The BBC reported on Monday that Kingston-upon-Thames Council in London has given medals to two boys from New Malden for not missing a day of school for five years.
It goes on to say that medals for good attendance were introduced in London schools in the 1880s (actually 1887) - with special medals for any pupil maintaining a perfect attendance for more than three years.
See the BBC's full article.
Schools all around Britain gave these medallions out and the attraction for family historians that they usually carry the pupil's name and the school's name and the date - surely a treasure if it's one of your ancestors.
Some schools gave them out as prizes for scholastic achievement too.
In most cases they are made of white metal, an alloy of antimony and tin, copper or lead, and they have a silvery colour.
Some schools used copper or bronze, usually getting a die-stamper to strike them a stock of medallions with the school's name and or crest; and then having each winner's details engraved at the time.
Others, particularly, the fee-paying public schools had their stock of medallions struck in silver, or even in gold.
There's one in the National Museums Scotland of a Selkirk Grammar School silver medal awarded to Elizabeth MacKenzie in 1827 for excellence in English composition.
Perfect attendance records for shorter periods were often marked by the issue of a book to the pupil with a suitable inscription. I saw a book relating to a prize given by Ednam school recently. Such books used often to be seen, however, as they were usually of a Christian nature, bibles, Sunday school stories, or accounts of religious figures, they aren't much sought after, and frequently get thrown away.
If you would like to know whether your ancestors received medals or other prizes, the best place to look is in the school's log book, though they are sometimes mentioned in the local press too.
Keep an eye out for them at car boot sales, too.
If you know your ancestor was awarded a prize, and you would like to find it, do let us know in the forum, somebody may be able to help.
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