Rewards help bring in missing pupils

If all else fails, bribery usually works. At least, that's what Southwark police have found when it comes to persuading youngsters in their borough to be good citizens.

A pound;2 million scheme that rewards pupils for good behaviour and school attendance with personal stereos, books and free tickets to football matches has proved a major success since it was launched last year.

Using supermarket-style loyalty cards, Southwark's 8,000 11 to 15-year-olds can notch up enough points each term to get themselves treats and goodies.

They can also earn the chance to take part in activities such as rock climbing, abseiling and kayaking, get to spend a day with a top DJ or the chance to take part in a local theatre production.

Teachers in the borough's 16 secondaries use hand-held computers to register points for attendance, behaviour, good school work, wearing the correct uniform and even producing a sick note to explain absence.

Sgt Mark Scoular, project manager of the "Karrot" scheme, said: "It has made an enormous difference so far. We have seen kids turning up to pupil-referral units after months of absence because they want to earn themselves a kick around with Millwall Football Club.

"It is only rewarding kids for what they should be doing anyway but it is particularly effective with those borderline youngsters who need a push in the right direction.

"The feedback from schools has been great and it has gone a long way to improving the relationship between the police and young people because it is uniformed officers who are handing out the rewards."

The scheme is funded by a mixture of public and private sponsorship, including donations from companies such as fast-food giants McDonalds, publishers Dorling Kindersley and Barclays Bank.

Log in or register for FREE to continue reading.

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you