Halifax primary schools: Dad's concern after Halifax school blocks five-year-old pupil from going to disco because she had not earned enough reward points

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A concerned dad is urging a Halifax primary school to change its reward policy after his five-year-old daughter was told she had not earned enough points to go to a school disco.

CJ Waddington said his daughter Alayah was left “gutted” when she found out her best friends would be going to the after-school event at Whitehill Community Academy in Illingworth – but she was not.

The reason, he discovered, was that the Year One pupil had not achieved the required 80 Dojo points last half term.

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The points are used in many schools to reward good behaviour and choices.

CJ Waddington with his daughter AlayahCJ Waddington with his daughter Alayah
CJ Waddington with his daughter Alayah

But Mr Waddington believes the school’s current policy is damaging for youngsters.

"It's teaching some children that they're better than others and some children are made to feel worthless," he said.

"What is the school doing to help the children who don't get enough points?

"She was gutted, absolutely gutted.

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"Her best friends were asking if she was going and she didn't understand why she wasn't, or why she had to leave the classroom while they got changed and ready for the disco.

"She was upset that evening and didn't want to go to school the next day."

He made the point that different teachers are likely to be subjective about how they hand out points.

And he stressed his daughter is not a badly-behaved child.

His concern is how the system impacts on children's mental health and how they see themselves.

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When he posted about the situation on Facebook, he received comments from dozens of others who share his view.

One said: “I totally get it for the secondary school kids who know the consequences – how can a five-year-old retain that?”

Another said: “That's horrific and certainly no way to teach a five-year-old.”

Jon Boyle, interim headteacher at Whitehill Community Academy, said this is a new rewards system and the school will be listening to children and parents to refine rewards going forward.

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"This was the second celebration event which we have organised over the last three months,” he said.

"Parents had told us that they wanted more events to reward children so we held a film night which was attended by over 200 children and a disco attended by over 300 children. Both these events took place after the school day had ended.

"There was a target of 80 points over the half term to attain the reward and children were made aware of this.

"Points are awarded by the class teachers and a weekly overview is shared with staff.

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"At the end of the summer term we will be holding our annual 'Party on the Field' which every child can attend.

"The rewards system is new, and we will continue to listen to the children and parents and refine these rewards going forward.”

Whitehill Community Academy recently became part of Trinity Multi-Academy Trust.

At the time of the school’s last Oftsted report in January 2020, it had 702 pupils aged between three and 11.

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