One thing we’ve been interested to develop at our school is a reward scheme that reinforces school priorities, and encourages children to proceed through the stages of motivation from extrinsic to intrinsic. In so doing, we aim to shift pupil perspective from individual focus to recognition of what it means to be a part of a school community. This has lead to a reinvention of historic behaviour policy, the reintroduction of a House system and House Points scheme, and investment in a reward scheme and celebration schedule which includes everything from small gifts, to trips, to pin badges for excellence.
However, we are also aware that there are some things which might historically have been taught discretely at school, and which most adults would expect children to know, that are slipping through the gap. As such, we hoped to find a way to bring in aspects of personal and moral development into the Reward System. We had heard from a local school of a Headteacher’s Challenge award and, after having a look and being impressed, we have decided to put something together of our own.
As it stands, the idea is to run an annual award scheme, and those who complete the challenges will attend a reward trip at the end of the year. The children receive a small booklet with all the targets listed, to be signed off by a teacher upon completion. Not all need be completed (we have set a minimum of 27 to be completed out of 32 total challenges) – we’re aware this has to span over several year groups, and interest/capacity for some targets might vary, so latitude is needed.
One question upon which we are not yet firmly decided is how to structure the targets. Whilst the original idea was to focus exclusively on life skills, we have expanded it to include three core areas – study success, personal living, and spiritual/moral development (we’re a Catholic school). This is not set in stone, and it can make the targets look a bit hotch-potch, but we hope it will link with what is already in place to ensure our children know that excellence must exist not only in academic achievement, but personal skills and development too. In the end, it is about developing discipline, in the broadest sense of that word – this will underpin any successful future attempt in the art of living well.
The award is initially anticipated to be targeted at Key Stage 2. There is something to be said for separate lists for each year group, or perhaps each phase, to follow a child all the way through their schooling, and maybe this is something we will look into going forward. This would certainly allow us to include a great deal more targets, and take a more expansive approach to personal development. Still, as an initial run, we will focus on introducing a scheme with Key Stage 2 and refining as the need arises.
And so, below is the provisional list we are working with. These are subject to change, and some are under discussion. I have also included suggestions below that others have offered. Since we’re trying to split this over three different categories, it is impossible to include everything, and some valuable things have to be left out – maybe this is something we can consider moving forward, particularly if we decide to go ahead with having different age-related strands in future.
Anyway, if you have any thoughts – about either the organisation of the scheme or the targets in it – then do please comment below.
- Take on a household job for a term
- Become a House Point Star
- Achieve a commendation certificate in celebration assembly.
- Recite a poem off by heart to class or during a school assembly.
- Perform on stage (or support off stage) in a school production or concert.
- Attend Mass in the parish at the weekend at least three times
- Keep a class or school job/responsibility for at least half a term.
- Achieve an attendance award
- Write a formal thank you letter to a member of school staff
- Know all your times tables by heart
- Research and write a biography of St. Cuthbert (compulsory)
- Know the Our Father, Hail Mary and the Glory Be off by heart
- Attend in full school uniform every day
- Run/jog a mile without walking.
- Achieve full marks in every spellings test for a term
- Be able to read an analogue clock
- Read 12 books from the school library.
- Be able to keep eye contact whilst talking with an adult
- Be able to use a knife and fork correctly.
- Attend an after-school club for at least three half-terms
- Attend an out of school club for at least a term
- Raise money for a charity
- Be able to tie shoe laces
- Be a reading buddy for a younger child for a term
- Add a prayer to the Prayer Tree
- Receive a House Point for cursive handwriting
- Use your school planner and hand homework in on time
- Find a five (or more) letter word in a dictionary in seconds or less.
- Lead class worship
- Receive a House Point for good manners or politeness
- Know ABC and be able to put someone in the recovery position
- Make a simple healthy snack or meal (with adult help)
Other suggestions that have been made, primarily through Twitter, include:
- Be able to iron a shirt
- Know your own address, birth date, and telephone number
- Write a birthday card
- Polish your own shoes – with polish, brush and buffer
- Be able to introduce yourself politely, with handshake and eye contact
- Write a simple thank you note
- Grow a plant or vegetable
- Be able to sew a button on to clothes
- Be able to cross a road safely
- Be able to wash hands properly
- Be able to ride a bike
- Be able to swim at least 20 metres
- Be able to identify ten common plants/birds/bugs
- Be in charge of washing up and putting away dishes for at least a term
- Have cared for an animal for a period of time
- Use a screwdriver
- Make a bed properly
- Clean and dress a wound
- Be a reading buddy for a younger child for a term
- Be able to plan a balanced meal
- Be able to follow a recipe
- Be able to tie a tie
- Be able to fix a puncture
- Visit a retirement home
- Do a cartwheel.
- Pack an overnight bag
- Be able to boil an egg