School bans boy from end-of-term treat over absence record – after he took time off for car accident

The Mirror is reporting that a five-year-old boy who had to take time off school because he got run down by a car has been excluded from an end-of-term treat because of poor attendance.

Ozzie May’s school attendance record dropped below the required 96% because he had to spend nine days in hospital.

As a result he missed out on an end-of-term treat which saw other pupils enjoy a screening of the film Inside Out…

His mother, Faye, 40, said: “He is only five and he looks at it like he has been naughty and he is being punished…”

Responding to the complaints, Sutton at Hone Primary School head teacher, Leah Goulding, said: “We introduced an incentive scheme to improve pupils’ attendance, which was previously below an acceptable level and put us in the bottom 10 per cent in the country.

“The policy was introduced after assistance and advice from several other head teachers and is generally working well.

“This is a very unfortunate situation and I do feel sorry for Ozzie.

“However, it is not practical to start making exceptions. We suspect it would result in appeals from other parents all putting a case why the school should excuse their children’s absences.

“There will be similar treats for pupils with good attendance at the end of the spring and summer terms, and I sincerely hope that Ozzie will be able to attend those events…”

More at: School bans boy from end-of-term treat over absence record – after he took time off for car accident


Stories of this nature crop up every so often but I’m still not sure if schools are right to stick to their policy even when it looks pretty awful, or whether they should make exceptions, even when that might undo a can of worms?

More broadly, do you agree that these kinds of attendance policies work or not?

What do you think? 

Please share in the comments or via Twitter…


'No exception' attendance awards - good idea?

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  1. brighton118

    SchoolsImprove – Surely it’s authorised absence ? How daft is this – rewrite policy to cover exceptions like hospital stays.

  2. Mktadvice4schls

    SchoolsImprove Schools so used to managerialism they keep extending it outside the school & getting stung. Be flexible & show compassion

  3. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove If that’s the whole story, and I emphasise the “if”, then the school should have reviewed the decision.

  4. The shocking thing is that the school obviously cant do basic maths or know how attendance works.  Its impossible for this poor child to get back up to the target of 96%.  He now has a maximum attendance of 95.26% (380 sessions per year, missed 18 sessions).
    I bet the school still dangle these “rewards” in front of him all year so every term he has “Failed” in his eyes.

  5. brighton118 SchoolsImprove And make it clear it only refers to unauthorised absences.
    That said, if unauthorised absence is a problem then it’s better taken up with parent or carer rather than punish the child especially one as young as 5.

  6. Nairb1

    If this is the full story then the governors need to step in and clarify the position either with the head (‘We expect you use your common sense in future’) or with the parents (‘It is the policy of this school to punish children for absence through illness or injury and so we fully support the head’s actions’)

  7. MrGibbsMaths

    SchoolsImprove horrendous – surely there is “authorised” absence – I’d be removing my child from a situation like that.

  8. TeachersNeedTea

    SchoolsImprove heard of a similar situation where child with terminal illness was excluded. They are children. Compassion not targets.

  9. Kathfanderson

    SchoolsImprove Effective policy, I’m sure, but at a huge cost to empathy, compassion & inclusion. Heads must exercise discretion.

  10. thiskidsthinkin

    I’d have been absolutely livid if this had have happened to my daughter, who was off school for a month because she broke her leg and had a full leg cast on. Even when she went back with the half leg cast (another month), she still needed help with steps, and needed a walking aid.

  11. StephenMcChrystal They’re judged on their absence figures as well as test results, rates of progress, reducing the gap between advantaged and disadvantaged pupils.  This encourages an atmosphere of raising results, reducing absence figures etc by any means which aren’t always in the best interests of children.

  12. entdiamondsch

    SchoolsImprove How churlish! He may never forget how that made him feel. Could stem the beginning of poor self esteem and self worth.

  13. Dianne_Khan

    SchoolsImprove As a teacher, this makes me embarrassed. If a school’s management cannot see this is unfair, they have lost their way.

Let us know what you think...