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Parents argue school’s reward system ‘shames kids who don’t always get it right’

Parents have slammed a school's reward system arguing it 'punishes' children who 'don't always get it right'.

Meltham CE Primary School in Holmfirth, west Yorkshire, revealed on Facebook that it had allowed half its 413 pupils to enjoy an ice-cream while the others stayed in and did maths and English.

It said instead of attending lessons as usual it had given 209 pupils the chance to play in the sun – but only if the pupils had been given an "Always Card".

Always cards are handed out for good behaviour and working hard, Examiner Live reports.

The school's Facebook post said: "It is important that we celebrate those children in school that always get it right, hopefully next year there will be even more!"

But many people were offended by the school's approach, which they said was punishing children who couldn't be perfect.

A parenting expert even joined the online row and condemned school chiefs.


Writing on Twitter , author of six parenting books Sarah Ockwell-Smith called it 'wrong'.

Mrs Ockwell-Smith, a child psychology graduate and child development authority said: "This is SO wrong."

"The mistaken belief the cause of poor behaviour at school is a lack of motivation to behave better.

"In reality it's almost always because they can't do better.

"How many of those punished have undiagnosed #SEND (special education needs), #ACES (adverse childhood events), live in poverty or DV?"

Headteacher of the school, Alex Beaumont, has defended the reward and said the children voted to keep it as it was great motivation.

But the post caused widespread anger attracting dozens of critical comments before it was deleted by the school.

Many took to Twitter to continue the debate.

One person asked if teachers were banned from anything for not being perfect.

Some said they were reporting the school to Ofsted for breaching policies to consider children with extra needs.

Responding on Twitter, Cara Jay, said: "This has made me so upset and cross this morning. I'm hoping they listen to what people are saying."

On Facebook, one angry critic wrote: "You won't see 'even more children achieve your arbitrary 'always' criteria next year.

"Shaming and exclusion do not work. Which I'm sure you will know because if this is a yearly practice in your school I would bet my last penny that you see the same children missing out every year.

"Not to mention that you are demonstrating a wilful ignorance as to why these children may find it difficult to consistently meet targets or rules in the first place.

"If you still don't understand why so many people are hurt by this why don't you introduce it in your staffroom.

"As you wind down for summer make sure to only invite those staff to your summer night-out who ALWAYS get it right."

In a later comment, Mrs Ockwell-Smith urged parents with special educational needs children to avoid the school, which is rated 'Good' by Ofsted.

Speaking to ExaminerLive, Mr Beaumont said the children who were left inside to do maths and English weren't being punished because that was their normal lessons on a Tuesday morning.

He said: "The long and the short of it is we've been giving out Always Cards for over ten years to children who always behave well, have good manners and always work hard.

"Two years ago we did a survey and the children were desperate to keep Always Cards as they said it was very motivating to them.

"The other children who didn't get one aren't being punished at all. It is the Always children who are being rewarded."

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