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Parents promise to pay teens £150 each for good exam results

Posted in: Corporate

  • Nearly eight in ten (77%) of parents admit to rewarding good grades
  • Average amount paid out per child for good exam results is £150
  • Cost has potential to skyrocket for parents paying per top mark with each Grade 9 (formerly A*) result being worth £100 on average
  • Video games (27%), tech – such as a mobile or laptop (26%), holidays (24%) and driving lessons (18%) among the top non-monetary incentives

Millions of parents are encouraging their teens to do well in school exams by incentivising good results with cash or gifts, pledging £150 per child – the equivalent of £150m1 across the UK.

This is according to new research by financial services provider, OneFamily, which also found that the going rate could end up being even more for parents paying per grade. For this group, each of the very top GCSE results achieved by their child is worth £100 on average to them, while the going rate for an A* at A level is £170.

Table 1: Average sum of money on offer from parents per grade achieved at GCSE

GCSE Grade Average amount parents will pay per each grade achieved
Grade 9 (formerly A*) £100
Grade 8 (formerly A) £80
Grade 7 (formerly B) £65
Grade 6 (formerly C) £50
Grade 5 (formerly D) £39

Along with the one in four (23%) parents who have promised a lump sum of cash in exchange for good grades and the one in twenty (4%) paying per individual grade, a further one in five (20%) have promised gifts if their child achieves good results. For those offering incentives, aside from money, the most popular options include video games (27%); a piece of tech, such as a mobile or laptop (26%); holidays (24%) and driving lessons (18%).

One of the main reasons parents are choosing to incentivise their teens’ studies is to teach them about the relationship between hard work and money. In fact, 29 per cent believe that promising a reward is a good way to provide a more ‘real world’ goal for youngsters, while 24 per cent cite it as an opportunity to develop money management skills.

However, for many parents, it’s not just about ensuring their teens get top marks. Nine in 10 say they’d rather see their kids take their studies seriously and work hard, than simply get good results.

In line with this, a quarter of parents (25%) entice their kids to revise or complete homework including giving them pocket money (57%) or playing on the PlayStation (39%). On average, parents start incentivising their children to do their schoolwork when they turn 10 years old.

Yet it is not just parents who strike a deal with their children, it also works the other way round. One in 14 (7%) say their teen has bartered with them when it comes to agreeing a reward to study. At the same time, 9 per cent have also felt obliged to reward their teens with cash because other parents are doing this.

Nici Audhlam-Gardiner, Managing Director of Children’s Savings at OneFamily, said:

“Many teens are likely to have been revising in the run up to exams of their own accord. But whether it’s to reinforce the link between the value of hard work and money, or just to act as a bit of extra motivation, giving cash to your children for good results can have its own benefits too.

“Rewarding good grades can also be a valuable opportunity to impart lessons about money and talking to teenagers about whether they will look to set some of the sum aside can lead to a lesson in budgeting and get them thinking about the value of what they are planning to buy.”