New free school offers pupils £500 ‘bribes’ to sign up

The Telegraph is reporting that one of the government’s flagship free schools has been accused of wasting public money by offering bright pupils £500 to sign up…

New College Doncaster – a new sixth-form – is believed to be the first in the country to offer cash incentives to encourage teenagers to apply.

Under the plan, 16-year-olds could claim the money if they are predicted to achieve more than five A grades in their GCSEs.

The sixth-form will be run by nearby New College Pontefract as part of the Coalition’s “free school” programme that allows teachers, parents and charities to open wholly new educational institutions independent of local council control.

It needs to win backing from 1,000 parents as part of its application to open by 2016, it emerged…

Stephen Gorard, professor of education and public policy at Durham University, criticised the incentive.

Speaking to Academies Week magazine, he said: “I can’t see that it would be an ethical use of funding given that it would cost money from the public purse that could have been spent on something else.”

…The move follows a similar system operated by universities across the UK which offer a series of incentives to encourage bright students to apply, including thousands of pounds off their tuition fees, free text books, iPads and subsidised accommodation…

More at: New free school offers pupils £500 ‘bribes’ to sign up


See the original scoop on this from Academies Week at: Free school sixth-form offer £500 recruitment ‘incentive’ to pupils


Hmmm – many schools accept that they are competing for bums on seats and more students means more funding – but offering cash incentives like this just can’t be right can it? Or am I being naive? Or is it just a modern day version of a scholarship? Your thoughts? Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


[advpoll id=”52″ title=”Today’s Poll” width=””]


Don’t forget you can sign up to receive our daily email bulletin every morning (around 7 am) with all the latest schools news stories. Your details will never be given to anyone else and you can unsubscribe at any stage. Just follow this link!

The six common components of good-quality teaching
School strike action after union rep suspended following headteacher criticism of 'confrontation and obfuscation'
Categories: Free Schools.


  1. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove This is absolutely scandalous frankly and a product of a political vision for education in England. Sickening

  2. andylutwyche

    SchoolsImprove If ever evidence were needed that political interference in education is corrosive and needs eradicating, this is it

  3. Mktadvice4schls

    SchoolsImprove not sure cash is most effective incentive – should focus on specific barriers (e.g transport/IT) & make money go further

  4. anne_clarke

    SchoolsImprove ealingschools I note they have removed the offer from their website. Hopefully they are embarrassed.

  5. Janet2

    It’s a bribe.  Not the first time – STEM academy offered the chance to win an i-pad to prospective students who answered Yes to the question about whether they’d choose STEM as their first choice sixth-form.  Baroness Walmsley asked a question in the Lords requesting whether such practices would be banned:

    And the proposed Phoenix Free School offered free literacy lessons to children of parents who signed expression of interest forms.

  6. artmadnana

    SchoolsImprove clearly desperate for bums on seats. Hardly opening in an area of need if have to bribe potential students.

  7. artmadnana

    SchoolsImprove clearly desperate for bums on seats. Hardly opening in an area of need if have to bribe potential students.

Let us know what you think...