THIS week I have resorted to bribing my eldest with surprises (toys), to get him to do his home schooling.

There I’ve said it. I feel better for sharing.

After years of taking assemblies, exhorting the importance of being motivated by the acquisition of knowledge rather than for short term gains, I have changed my tune considerably during lockdown.

But it has worked.

Every day this week, my four-year-old has rushed in to ask me if he can do his work.

The average lesson has been 45 minutes per day, which might not sound like a lot but it is around 41 minutes better than before the bribery.

It really has made me think about the importance of short-term rewards for success.

In schools, we ask a lot of pupils, expecting them to work hard every day for five years because at the end they will take GCSEs which can have a significant influence on their life chances.

Imagine if in your job you were told, if you work hard for five years, you may get a promotion.

This wouldn’t be enough for most people.

There is a reason why companies spend millions providing perks to influence employee motivation.

So, when the Whitmore School Parliament return to school, they will be asked to develop a new and improved rewards system, which will provide short-term milestones and rewards for hard work. By repeatedly succeeding in these short-term goals, I believe our pupils are more likely to achieve what they are capable of in their GCSEs.

Now I will admit there are a couple of concerns I have with my lockdown prizegiving approach.

First and foremost, I worry about the possibility of toy inflation.

Already he has asked if he can get bigger toys if he works really hard.

I shut this down immediately but the question will come again.

Secondly, I want him to love learning because learning is fantastic as opposed to just wanting to get toys.

But why are both things not possible?

He will enjoy the short-term rewards for hard work whilst at the same time acquiring knowledge and skills that will allow him to learn independently in the future.

Right, I’m off to Tesco to buy their entire supply of Lego figures.