Tip of the week: Praise Cards

7th March 1997 at 00:00
The card is designed so that it can be filled in quickly and easily by a member of staff who simply adds the pupil's name, class and reason for issue.

Cards are kept in the school office and can be collected at any time by any member of staff. To ensure that they are valued, the postcards are printed on glossy card in the school colours of red and black. When returned to the office, they are signed and dated by the headteachers, so pupils are aware of their endorsement. They are photocopied for inclusion in pupil files, records of achievement, reference compilations and so on, then mailed out to parents, which gives them greater status than the usual pupil delivery.

Last year, we issued 344 cards. This year the number is 312, with just over half the session completed. Considering that our starting point was the difficulty encountered when trying to generate positive referrals, the fact that we now get hundreds, speaks volumes.

Many of the pupils - and parents - approach the headteacher after a card has reached home to say thank you. Some pupils speak of further rewards they have received at home because of its arrival. All keep track of how many cards they have received.

The card often has the greatest effect when issued to a pupil who experiences significant challenges with schooling. For instance, they have been given to pupils who have achieved a day of "1s" for behaviour, and to reluctant readers who manage a complete short story. As cards are issued, information is recorded on a database, and details are published - such as how many praise postcards have been issued by individual departments and groups of staff in the school, which pupils have received them and for what. Our dream is to make Govan High a 100 per cent positive school. Praise postcards are one step along that road.

Iain White is headteacher, and Jackie Purdie is assistant head at Govan High School, Glasgow

If you have any tips or schemes that you would like to pass on, please write to the School Management page, TES Scotland, 37 George Street,Edinburgh EH2 2HN

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