Page last updated at 14:06 GMT, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 15:06 UK

Anger over 100% attendance reward

Parents at a school which is giving children with a 100% attendance record a trip to a theme park have spoken of how unfair they think it is.

Kingstone High School in Herefordshire introduced the scheme in September.

Parent Wendy Watkins said some children could not help being sick and asked how it was fair to reward someone for not being ill.

The school said only four parents had complained about the scheme, which had improved attendance.

Mrs Watkins, who has three children at the school in Kingstone, Hereford, said all her children were going on the trip to Alton Towers as they had insisted on going into school when unwell.

'Just not fair'

One daughter refused to leave school when she was ill as she did not want to miss out while another insisted on going to school with a broken leg.

She said:"Some children are not as healthy as others. It is just not fair."

How can you be rewarded for not being ill?
Sarah Jones, parent

Another parent, Sarah Jones, said her children had asthma and she was not prepared to send them to school if they were having problems breathing.

She said: "If the school was rewarding good behaviour there wouldn't be this problem.

"But how can you be rewarded for not being ill?"

The school has introduced a scheme whereby students with 100% records can invite a friend with a less than 100% record.

Acting headteacher Chris King said additional places had been made available on the trip to make sure students with long-term illnesses were not disadvantaged.

'Significant improvements'

He said nearly a third of the school's 650 pupils would be going on the trip later this month and the scheme had led to significant improvements in attendance.

"The impact of the school's work with attendance this year has been excellent, with significant improvements on levels of achievement," he said.

But Paul Prince, who has two sons at the school, criticised the system.

His son Tom, 16, has a 99% attendance record and is not allowed on the trip - even though Mr Prince has offered to provide sick notes and to pay for him.

Tom's brother Adam, 15, has a 94% record and is going on the trip as a friend with a 100% attendance record has invited him.

"Are we meant to send children to school if they are ill?" Mr Prince said.

"This is causing a lot of arguments."

Herefordshire County Council said it was a matter for the school.



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