Loyalty card rewards pupils' efforts
School pupils in a city with one of the worst school records in Britain are trading punctuality and hard work for burgers, chips, and even mountain bikes, under a new student loyalty system that rewards good work and attendance...
By Dave Mark, reporter for the Yorkshire Post This article is copyright © 2003 The Yorkshire Post(yorkshireposttoday.co.uk)
The new system is being pioneered at Hull's Isaac Newton School and could soon by rolled out city-wide and beyond, as part of a £4 million government programme that provides grants for new ideas that combat truancy and raise standards.
The school was one of three in Hull chosen to receive £370,000 per year for the next three years to try a new scheme under the Behaviour and Attendance Improvement Programme, and under the Excellence in Cities scheme. Teachers at the school brought in Hull-based loyalty systems provider, Fidelity Systems, to design the points-accumulating loyalty card system.
Bonuses for behaviour Every student is given a card which carries their personal details. For basic good attendance and performance, the student's card is credited with approximately 35 points per week. For every special initiative, they are credited with discretionary bonus points.
The points can be redeemed in the school canteen for food and snacks, or used to order goods from a catalogue (including tickets to football matches and sporting goods). If pupils save up their points over the course of several months, or even across school years, they could potentially earn a television set or a mountain bike. However, if they misbehave in any way, points are deducted from the card.
Immediate success The scheme is already proving successful after only a few weeks of live operation. Children are already saving up their points for larger purchases from the catalogue, and teachers have reported a marked improvement in both attendance and behaviour.
"It's working brilliantly so far. The funding has allowed us to bring in a team from Fidelity Systems in Hull, and together we have come up with something that is completely new, and could be the way forward for all schools," said assistant head teacher, Chris Mulqueen. "The system is quite simple. Every pupil gets a 'credit card', colour-coded for their school year. There are various computer terminals where teachers who have been impressed with work can credit the cards with a certain amount of points - 35 points work out at roughly £0.35."
According to Mulqueen, "There's been a lot of interest in the programme for quite a small outlay. For around £10,000 we got swipe terminals in the canteen, the cards, and the software to make it all work. And, so far, the results have been amazing. A lot of schools have merit systems but this is something very new."
Targets Isaac Newton School currently has an 87% attendance record, and is trying to reach the government standard of 92%. Children with persistently poor attendance and behaviour can end up with a negative number of points.
The loyalty programme also has potential for future expansion into other applications such as transport ticketing and physical access control. Hull's new Endeavour High School, although it currently has no loyalty programme, already uses a multi-function card for cashless canteen payments, access control and monitoring, student bus passes, and library passes.