Why this mum won't let her son accept his perfect attendance award

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 Photo: Getty Images

Should children be rewarded for perfect school attendance? Mum Rachel Wright doesn't think so - and her reasons why have divided parents.

In a post to Facebook, Ms Wright shared that her little boy had been awarded a night at a soft play centre for his 100 per cent attendance at school over the past term.

"He loves going to soft play, he loves going out with his friends," she wrote, "we love it when school reward him BUT he won't be going."

Here are the UK mum's reasons:

1. "We don't reward luck"

Ms Wright explained that while they'll happily think of reasons to praise and celebrate their children, being fortunate enough to not fall ill "is not one of them".

"He's lucky to have not developed a fever, had an accident or live with a chronic illness," Ms Wright noted of her little boy.

2. "100 per cent attendance awards can demonise the weakest"

"In this family you are not shamed for ill health, vulnerability or weakness," Ms Wright continued, adding that in their house, her family are encouraged to look after themselves "and the weakest amongst us." 

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"Can you imagine what kind of atmosphere that would create with people who had days off because of bereavement, mental health problem or chronic conditions?" she wrote.

"What on earth are we teaching our kids about value and worth? What are we teaching them about looking out for each other and looking after the sick or disabled in our community?"

3. "He had no control over his 100 per cent attendance"

Ms Wright believes that given her son's achievement was out of his control, it's not something he should be praised for.

"I took him to school and it would have been my decision to keep him off," she said adding that she should be rewarded (or not) for her son's perfect attendance.

4. "We are taking him out of school for five days at the end of term"

While Ms Wright acknowledges the importance of school and work, she and her family also "know the importance of making memories and having rest." And so, her son will be finishing the school year early, heading off to Italy instead.

The trip, she clarified, has been approved by her son's school, and could only take place during term time given the support her eldest son, who has a severe disability, will require while they are away.

"As much as I understand the importance of attendance, there must be a better way of helping those families and children who don't go to school for non-genuine reasons," she wrote.

"The messages we are sending to our kids when we reward attendance is wrong for so many reasons."

Ms Wright's post, which has been shared over 12,000 times, has firmly divided parents.
"I'm super proud of my kids when they get 100 per cent attendance," wrote Rachel Ling, just one of those who disagreed with Ms Wright's stance.
"I teach my kids they can't have a day off school just because they feel a bit under the weather or have a cold. Doesn't work like that in the real world for teaching them not to have a day off school unless they really need to. Stands them in good stead when they go out to work."
Other parents, particularly mums and dads of children with chronic illnesses, thanked Ms Wright for speaking out about the issue.
"My daughter has a chronic illness as well as many other health issues and has so many hospital appointments she'll never get one of the above awards," wrote Samantha Leighton.
"Now they give the children with full attendance badges to wear too, it allows them extra privileges. She suffers enough with her health and from bullies, without the school pointing a finger of shame at her. "
A school teacher also weighed into the debate, agreeing with Ms Wright's approach and explaining the challenges she faces.
"As a teacher and mother of child with poor health I applaud you for this attitude," she wrote. "However until attendance is removed as a measure of a school's success, as a teacher I will be expected to promote attendance incentives, alienating some of our most vulnerable students."
In an updated commented, Ms Wright explained that her son wouldn't be missing out on going to a play centre - they'd simply be doing it their way.
"We're planning a trip to a soft play with friends and other children who don't ever get 100 per cent attendance," she said.