Even many moons ago when I was at school there was such a thing as a 100% Attendance certificate, at Senior School level….I never got one, nor did I expect to, I may have got English prizes and Art prizes and progress in swimming, and Tutor group prize and merit certificates and I was a Prefect. I behaved inpecably, completed homework on time, was never late and had a great attitude at School but I was a sickly child picking up every bug and germ going, suffered from weekly migraines, if something was going round I would get it, I have been known to throw up in class on many an occasion and once fainted on the Teacher. Needless to say my otherwise outstanding school report would always have a less than 90% attendance record. My parents never minded they knew me and they knew when I was ill,and ultimately it was their choice to keep me off school whenever necessary. They expected many a phone call from school to pick me up, but that was just me and my school just showed me and my family empathy and care and warmth and understanding.
Now as a grown up mother of three I also can judge my children I can see it in their eyes, I trust my instincts, I would not drag my children into school if they are poorly, or recovering from a sickness bug, and I would not take my children out of school for holidays either and that is my choice not my childrens, in a world where education is governed by facts and figures and percentages, schools are doing everything they can to improve sickness and absence levels, in order to achieve Outstanding Ofsted results but in primary school level where children are growing and their immune systems are still developing, and it is up to the parent whether they keep a child off or not, not the child .Schools and Authorities are going about it the wrong way I believe , to me the most important thing is my child’s health, happiness and wellbeing a child should never be made to feel guilty for being ill nor should lucky healthier children be given prizes and certificates for being blessed with such good health singling them out over others.
Praise and reward for good work, good attitudes and kindness and effort and aptitude yes always but please do not make a parent feel like they are doing wrong for making that decision to care for a poorly child often disrupting work and childcare in the process even causing financial difficulties, most parents would prefer their child to be at school than at home, and each child and family have different circumstances, some children have underlying health reasons as to why they are ill or emotional problems, things that make it more difficult to get to school than others or they are just unlucky getting the usual bugs at the start of the school year, these should all be treated as individual cases. Show warmth and kindness all us parents want is happy children in schools and authorities that care and that our children are excited and proud to be a part of, Schools and Teachers and authorities that care because they have missed your child not because the percentages of attendance will look bad on paper.
My children may not come home this term with a 100% Attendance certificate to stick on the fridge but I know they have 100% Brilliant Attitudes 100% kindness 100% Individuality 100% Fantastic effortmaking and are 100 % Happy and that is good enough for me.