Should We Reward 100% School attendance?

By Jocelyn Levy | 2nd November 2020 | 7 min read

There will always be a need to monitor school attendance. Good attendance is fundamental to good education. So, naturally we encourage students to miss as few days as possible. We do this because it’s in their best interest – but does it go too far sometimes?

Is 100 per cent school attendance a must?

It’s that time of year when awards will start to be handed to those students who have a perfect attendance. Just take a look at these four students in Devon. The records of their school attendance showed they never missed a day throughout their entire school life. In this case, the students received badges and certificates but other schools in the past have rewarded days-out, presents, or even parties for those with top attendance.

Rewards no matter how big or small are unfair to those who at no fault of their own could ever hope to gain 100 per cent attendance. Those with serious medical issues should not be punished for circumstances out of their control that result in missed school days. They are not weaker or less deserving than any other student who is lucky enough to not have a debilitating injury or illness.

This is being recognized more and more throughout the country. Take Falkirk council for example. It recently stopped a scheme that rewarded free swimming sessions to those who achieved 100 per cent attendance. It said in a statement:

“While we acknowledge this has been good in promoting physical activity among young people, it is felt that it is inequitable and not inclusive of all pupils as there are some who will never be able to attain 100 per cent attendance through no fault of their own – through bereavement, long-term illness, family circumstances or religious festivals.”

How to record attendance

When it comes to encouraging high school attendance, schools perhaps need to find a balance. It’s about valuing students and doing what is right for them. Some 90 per cent of the time, encouraging high attendance is the right thing to do, but maybe it should be recognized that perfect attendance is not always the answer to what is best for their welfare. A couple of missed days over the course of the school year should perhaps not be punished.

Regardless of the level of attendance of students and the targets we are setting for them, the actual monitoring of school attendance needs to be reliable and secure. Schools need a record they can trust, so they can prove their meeting their legal requirements.

Here at FasTrak, we have different ways to monitor school attendance for primary and secondary schools. We make it so simple and easy, find out more here.

Related links & news stories

Falkirk Herald: Falkirk schools reportedly no longer reward pupils for perfect attendance