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Last Updated: Thursday, 14 August, 2003, 05:32 GMT 06:32 UK
Cash awards for exam success
St George Community College
A new City Academy is planned on the St George site in September
A-level students at a Bristol school will be paid for achieving their expected exam results - or exceeding them.

St George Community College, a city-centre comprehensive for 11-18-year-olds, started the cash rewards scheme last year for GCSE pupils.

Students are paid 10 per exam for hitting their targets, or 15 for exceeding them, with an additional 150 for gaining five A-C grades at GCSE.

Now the scheme has been extended to the sixth form and the school says record-breaking results are expected this summer.

In an ideal world, there would be no need for this. But the average payout - 100 per student - is not that much if it makes a difference
Sophie Annesley
Scheme manager

Between 10 and 15 of this year's students are expected to go to university, compared with just three in 2001.

Dr Alison George, head of post-16 education at the school, said the vast majority of students were getting some money and that many students who go on to university were considering spending it on computers.

She said: "The results achieved this year and the number of students who are successfully going on to higher education, reflects the enormous success of the scheme."

In 2002, staff at the college expected 13% of the students to achieve five A-C grades at GCSE: the actual figure was 25%.

Sophie Annesley, who oversees the scheme, told BBC News Online: "We are promoting a change in culture. There is a stigma here of being seen to work and we are trying to change that.

"To make this scheme more sustainable In the long-term, I would like company sponsorship - so laptops instead of bursaries for students going to university, for example.

New school

"But the need for the scheme should die down as the stigma is broken though"

"In an ideal world, there would be no need for this. But the average payout - 100 per student - is not that much if it makes a difference," she added.

The cash - 328,000 pledged over three years - comes from the government: in particular, Community at Heart, the Bristol New Deal for Communities regeneration programme.

The scheme, now extended to sixth formers, also includes 500 bursaries for students going to university.

The school will be replaced on the same site next month by the new City Academy.

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