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Thursday, 28 November, 2002, 11:27 GMT
Holiday bid to cut truancy
Classroom
The project will run for four weeks every term
Children at a school in Greater Manchester are being offered the chance to win a 2,000 holiday for their family - just by turning up.

The idea was dreamt up by Rose Bridge High School in Ince, near Wigan, as part of its long-running campaign against truancy.

Under the scheme, which is being nick-named Presence Makes Prizes, children who miss no school days between now and July will be entered in a draw to win a holiday for all their family.

Local businesses are sponsoring the project, which is the latest in a series which have helped to bring down the school's truancy levels in the past few years.

Pupils with a 95% record for attendance get the chance to win televisions or music systems.

Wrong message

The scheme has been criticised by the pressure group The Campaign for Real Education, which says pupils should not be rewarded just for turning up.

The organisation's Nick Seaton said: "Doing this sort of thing gives youngsters the wrong message.

"It suggests they should be given special rewards for normal behaviour."

But the school says the action has helped tackle truancy.

The holiday scheme was an extension of one which ran at the school last year, under which children with good attendance levels could win prizes.

The school has made big improvements in attendance over the past few years.

In 1998, the truancy rate at the school was 6.4% - far ahead of the national average of 1.1%.

By 2000, this had been cut to 2.4%, but Ofsted inspectors still described attendance levels as poor compared with the national average.

Last year, the school's truancy rate was closer to the national average at 1.5%.

The school's headteacher Jack Pendlebury, said:" "Rewards and praises have a greater impact in effecting change than sanctions and punitive measures.

"The full range of measures are used to produce improvement, but there is a growing emphasis on recognising the vast majority who attend well and work hard."


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See also:

15 Nov 02 | Politics
11 Oct 02 | England
09 Oct 02 | Education
09 Oct 02 | Education
28 May 02 | Education
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