Life lessons

By Whitmore High School head teacher, Innes Robinson.

Do you ever bribe your children with toys to make them go to sleep? No, me neither, just thought I’d ask for a friend.

Anyway, this week my eldest was particularly excited because Daddy had bought him a Lego Hulk figure that was to arrive later in the week. I was given one piece of advice by my wife, ‘whatever you do, don’t tell him it is coming or it’s all he will talk about.’ I knew better, told him, and started a five-day countdown. By the last day, the poor boy was on the edge. But he went to school happy, Daddy had got the email confirming an upcoming delivery and promised it would be there.

It wasn’t. And even worse, his teacher took my wife aside at the end of the day to say Gryff wasn’t himself at school that day. He didn’t want to do his words because he was too excited about Hulk. I’d had a shocker. Not only had I made my child not learn at school, I also had to concede to my wife that she was right.

In my defence, I imagine I am not the only parent who has resorted to bribery to survive lockdown. I also think small rewards for good work are really important to children. This is why we are currently reviewing our school reward system to provide more short-term benefits for pupils to go alongside the long-term goal of achieving their potential.

The good news for Gryff is that Hulk arrived a day later to huge fanfare. The bad news, there is no way my wife will let me buy more toys anytime soon.