There have been some big changes at Bradford Academy this year. One of these has been the introduction of a new reward system – Carrot Rewards. The thinking being this new system was based on “5 Principles of Effective Reward Systems” proposed by Ellie Dix of Pivotal Education, a group specialising in research into behaviour management in British and US schools.
- Reward over and above – don’t reward minimum standards because that is what you will get, rather reward those who go over and above the required standards.
Carrot Rewards will allow the school to set both what we reward for and the tariff in points the reward receives. The school has built in high expectations from the start and we only reward that which is great, challenging our learners to recognise that effort is necessary in order to achieve their personal best.
- It’s not what you give but the way that you give it – the system itself isn’t necessarily critical, it’s how staff operate it.
Carrot Rewards has helped to create consistency within and between the staff at Bradford Academy. We have set specific clear guidelines about what must be achieved in order for a reward to be given.
- Make the reward system simple to operate – it must be simple enough to fit in with the rhythm of the teaching of the busiest staff.
- Make the reward system personal – personal praise which is sincere and rewards students for going over and above is one of the top three things learners say they want – the danger of using a technological system for rewards is that it can take away the personal touch
As points are awarded in the classroom via the white board in real time (as well as after class if necessary) the reward is public and linked to praise. In addition prizes can be a positive postcard, letter or telephone call. So although Carrot is a technological system it actually encourages one to one praise and public acknowledgement of hard work, positive behaviour and effort.
- Recognition beats material rewards every time – the tiny moments of appreciation and feeling valued are far more important to the majority of learners than raffle tickets to win an iPad at the end of term.
Parents who sign up to the Parental Portal can see in real time the positives that their child is gaining. This is done either via their own Carrot account which is linked to their child’s or through a text message sent to their phone every time their child is rewarded. The visual nature of Carrot is a major advantage. It puts rewards visibly central to activity in the classroom, in Form time and in the home.
For our learners gaining immediate public praise for their effort and positive behaviour is proving to be very popular. Learners and teachers love the graphic nature of the digital buddies which represent the students. The final piece of the puzzle is the Carrot Shop. This stocks the rewards that learners can buy online using their Carrot points. It provides immediate gratification to those who like to spend and encourages others to save their points for more valuable prizes. The prizes were suggested by our learners through student voice. A competition was set in the first half-term so that the learner who earned the most Carrot points would be given the honour of officially opening our Carrot Shop. This accolade went to Tayyab Hussain in Year 9 who alongside our Executive Principal Mrs Hashmi and the Academy’s Chair of Governors Manoj Joshi cut the ribbon to launch the shop witnessed by his mum and aunt. The shop is now open every Tuesday and is providing recognition to our positive learners who strive every lesson to “be their best”.