. She made some really valid points, not all that I personally agreed with BUT some valid points. I still have my pins for perfect Sunday School attendance & at the time I was really proud of myself although now as an adult when I look back I wonder at what the achievement really was. Maybe what I learned was that showing up matters, maybe it helped me develop a good work ethic, maybe at that difficult time it just gave me some much needed validation. I can honestly say on this topic I am sitting on the fence; I think in today’s age when it is so easy to just not go to school, rewarding attendance is one way to achieve keeping the kids (& parents) engaged, but yes it excludes those that through no fault of their own cannot make it to school every day & there would be so many reasons why. More time for pondering, but I do have a feeling that there’s no right or wrong solution/answer. But now I need to show up for work!

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  2. Our school gives certificates for 100% attendance. My daughter only got one once and she moaned like mad as none of he friends got one as I was the only mum who wouldn’t let their daughter off school if they had a cold! At another local school they prefer to treat the kids with 100% to a day off school on a fun trip at the end of the year. I’m all for rewarding positive behaviour and think it’s great that TBC is filling up his blazer lapel with his badges!

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  3. Oh this is such a tricky one Ruth! (Thought I’d comment as I still read everything you write and want to resolve to comment more on the blogs I enjoy!). At my school we give out 100% attendance certificates. The children seem really proud when they get one. I try and strike a balance between acknowledging their achievement and also not going over the top on praising it. I agree that a lot of it is done by chance. On the other hand, I have some children who are off school for a cough and have had to have some serious conversations with them and their parents about what warrants a day off school. I admire and praise those children who are resilient and come into school every day, even if they are are a bit sniffly! So mixed feelings for me. I love the badges though! Definitely one up on getting a certificate. I will have to suggest it!

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  4. I think it’s good to have awards for a range of things, some academic and some otherwise. My children never achieved the total attendance award but did both win a cup for most improved effort and work in one term. I think good citizen awards are a good idea too for help with charity events, assisting younger pupils etc etc. Well done to your boy on his attendance!


  5. I think it’s definitely ok to acknowledge & award attendance. Yes, it’s not always something that can be controlled due to illness & other factors, but that’s how life works. When these kids grow up and get a job, attendance is important. For those kids who do not get the reward, it’s a teaching opportunity for parents. Sometimes there are things that are more important than the award (health, funerals, etc) . . . unfortunately, our society is teaching that lots of things are more important than the award & when these kids get a job they want to be able to take off (and get paid) for lots of less important things. (I don’t think I ever received a perfect attendance reward despite never wanting to miss school because I loved it!)


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