A school is offering some pupils a £200 bribe to pass English and maths exams. But the bonus will be paid only to children predicted to get a D grade at GCSE who achieve at least a C in both subjects. This is from the Daily Mail…
The scheme, at Oldbury Academy in the West Midlands, was criticised last night for promoting mediocrity by focusing on C grades – the standard by which a school’s performance in league tables is measured.
It has also been attacked as divisive because it excludes high-achieving pupils as well as those who are expected to fail but who instead end up with a good pass.
The controversial policy is understood to apply to 49 Year 11 pupils sitting GCSEs this summer – at a potential cost of £9,800.
Last year 60 per cent of pupils there who sat the exams achieved a C grade or higher, compared with a national average for state-funded schools of 56.1 per cent.
Christopher Hill, 29, a University of Birmingham teaching fellow whose father used to work at the specialist sports academy, wrote to Education Secretary Michael Gove and schools regulator Ofsted to complain about the policy.
He said yesterday: ‘Times are hard and many services are being cut. Is it therefore justifiable to spend money in this way when the same funding could be used to provide important and educationally valuable experiences for many more of its pupils?’
Parents were also furious. A mother of a Year 11 pupil, who asked not to be named, said: ‘My daughter has been predicted A and B grades and I’ve heard nothing about any rewards. It’s a bit of a kick in the teeth for kids who just get their head down and get on with it.’
Another mother said: ‘It just promotes mediocrity. I believe it will only segregate pupils.’
Oldbury Academy headteacher John Martin defended the initiative, claiming it prepared children for real-life situations where hard work is rewarded.
‘Students need to demonstrate significant progress before being considered for recognition through our rewards scheme,’ he said.
But Tory MP Graham Stuart, chairman of the Commons Education Select Committee, said: ‘This is a distortion based on the importance of a C grade to the school, instead of its importance to the child. It’s the wrong way round.’
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