OUTRAGED parents have slammed their kids’ school for only handing out advent calendars to pupils who had 96 per cent attendance.
Saint Nathaniel’s Academy, in Burslem, Stoke-on-Trent, has come under fire this term for cheating some students out of a festive Christmas gift.
Children who had attained 96 per cent attendance were handed the Lindt advent calendars while those who had been off sick missed the cut off.
Carla Needham’s two sons have not received advent calendars and the furious parent said: “A lot of the children came out of the school with an advent calendar in their hands as a reward for their good attendance and a lot of children also came out sobbing because they didn’t have an advent calendar because they’d been off sick.
“There were children from the age of three coming out really upset because their friends had been given an advent calendar – and they’d been poorly so they didn’t get one.”
“This little boy came out and he’d got an advent calendar, but his little sister didn’t and she sobbed her heart out and that’s cruel,” the 32-year-old continued.
“It broke my heart,” she added.
The Middleport mum explained: “They could have done it in a different way.
“They could have sent a message to parents saying that your child had had good attendance and that there was a gift for them to collect from the office.
“Instead, they did it in front of the other children and rubbed their faces in it.”
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Carla has a seven-year-old and an eight-year-old at the school and explained they had been off sick, through no fault of their own.
When her son found out he wouldn’t get an advent calendar as he watched his classmates receive them, his mum said he “sat on the floor and had a cry, he just said ‘it’s really nasty’.”
The heartbroken mum pointed out that schools are full of sickness bugs at this time of year, also referred to as ‘germ term’ among teachers.
She said: “There’s also Strep A that’s all over the news at the moment, there’s that many bugs and Covid is still around.
“I don’t think the school should discriminate against a child for being poorly. As a church school they should know that is wrong.”
The 32-year-old also highlighted that many kids won’t have an advent calendar this year amid the crippling cost of living crisis.
“There are children out there that won’t have advent calendars this year because times are hard and now the school hasn’t given them one. What’s wrong with a certificate for attendance?” She added.
Stacey Bayley’s nine-year-old son has also missed out on an advent calendar, she said: “There were a lot of children coming out of school really upset as they felt they were being punished for not being very well and having time off.
“My son didn’t get an advent calendar. He had to have a bit of time off due to winter illnesses and an infection in his foot.
“How could they do that to young kids, especially at this time of year? It’s really wrong.”
The 37-year-old claimed the chocolatey gifts were handed out right under the noses of children who wouldn’t be getting one.
“My son sort of held it together, but as soon as he saw my face that was it, he broke down.”
She explained all of her son’s absences had been authorised by the school and he had been genuinely ill.
“They were the Lindt advent calendars as well which are not cheap,” the Middleport mum continued.
“The school hasn’t taken into consideration that some parents then felt they had to spend the best part of £10 on one advent calendar just so their child felt just as important as the others in their class,” she added.
Stacey also highlighted the amount of pressure parents across the country are under to come through with presents this Christmas.
She said: “It did make me really angry, it would any caring parent if your child comes out of school that upset.”
Principal of Saint Nathaniel’s Academy, Rosemarie Patrick, said that most parents have been supportive of the school and the advent calendars were donated by a local church.
Mrs Patrick said: “Following the Covid-19 pandemic, and in line with the government’s position on raising attendance nationally, one approach we continue to use to promote good attendance is the rewarding of attendance prizes.
“These are awarded to pupils with 96 per cent and above attendance and the majority of parents have been supportive of this approach to promote good attendance.”
The Sun Online has gone to Saint Nathaniel’s Academy for comment.