SMILING Keaton McGarry was rewarded for beating the bell as a school handed out its first reward for youngsters being on time.
Lynnfield Primary School in Hartlepool launched a new campaign to target lateness that saw them sending out 8am text alarms to parents and offering a 10 Morrisons voucher in a prize draw as an incentive to those getting to the classroom on time.
The scheme has received nationwide coverage since it was first revealed by the Mail this week and despite only being a week old, headteacher Marian Fairley, said she has already seen significant improvements.
She said during a four-day period in the build up to Christmas, 76 children missed the bell and were recorded late.
But from Monday to Thursday last week, that figure was down to 36.
The punctual pupils who arrived on time every day last week were entered into a prize draw for the vouchers, which took place yesterday in assembly.
And Keaton, 11, was the first to be rewarded as part of the new scheme.
Keaton, who lives near to the school in Grosvenor Street, said: "I am always on time for school and I was very happy when my name was called out in assembly to win the vouchers.
"I hope to be in with a chance quite a lot because I am never late for school.
"I will probably spend some of the vouchers on myself and then give the rest to my mum for her to spend."
Mrs Fairley said: "Our new policy already seems to have had an effect.
"At their age, it isn't the children's responsibility to get themselves up on a morning, but we had to get the message across to the parents on how important it is that their children are on time for school.
"The staff brainstormed ideas after the Christmas holidays and we decided we should offer an incentive to the children and the parents, because it is the parents who we are trying to get through to.
"If we offered a box of sweets every week, it most probably wouldn't work, but hopefully this will carry on and have a big impact.
"I didn't think it would have had an effect as quick as it has done, I expected to see a gradual improvement.
"But hopefully the figures will continue to tumble."