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Rewards in primary schools are they beneficial?

Rewards in primary schools are they beneficial?

On a frosty winter’s morning in Oxford, pupils at St Aloysius’ Catholic primary school file into the hall for their end-of-week assembly. Today the headteacher will be handing out certificates to those who have displayed the school’s “virtues”. The head, Tom Walker, calls on one or two children from each class to receive awards highlighting how they have supported friends, or taken a risk, or perhaps played with a child who was on their own.

Each announcement is followed by enthusiastic applause. One year 6 pupil high-fives his friend as he walks up. Others pat their classmates on the back.

The Virtues awards are new, replacing a system that rewarded academic work and good behaviour. Most primary schools in England use these sorts of schemes – often called Star of the Week. But there is growing unease among teachers, parents and experts who say awards can do more harm than good: that, if not managed carefully, they encourage unhealthy competition or an expectation of reward.

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