At Archbishop Holgate’s School we aim to create a positive and motivated atmosphere, within which students can take pride in what they do. We believe that through formal recognition of achievement, positive attitude to learning or community mindedness students will work harder and take more pride in themselves and their community during their ‘Journey’ through school. 

In order to promote this aim and to create a positive school community, the whole school rewards policy is in place to achieve the following purpose and principles.


  • To promote a positive ethos through a culture of praise.
  • To motivate and encourage students.
  • To develop self-confidence, self-esteem and leads to further personal development.
  • To recognise students’ effort and achievement in relation to their position on the ‘AHS Journey’.
  • To recognise and reward students’ contribution and commitment to the school.
  • To develop and foster positive working relationships between students, staff and parents


  • Equitable and inclusive
  • Fair and consistently applied
  • Easy to use and understood by all

How the rewards policy works

The rewards policy is a tiered process:

Tier 1

Rewards are distributed by form and subject teachers in the form of merits and positive messages home. Merits can be saved or spent in the rewards store each week. Form and subject teachers will nominate students weekly for the HOY Award. They will also issue a nomination reward on classcharts.

Tier 2

Head of Year Rewards are awarded weekly by HOY during the Act of Collective Worship. All nominees will be named and 2 awarded in total. Students in receipt of the reward will be issued a voucher and be named in the weekly Parent Bulletin. HOY will award the HOY reward on class charts to notify parents and award bonus merits.

Tier 3

SLT Rewards are distributed half termly through certificates and are those students who deserve special recognition.  Students that should be awarded SLT certificates are confirmed by HOY 1 week prior to the end of each half term.

Tier 4

Headteacher rewards are awarded half termly. KS3 and KS4 SLT leaders will confirm names of award winners to the Headteacher. Students receiving the award will attend an awards breakfast and receive a high profile reward.

Tier 5

Rewards are awarded by the CEO of Archbishops. Rewards are decided by the Headteacher and are awarded termly. Students being recognised and awarded on this tier will have lunch with the CEO and receive a prestigious reward.


The general criteria for a student to be rewarded with merits is:-

  • Attendance 95% (not including authorised absences)
  • No removals, reflections suspensions
  • Contribution to the lesson/form time
  • Completion of homework
  • Have the correct equipment
  • Be in the correct uniform
  • Abides by the rules of the classroom.
  • Abides by the school values 

Subject Merits

Each subject has its own subject merit.  Each time the subject merit is pressed the students will be rewarded with 2 merits. The reason a student would achieve a merit within a specific lesson will be because they have adhered to the majority of the above criteria.

Where a student has exceeded expectations within the classroom subject teachers will make contact home, this could be in the form of a message through class chart or a phone call. 

Subject Certificates

In addition to the allocation of subject merits by tutors, departments will send home subject certificates each term.  Subject certificates recognise individual success and achievements within certain areas, these should be celebrated.

Certificates can be sent home in 2 ways, they may be received by post or via Classcharts.  Certificates received by Classcharts are in PDF format and can therefore be saved and printed.

Progressing Behaviour Merits

Progressing behaviour merits are merits that hold a value of 1 each time the merit button is pressed.  

Progressing behaviour merits are used for students who struggle to meet the set expectations of the classroom and can often be removed. 

Students falling under this bracket and who have been removed from a specific subject lesson, will be eased back into the learning environment and have a modified expectation for 2 lessons.  Once the student has successfully completed this phase they will be expected to uphold the tier 1 criteria, where they will be able to resume earning 2 merits within subject lessons. 

Expectations within this section will be to:-

  • Attended and remain in the lesson 
  • Contribute to the lesson without shouting out or interrupting others.
  • Not get a reminder or warning during their time in the lesson.
  • Complete and attempted the homework set from the previous lesson.
  • Have most of the right equipment with them.
  • Be in the correct uniform.
  • Display the school’s values.

Form Tutor Merits

Form tutor merits are rewarded more from a pastoral perspective and allow the tutor to praise students on presentation and organisation, it also enables the tutor to nominate them for HOY awards based on their weekly/half termly achievements.  At the end of each term form tutors are responsible for giving their form group access to the whole school reward events.

Values and Journey Merits

Values and Journey merits can be awarded by any member of staff at any point during the day.  Values merits are designed to be awarded during moments we may not expect and that display a students best self.  The values are formed together with both school and British values. 

How are merits issued?

Staff can record merits on ClassCharts and specify what the merit is for. We encourage staff to use the merits system in their lessons to reinforce positive attitudes and behaviours related to their learning.

What happens to the merits afterwards?

Parents/guardians will be able to see when students receive merits and what these have been awarded for by using the ClassCharts app. There will also be notifications sent through ClassChart when your child crosses a certain threshold of merits.

Formal recognition of merits

NameMerits Threshold
Special Commendation2000

Students will receive each of these awards when they reach a certain threshold and an accompanying letter will be sent home to parents to celebrate their achievements.. Special commendation awards will be published in News of the week and in the school newsletter.

How can merits be used?


Within KS3 students will work to gain merits in order to meet recognition thresholds  but can also use merits within the schools rewards store.

Students will be set challenges throughout the year and will need a minimum of 100 merits to access the end of year trip to a theme park.


Within KS4 students will work hard to maintain merits.  Students in this year group have the privilege of a prom (YR11) and trip to Alton Towers (YR10). Students are rewarded with the option to access these rewards but throughout the year must maintain the minimum number of merits in order to do so.

Students need to think carefully and remember that negative behaviour points deduct from the overall total.

Students are able to spend their merits within the rewards store but again need to think carefully about ensuring their balance of 500 merits is maintained by the end of the year.


Within KS5 students are rewarded for reaching a range of merit thresholds:-

  • 50 Sixth Form Merits = Well done message to student and parents.
  • 100 Sixth Form Merits = Very well done message to students and parents.
  • 150 Sixth Form Merits = Great Work message to students and parents plus £2.50 Courtyard Cafe credit.
  • 400 Sixth Form Merits = Superb message to student and parents and £5 Grub voucher.

KS5 students can also access the rewards store and have the opportunity to face a range of new reward opportunities throughout the year.

End of term Whole School Rewards

It’s important that we celebrate students’ achievements and praise them throughout the year for upholding the school values, therefore there will be a ‘whole school’ reward at the end of each term. Attendance at these events is at the discretion of the Headteacher, SLT  and Head of Year. 

Form Tutors will issue the access passes using classcharts . Dialogue with parents will be established early if a student is at risk of not being able to attend for whatever reason. This includes consistently poor behaviour in lessons and around school.

Poor behaviour criteria is listed below:-

  • Verbal/Physical Abuse to Staff and Pupils
  • Criminal Damage
  • Preventing the Learning of Others
  • Putting Others at Risk
  • Refusal to Attend School
  • Persistent Defiance and Refusal to Follow Instructions.