Mum Slams Dorset School Over Non-Uniform Policy!
7:32am 16th January 2014
(Updated 9:24am 16th January 2014)
A Mum has hit out at a Weymouth Primary School that wouldn't let her child wear non-uniform on the last day of term, because they didn't have a 100% attendance record.
Chickerell Primary Academy lets pupils dress down as a treat but those who've missed a day of School that term aren't allowed and have to wear regular uniform.
The Mum, who didn't want to be named, told us her child was very upset and said although it's a good School she thinks the policy needs to change;
"I'm angry, embarrassed and very frustrated that I've been put in this position with my children who I treat equally, and I don't want to treat them differently because they were poorly for one day. It's unreasonable."
She told us a few children were in normal uniform on the last day of term before Christmas and thinks the School should engage with parents on a new attendance reward policy;
"It's - end of term non-uniform policy - something that needs to be talked through with the parents. I've talked with many parents and everyone is deadly against it."
During our research for this story we contacted a number of other Dorset Primary Schools who all said non-uniform days should be inclusive for all children. Some said Chickerell Primaries end of term non-uniform policy was "discriminatory" and "ridiculous."
The head teacher at Chickerell Primary declined an interview on Wessex FM but they did send us a statement from Governors and the Senior Team saying pupils should be rewarded for good attendance, and that the children themselves asked for a non-uniform day instead of a certificate;
"For many years, the School has awarded annual certificates to the very small minority of pupils who, through hard work and good fortune, have managed to attend every session. However, when children were asked for their views they said they would prefer the award to be a day without their uniform."
"The Governors and Senior Team at Chickerell Primary Academy will continue to monitor the School's attendance figures and to consider the most appropriate way to celebrate pupils who manage to achieve outstanding attendance. This may well mean relooking at what we currently do to ensure that it is as fair a system as possible."
"Nonetheless, it is sad that a fun, end of term reward requested by the children themselves has been seen by some to be controversial or unfair."
You can read the full statement from the School below.
History -Chickerell Primary School converted to academy status on January 1st 2013. Currently it is graded as good with outstanding features by Ofsted, having improved from ‘satisfactory’ under previous leadership.
The law requires all schools to register the attendance of every child, twice a day, at the beginning of each morning and afternoon session.
Childrens’ attendance at school is one of the best indicators of their future educational achievement and, in turn, their life-outcomes with regard to career choices and job opportunities.
Chickerell Primary Academy, in common with many other schools, has a system of graded letters and cautions which are sent to any parent whose child’s attendance falls below acceptable levels. However, the Governors have always supported the idea that there should also be a "carrot" for good attendance.
For many years, the School has awarded annual certificates to the very small minority of pupils who, through hard work and good fortune, have managed to attend every session. However, when children were asked for their views they said they would prefer the award to be a day without their uniform.
Initially, this was done on an annual basis, but some parents felt that this might seem harsh for children who happened to fall ill, as the vast majority do, at some point in the year. The School listened to these concerns, and sought to address them by resetting the clock each term and making it a termly rather than annual award, so that more children had the opportunity for an award. This means that, as it currently stands, the last day of every term is given over for the chance for these children to wear their ‘home’ clothes, with every child getting at least 3 chances a year to achieve this.
Unfortunately this has raised further concerns amongst a small number of parents who still feel that the system punishes children who fall ill.
The Governors and Senior Team at Chickerell Primary Academy will continue to monitor the School’s attendance figures and to consider the most appropriate way to celebrate pupils who manage to achieve outstanding attendance. This may well mean relooking at what we currently do to ensure that it is as fair a system as possible.
By law, attendance is judged by a simple measure. Was the child there at the start of the session, yes or no? That is the measure against which all schools are judged by OFSTED and other authorities and it is the measure by which Chickerell (and other schools too) have made awards for 100 per cent attendance for many years.
If nothing else, the publicity that this issue has generated shows that awareness of attendance among parents has been raised and that, of itself, makes it a worthwhile exercise, not only within Chickerell Primary Academy, but in the wider School community in Weymouth and Portland, where attendance figures are generally low compared to national figures.
Nonetheless, it is sad that a fun, end of term reward requested by the children themselves has been seen by some to be controversial or unfair.