Tempting pupils by giving them the chance to play computer games is the latest idea to provide them with performance incentives.
The City Academy in Bristol was one of the first schools to offer financial rewards for good GCSE results in 2002. This year it paid out pound;23,000.
Last week, 450 pupils at West Denton Primary in Newcastle upon Tyne were given tickets to watch a football match after registering the most improved attendance in the authority. Other institutions have offered goodies such as iPods.
But many schools, including the City Academy, are axing financial incentives. They have become expensive, there are doubts about whether they work, and some argue they give out the wrong message.
Children at Buile Hill High School in Salford have been able to earn pound;100 for good GCSE results, but the scheme was quietly dropped this year.
John Warmisham, Salford's head of children's services, said: "Education is not all about getting - it is about belief in oneself."