Alton Towers trip for those who go to school

There was a time when wagging off school and taking sickies here, there and everywhere was seen as poor form, now actually going to school everyday in the way you’re supposed to is being viewed as an achievement and richly rewarded…by the taxpayer. (BBC News)


Kids at Kingstone High School in Herefordshire are being treated to a day at Alton Towers provided they attend school every day during term time as part of a scheme to encourage better attendance. But far from luring truants back into the classroom, this method is resulting in the lame, the ill and the injured dragging themselves into the classroom for fear of missing out on this rare treat.


The parents of such children, like the father of one boy who will be missing out on the theme park trip because his attendance record is a mere 99%, are understandably upset especially since in this case a doctor’s note was supplied to cover the absence and the boy’s dad even offered to pay!


The teachers at Kingstone are ignorantly peacocking, claiming their canny project has improved attendance, but at what cost, both physical and financial?


Surely any drive to get kids into school consistently should focus less on forcing the reliable kids in whether or not they’re germy, and more on making sure those with very low attendance rates make it in more often. But once they’ve missed a day or two and forsaken Alton Towers, why would consistent truants bother to up their game? The only children this appears to be affecting are those who might be ill through no fault of their own…


Ah but fear not, the ‘one strike and your out’ rule that at first seems to define this most ridiculous project has a loophole that completely undermines any possible good the thing could yield. How is this for genius?:


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


So the poor child who has dragged himself through the school gates regardless of any sickness or injury has the privilege of taking with him, at best, someone who was forced to forsake the trip due to more serious illness, and at worst, one of the very absentees this ill-thought through and costly fiasco was intended to punish through deprivation.


How about leaving well-behaved kids alone and imposing some real penalties on those who consider school to be optional, thus protecting against the spread of germs, allaying the worries of young children and their parents and saving the taxpayer money? 


This strategy, bankrolled by the public purse, is utterly meaningless. Any conceivable benefits are far outweighed by negatives, and as the aforementioned statement proves, the children going to Alton Towers will not be the most diligent or the most improved, just the most hardy and the most popular.


Is this really what we should be paying for?


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