Parents' outrage at Moor Nook Community Primary School's ice cream reward system based on attendance
and live on Freeview channel 276
At the end of each half term, an ice cream van visits the school and the pupils with at least 96% attendance are treated to an ice cream, whilst those who do not, must watch their peers enjoy them in assembly.
Speaking on Friday, Natalie Harrison, whose daughter is in year 4 said: “There's been an uproar about it before, it happened last year, and my daughter actually got an ice cream, and she came home heartbroken and gutted because her friends didn't, and she was made to sit in the classroom and eat it next to them.
“Then fast forward to this year, she hasn't got one because she's been ill a lot, she's had to isolate through Covid, which has all gone against her attendance even though we were told it wouldn't because it was school and government policy, so she came home yesterday crying, and I said what's wrong, and she said I've got a yellow attendance and my teacher said that the ice cream van will be coming tomorrow and I won't be getting one because my attendance is not high enough.”
Natalie decided to hold her daughter, and her younger sibling who is nursery age, off school on Friday in protest at the move, complaining to the school as to the reason why.
The 33 year old says herself and other parents voiced their complaints last term too, however it appears that nothing has changed.
Natalie added: “There’s no way the teachers are oblivious to what they’re doing to the children. It's mental abuse, in my opinion, the way that they’re making the children feel. It's not only that, say for instance, my daughter didn't get one, the children that have got one are actually standing in front of the children that haven't and they’re watching them and thinking why am I not good enough?
“It’s outrageous, how can a headteacher think that is normal behaviour?”
Another parent, Sekeena Muncey, 36, also told the Post that her daughters, who are in year 3 and 4, were upset on Friday, when they went in and did not receive an ice cream due to their attendance.
Sekeena, who founded Preston Windrush said: “It’s stupid the way they do it, like my daughter told me that one lad was off for Covid for seven days and his attendance was dropped down, and you can’t help it if you’ve got Covid but they’re taking it out on the children.
“It’s ridiculous, you shouldn’t do it in front of other children, that’s like mental torture to kids. It’s punishing children for nothing really.”
Ms Suzanne Clough, Headteacher at Moor Nook, commented: "Like many other schools, each half term we provide a small reward for children who have a good attendance record. This is something we have done for several years and is also something the children are proud to achieve. Pupils don't need a perfect attendance record to be recognised. We know how important attendance is for our pupils' learning and having a reward as an incentive is one of the recognised ways of encouraging children to come to school to learn."