Dear Parents and Carers
Rewards are a tricky subject in secondary schools and it can be a struggle to get it right. We’re very pleased with the new passport system that we introduced this year which we are finding to be a lot more effective than our previous systems.
For most rewards systems, the challenge is engaging students as they get older. We respond by making a point of rewarding older students more and trying to encourage them to keep earning the stamps or stickers. Part of the challenge for secondary schools is that we’re dealing with teenagers who become increasingly risk averse as they get older and often don’t want to be noticed.
This was made clear to me at this week’s Year 7 and Year 9 celebration evenings where we rewarded exceptional work and commitment. The Year 7s are all keen, sitting up straight in their seats, eager to get up immediately when announced and displaying big smiles when they hear the praise. The Year 9 evening however, saw a range of slumped and slightly distorted teenagers trying to get comfy and find space for their limbs. As the praise is read out, the hand comes up to meet the face which is going down to hide from the attention. And when it’s time to get up and accept their reward, they all look at each other to make sure someone else goes first, not wanting to ever be seen shaking the Head Teacher’s hand. (They still enjoyed the packets of Haribo though. I notice they’re never too old for that.)
We can’t fight the aging process and as our children morph into teenagers, it is entirely natural for them to want to avoid attention, including praise. However, we will continue to give the praise, in school and through evening events, knowing that deep down they enjoy it and parents love a reason to give their teenage child – even when they are 6 foot tall – a big cuddle.
Thanks for all your support with these initiatives, and please do check your child’s passport and discuss their stamps and stickers with them. We look forward to the Year 8 evening in a couple of weeks’ time.
With best wishes
Andy Perry – Head TeacherClick here to return to the current newsletter