Rules, Sanctions and Rewards in Secondary Schools

F. Merrett, J. Wilkins, S. Houghton, K. Wheldall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)


All 24 secondary schools in a West Midlands local education authority were visited and a structured interview was conducted with the head or another senior teacher. An interview schedule was used to record details concerning the rule structure which had been established to control the conduct of the pupils. Information was also gathered about the sanctions and rewards used to maintain this behaviour and from most schools copies of the rules were available. It was found that almost all schools had rule systems that were in written form and that these were made available to staff and students, chiefly through booklets or other material given to pupils when they first enrolled. All schools backed up their rules, whether written or not by a series of sanctions, most of which related to non-conforming behaviour. Some sanctions were applied to poor work but this was usually treated by special provision or special tutoring. Most also used rewards but these tended to be reserved for good performance. There were few cases where good behaviour was found to be rewarded systematically in any way.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)139-149
Number of pages11
JournalEducational Studies
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1988
Externally publishedYes


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