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Headteacher Blog – Why We Use Rewards At Ermine Primary Academy

On this occasion, rather than write about one of the values we have been looking at during the week, I wish to address something that a number of parents and carers appear to have an issue with – the rewards system we employ at Ermine Primary.

It has been brought to my attention that many people have decided that the manner in which the children are deemed to be ‘qualified’ for golden trips is unfair.

Firstly, I wish to clarify that golden trips are NOT educational trips. Educational trips are essential and all children have the right to experience these trips, something which the school ensures happens.

I will start with what happens on a daily basis in school. Children have several ways to be rewarded for their excellent behaviour and attitude to learning and each other over the course of a day.

  • They can earn house points that add up to a total at the end of a week for the chance to make their house the winners of the cup in every achievers assembly.
  • The house points also counts towards their own personal tally, as once they have earned 200, 300, 400 and 500 they can claim a bronze, silver, gold or platinum badge to display their fantastic efforts!
  • The house points system gives the children the chance to show how being the best they can be at school can reap rewards both as an individual and as a member of a team (or community).

  • If the child does something ‘above and beyond’ or displays a particularly remarkable skill, or personal attribute, or just works hard to improve something (such as being punctual or writing for longer periods of time) then they can be placed on ‘silver’ or ‘gold’ which are the next steps up from ‘green’ which is where all children are expected to be. This is explained further in our behaviour policy. Doing this not only earns them house points as well, but also shows the rest of the class how brilliant that person has been and will most likely result in that child being a star of the week!
  • This way, we are able to promote further the fact that we are all at school in order to become the best person we can be, learn from our experiences and give ourselves the brightest future filled with opportunities. This attitude is a must once the children start secondary school!

  • Marbles. Yes, marbles! Every Friday afternoon, for 30 minutes, the children have ‘golden time’. This is an opportunity to relax from the normal daily timetable and do something a bit different! This may be watching part of a film, drawing, playing on the school DS’s, using the tablets or just socialising with each other by playing games. One marble is worth one minute of golden time and the children earn these marbles as the week progresses.
  • Finally, let me describe the idea behind the ‘golden trip’.

    This has changed slightly from last year, but essentially at the end of each term (so six times a year) the children have time away from the normal timetable to take part in something unusual, interesting, fun and exciting! The children have a term (could be 5 or 6 weeks) to stay on green! This is the information collected first. Those children are then checked against their attendance record – 96% is the magic number (at the moment – it could change!). Please note that there is currently no plan to have a ‘trip’ at the end of the year as we are focusing on these six treats – that way, children who may miss out on one or two still have the opportunity to earn their way onto the other four!

    But please note: any appointments that are associated with a medical condition that your child may have are NOT counted when the attendance figure is calculated. We do not disallow a child the opportunity to join in with a golden treat or trip because of an appointment or hospital visit due to a medical condition.

    However, we do appreciate that illness is something that no-one can do anything about. The reason that we HAVE to take this into account is that the government have set all schools the benchmark of achieving the national average for attendance which is 96%. Any school found to be not doing everything in its power to achieve this number will simply be asked to do something about it. Here at Ermine, we do everything we can to encourage children to be at school as much as possible.

    There is one more thing. The teachers do have some flexibility in terms of the children who can experience the golden treat. They are allowed, for reasons such as improved attendance over the term, or improved behaviour, to choose up to TWO children from their class to go to the golden treat. We do appreciate that some flexibility is required, and clearly this is what some parents are wanting. However, I will stress that it is up to the teacher to decide and for what reason.

    I am sure this still won’t please everybody but there is no way we could have a system that does. The majority of parents work extremely hard getting their children to school every day, ensuring reading is done at least three times a week, helping their children learn spellings and maths facts.

    Doing The Best For Your Children And The Community

    We apply a common sense approach wherever possible, but sometimes, being a school we have certain rules and regulations we have to adhere to. So some decisions may seem unfair at times but rest assured we are doing the best for your children and the community – we never lose sight of the reason we are all here in the first place.

    With this in mind it would be very much appreciated if the community supported the school and the children it serves.

    Thank you,


Andrew Sale

Head Teacher – Ermine Primary Academy