'Kids just found out life isn't always fair' - Echo readers react to ice-cream row at Sunderland school
Dozens of Echo readers have sided with a dad from Sunderland who called out his child's school for the way they rewarded high attendance.
Hastings Hill Academy rewarded pupils with more than 96% attendance with an ice cream from a visiting van. But Graham Robson, who has a child at the school, called the treat "unfair" as some children would be left out, and not fully understand why.
Speaking to the Echo, Graham added: "I know the school needs to reward good attendance, but they could give the children a certificate or prize in assembly."
Jane Walton, headteacher at Hasting Hill Academy, said that the school is trying "many and varied strategies" to improve pupil attendance attendance, and can see a positive impact.
Many Echo readers agreed with Graham's views on Facebook, and said that schools should consider other ways to reward pupils for their hard work. Many mentioned that their own children hadn't scored 100% attendance due to medical conditions, and that it was unfair for them to miss out on a treat for this reason.
Others argued that success should be rewarded, and hailed the ice cream van as a "great incentive" for children to improve. What do you think?
You had plenty to say about the issue on social media. Here are some of your comments.
Lindsey Gallagher: "I have two children of primary school age. My 10-year-old has 100% and as a reward the school are taking them to Infinite Air However, my nine-year-old has cerebral palsy and due to hospital appointments and physio she will never have 100% and personally find it upsetting to see her go without a treat for things out of her control.
"I understand some parents keep their children off for a runny nose but I feel circumstance should definitely be taken into account."
Dave Purvis: "Fantastic idea ... the state of some of the parental responses on here gives a good insight as to why we've a generation of self entitled, 'it's always someone else's fault' children growing up.
"Here's a heads up, instead of blaming the school, if you want little Jonny or whoever to have a ice cream, make sure he gets to school ... the sniffles, a poorly tummy and a aching leg etc are not reasons to keep your child off ... get a grip."
Caroline Pallister: "I thought schools were trying to promote healthy eating! Good attendance should be rewarded with certificates in assembly or a postcard to home address."
Sarah Cook: "It's disgraceful. I know it’s only an ice cream but can you imagine the sinking traumatic feeling for a child. The embarrassment.
"I would never want to go to school again to feel that way! They focus far too much on numbers instead of reasons as to why a child may be absent."
Pete Bogg: "People need to get a grip. Kids get rewards for a range of things, from good behaviour, good evidence of learning and attendance. It's been going on for years. It's not discriminatory but a reward.
"My child has had health problems and hasn't won an attendance award as a result but I've not run to the papers about nor do I think it's unfair. This entitlement culture, people need to get a grip."
Amyleigh Matters: "He definitely has a point. Attendance is down to the parent not the child and there are a lot of children that need time off school for medical appointments etc. I totally agree."
Danielle Robson Phillips: "Absolutely ridiculous that school ... my son was gutted ... what happened to receiving a certificate in assembly on a Friday morning for attendance & good behaviour!"
Deborah Neil: "Treats for good attendance is ridiculous. It's like saying to children 'good job for not being sick' children can't help being sick. My son never received any treats or certificates for good attendance as he has a medical condition which requires him to see a consultant regularly and a physiotherapist and this is classed as sick leave.
"Rewards should be given for effort or behaviour - in my opinion."
Hilary Walker Wilson: "I went to school in the 50s and we got certificates for good attendance. We were pleased if we got one."
Jos Booker: "Why are children getting rewards of any kind for good attendance. Education is a privilege and it is a legal requirement to attend school. Parents should be brought to task not children."
Lucy Marie: "Sometimes children’s feeling are more important than Ofsted areas of improvement! I was a teacher and quite often kids that should be off school ill get sent in infecting everyone else and then their parents get to boast of their child’s 100% attendance! I’d go for quality over quantity any day."
John Constable: "Agree that it's cruel and divisive. How do you get a sick child to attend more? Skip that operation? Miss that appointment with the consultant? Contract a disease and then come to school so it can spread?
"Ridiculous, not about the kids but about performance figures."
Carol Hanratty Wood: "It's a bit sick to leave a child out and watch another eat ice cream."
Anita Short: "Even if they got a certificate or prize in assembly the kids who didn't get anything would still be the same. It's an ice cream for goodness sake. Just buy them one when it comes around the houses."
Peter Archer: "Kids shouldn't get treats for good attendance, they're meant to attend. In seven years of senior school I was the only boy with 100% attendance, I got a Mars Bar. I wasn't expecting anything.
"I attended school because that's what you were supposed to do."
Kathryn Delanoy: "I think it’s a great incentive, our school did the same based on 100% attendance and the ice cream van was available for others to buy their kids an ice cream.
"Kids have incentives for lots of things, I don’t hear anyone complaining if a child received pupil of the week and a certificate! Btw my child didn’t have 100% attendance as he was poorly but I bought him an ice cream anyway!"
Pat Ross: "He is right. Attendance is not down to little kids. At that age, they do not understand why they should be left out. There must be a better way for the school to acknowledge attendance."
Mark Loughton: "You have to be in it to win it. Congratulations to the bairns and parents who made sure they had full attendance. Enough of this snowflake nonsense."
Claire Kelf: "Why shouldn’t a child’s attendance be celebrated!? Gets them ready for the real world of not staying off for a bit of a headache."
Paula Talbott: "Happened at my son's school with Easter eggs. Good behaviour and effort should be rewarded, children can't help being poorly."
Guy Grabham: "Hey guess what, kids just found out life isn't always fair!"