Voucher incentives for pupils

IPSWICH: Gift vouchers are being offered to the lowest-achieving students at one high school in an attempt to boost grades, The Evening Star can reveal today.

IPSWICH: Gift vouchers are being offered to the lowest-achieving students at one high school in an attempt to boost grades, The Evening Star can reveal today.

Teachers behind the controversial incentive, which has been adopted by St Albans High School in Digby Road, claim the scheme will improve GCSE scores this summer.

But the plans have come under attack from one angry parent, who is “incensed” at the idea.

The outraged father, who asked not to be named, said the scheme was unfair on higher achievers.

A group of 46 Year 11 students at St Albans were selected to take part in the project after careful data analysis by teachers.

Assistant head Tim Legg said the programme was aimed at pupils identified as needing a helping hand.

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“It is about giving the students a boost and inspiring them to achieve in their GCSEs,” he said.

“We are hoping the outcome will be to give those students access to level three qualifications, whether they stay here for A-levels or go on to take on college courses.

“It is really about giving our students the best possible life choices when they finish Year 11.”

The 46 students will be split into teams and on a fortnightly basis will be subject to motivation reports in school, which will assess the students' application in lessons, their behaviour and other aspects of school life.

The team with the most points will win prizes, including gift vouchers.

However, the outspoken parent blasted the scheme.

He said: “As a parent I am really bothered by this. The rest of the year group are up in arms.

“I just think it is totally unfair, I find it appalling.”

Defending the scheme, Mr Legg said: “This is not by any stretch a group of naughty students we are trying to pay to improve.

“Between February and Easter Year 11 typically have a lull and this is about making sure we are keeping students focused to give them the opportunity to succeed in life.”

A spokesman for Suffolk County Council said the decision to offer incentives to students was a matter for individual schools and head teachers.

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