Last night I heard a discussion on Radio 5 Live about a primary school which has a problem with truancy. Indeed, it has a problem with parents who are not taking their responsibilities seriously and making little effort to ensure their children attend school. The head teacher has introduced a scheme which is aimed at persuading these parents to obey the law and make sure their children attend school. If problem children start attending school properly their parents are being rewarded with a £40 voucher for a curry meal. Yes, you read that right.
Now, it is good that schools think outside the box and try to innovate, but is this really sending out the right message? The NASUWT have branded it 'insane' and pointed out that it rewards people who have been breaking the law. It also sends out the wrong message to the kids who may well come to understand that you only need obey the law when you are being rewarded for it.
It comes back to the age old dilemma about carrots and sticks. Normally, such parents would be reported to the Police or social services if they don't get their kids to school. That's the stick. This school is trying a carrot approach. It may work in the short term, but can this really be right as a long term strategy?
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