Golden Time Troubles and Chris Mayoh on Edtech for the early years – PP59

Paul Dix
Paul Dix
Kevin Mulryne
Kevin Mulryne

Golden Time

After experiencing Golden Time for many years in Primary classrooms, Paul has come to the decision that he really doesn’t like it. He thinks it ends up being connected with the practice of putting names on the board for negative reasons – the ‘naughty names on the board’. He has talked before about how to flip this into a recognition board, trying to highlight the children who are doing the right thing. Ticks are added to the naughty names and these translate to 5 minutes off Golden Time.

What is Golden Time?

This is usually a 15 minute time slot on a Friday afternoon where there is a special activity or a free-choice of activities. Only the children who have managed to maintain some or all of their Golden Time throughout the week are allowed to take part. There are children who behave well and get their Golden Time every week. Similarly there are children who will never get Golden Time. It is possible that all Golden Time is lost on a Monday morning through a bout of bad behaviour.

Any ‘tension you had on the rope’ you had with that child is gone by 10:30am on Monday morning.

This is likely to affect their behaviour for the rest of the week negatively. Two labelled groups are also set up – those who have and those who don’t have Golden Time – and you end up taking things away from children during the week. Most people like to earn things and react negatively to things being taken away. Taking away Golden Time will immediately provoke argument and confrontations in some children.

Is it time to abandon Golden Time?

The strategy is driving a wedge between those who receive it and those who don’t. Even if you adjust it to enable children to gain their time back,  which seems sensible, children are encouraged to try to ‘game’ the system. Behaviour becomes less about self-discipline and more about how to play the game to ensure you have Golden Time left at the end of the week.

Paul points out that 15 minutes of Golden Time is also not much of an incentive for those who never get it and even the name suggests that those who don’t receive it are something other than ‘golden’ – are they ‘bronze’ or ‘brass’ – second best or not as good as the others. This ‘divide and rule’ approach is never productive. Paul has even seen a school in which the children who don’t receive Golden Time are made to sit at the side and watch those who have been successful. This is negative, humiliating and nasty.

What do you think?

Do you use Golden Time? Is it successful? Have you abandoned it? Have you managed to change it into something more productive? Let us know via Twitter – @PivotalPaul @PivotalPodcast or via email –

Chris Mayoh

We were delighted that our Educational Technology Correspondent, Chris Mayoh, was able to join us to talk about Early Years and Foundation Stage Edtech.

Firstly, Chris tells us…

Read the rest of the show notes on the Pivotal Education site.

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