Sunderland school defends attendance reward system as pupils enjoy ice cream and BBQ

A Sunderland school has defended its reward system which saw pupils enjoy a BBQ and ice cream – but which some parents claimed was “unfair”.

By Poppy Kennedy
Friday, 19 July, 2019, 11:30

Academy 360, in Pennywell, rewarded pupils with more than 96% attendance with a visit from an ice cream van on Tuesday, July 16.

The school said it was rewarding pupils “who had achieved or surpassed expectations.”

But some parents said it left their children feeling left out and disheartened as they remained in the classroom to work, while others claimed they even brought their children out of school in protest of the scheme.

The letter sent to parents about the reward day.

Now the headteacher at Academy 360 has responded to complaints reassuring parents that the reward scheme looks at each child individually and celebrates achievement, effort, attitude to learning, conduct and attendance.

Principal Rachel Donohue said: “Academy 360 is a rapidly improving school that is committed to raising standards.

“Our rewards system celebrates achievement, effort, attitude to learning, conduct and attendance at key points throughout the year.

“The end of year celebration included a range of rewards for pupils throughout the academy who had achieved or surpassed expectations.

Academy 360.

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“Our students are very positive about our reward scheme which is regularly reviewed with staff and the Student Council.

“Should any parent wish to discuss how we might improve our reward scheme, I would welcome their thoughts.”

An angry mum, who asked not to be named, said: “I had no idea until I arrived at school that not every child received a letter to tell them they’d be getting ice cream if they had obtained a high attendance.

“My two children had a high enough attendance and enjoyed the reward day but my niece didn’t.

“She’s been off school for two weeks following an operation so it’s something that is completely out of her control.

“I think it’s just really unfair.

“Some kids have come out upset, their friends are outside playing while they’re stuck in the classroom.

“I’m all for good attendance but I think it’s teaching kids the wrong lesson – they’re being punished for something that’s out of their control.”