Page last updated at 11:20 GMT, Friday, 18 July 2008 12:20 UK

Chocolate 'makes pupils better'

Cannot play media. Sorry, this media is not available in your territory.

Head teacher Dr Andy Sheppard said he was heavily criticised when he introduced the scheme

A Norfolk headteacher has said there have been no exclusions from his school since he started rewarding pupils with chocolate for good behaviour.

Dr Andrew Sheppard began the scheme in 2005, since when exclusion days at Redcastle Furze Primary in Thetford have dropped from 65 a year to zero.

Critics said he was contributing to childhood obesity and dental problems.

But Dr Sheppard said: "It has improved behaviour, they are polite and... they have a sense of responsibility."

In September 2005, Dr Sheppard pledged to give all 240 pupils a bar of chocolate if they made it to the half term break without any exclusions.

The scheme proved so successful it was extended term by term. Since then discos, picnics and Easter eggs have been handed out.

Internet poll

"We had people saying how terrible it was that we were bribing children and it was unsustainable," he said.

"We had complaints saying we were contributing to childhood obesity and rotting teeth.

"But the children really liked it and it really works."

Dr Sheppard said he hoped other schools would follow his lead.

Earlier this year in an internet poll of 2,581 parents, 27% said teachers were giving their children sweets and three-quarters thought it was a bad idea.

At the time the School Food Trust said it would be better to use healthy food as a reward.

Pupils 'rewarded with chocolate'
02 May 08 |  Education

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit


Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific