Free meal pupils enticed with Aldi voucher to encourage them not to skip school in Milton Keynes
A £20 Aldi voucher is being offered for good attendance to children from disadvantaged families.
Stantonbury International School is launching an incentive scheme to improve the attendance of students who come under Pupil Premium and qualify for free school meals,
Headteacher Alison Ramsay this week wrote to parents saying the school has identified an "attendance gap" between Pupil Premium children and those from better off families.
Her letter said Department of Education data shows only 3% of pupils with absences of more than 50% achieve five or more GCSEs A* to C grades, including English and Maths.The same figures show 73 per cent of students with at least 95% attendance achieve five or more of these coveted grades.
The letter stated: "We have been monitoring the attendance of our children closely and have started to identify a trend in the attendance gap between our Pupil Premium children compared to those who do not meet the criteria for Pupil Premium."
It adds: "For the remainder of this half term we will be running a prize draw that is only open to our Pupil Premium children.
"Each week all children who have 100% attendance will be entered into the draw to win one of three Aldi vouchers for their family...Weekly winners will be informed by their tutor and receive their voucher the following week."
The letter concludes: "We would like to take this opportunity to thank you for your support in encouraging the children to have 100% attendance and to wish you good luck in the weekly draw."
Some parents have welcome the incentive scheme but other say they are offended.
"It's just discriminating against children who have free school meals," said one mum.
Schools get extra funding from the government to help them improve the attainment of their disadvantaged pupils. Primary schools receive £1,345 for every pupil who qualifies for free school meals, while secondary schools get £955.
Stantonbury International School, once the largest secondary school in Europe, is still being run by the Griffin Trust, but its funding is set to be withdrawn this summer because of its poor performance and Ofsted ratings.
The Tove Learning Trust, a multi academy trust that already runs Lord Grey School in West Bletchley, has been appointed as a candidate to take it over. A consultation is currently being held to gather parents' views.