Extra credit: Incentivising extra-curricular activities

A lack of student engagement and participation in extra-curricular activities is a major issue facing schools. Despite research showing that 70% of businesses believe extra-curricular activities make school leavers stand out in an application, pupil participation continues to be an uphill struggle.

It is a constant challenge for schools to make activities like science club or after-school sports seem as appealing as going out with friends. However, there are solutions available to address this issue. Rewards can be a simple, yet effective technique to encourage more students into extra-curricular activities.

Offering free cinema tickets, for example, is an inexpensive way of incentivising students to attend additional activities. With the price of tickets on the rise, and 72% of 16-24 year old’s saying cost is the reason they would not attend the cinema, it is no surprise that this would appeal to students .Combined with Sodexo’s recent research showing that 35% of 18-44 year-olds see a trip to the cinema as a valued reward, this incentive would be a major driver for students to attend an after-school programme.

Schools can’t simply hand out cinema tickets to every student who attends an extra-curricular activity, however; incentive programmes need to be regulated, monitored and consistent. If a student feels that the rewards being given are arbitrary or unfair, the incentive will quickly lose its appeal. One option is to use an online platform that can track a student’s progress towards earning a reward, as this approach will encourage pupils to participate in activities over the entire academic year.

popcornMany schools already have online platforms that students can access, meaning that incentive schemes can be easily incorporated into these established systems. One of the biggest challenges educational institutions face is ensuring that information is effectively communicated to students in a timely manner. Using an online platform to provide a ‘one stop shop’ for updates, academic achievement as well as a reward scheme is a great way to strengthen communication between the school, student and parents.

Likewise, online platforms will make it easier for students to track their progress and share their achievements. If implemented effectively, students will not only benefit from participating in extra-curricular activities, but will also be able to share their successes with parents, teachers and peers.

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