“Good behaviour is a necessary condition for effective teaching to take place” (Education observed 5 – DES 1987)
As a school, we accept this principle and seek to create an environment that encourages and reinforces good behaviour. Furthermore, it is acknowledged that society expects good behaviour as an important outcome of the educational process.
• To create an environment that encourages and reinforces good behaviour • To define acceptable standards of behaviour • To encourage consistency of response to both positive and negative behaviour • To promote self-esteem, self-discipline and positive relationships • To ensure that the school’s expectations and strategies are widely known and understood • To encourage the involvement of both home and school in the implementation of this policy
Standards of behaviour
In seeking to define acceptable standards of behaviour it is acknowledged that these are goals to be worked towards rather than expectations that are fully fulfilled. The school then, has a central role in the children’s social and moral development just as it does in their academic development. Just as we measure academic achievement in terms of progress and development over time towards academic goals, we also measure standards of behaviour in terms of children’s developing ability to conform to our behavioural goals.
The children bring to school a wide variety of behaviour patterns based on differences in home values, attitudes and parenting skills. At school we must work towards standards of behaviour based on the basic principles of honesty, respect, consideration and responsibility. It follows that acceptable standards of behaviour are those which reflect these principles.
The adults encountered by the children at school have an important responsibility to model high standards of behaviour, both in their dealings with the children and with each other, as their example has an important influence on the children. As adults we should aim to:
• Create a positive climate with realistic expectations • Emphasise the importance of being valued as an individual within the group • Promote, by example, honesty and courtesy • Provide a caring and effective learning environment • Encourage relationships based on kindness, respect and understanding of the needs of others • Ensure fair treatment for all regardless of age, gender, race, ability and disability • Show appreciation for the efforts and contributions of everyone
The curriculum and learning
Classroom management and teaching methods have an important influence on children’s behaviour. The classroom environment gives clear messages to the children about the extent to which they and their efforts are valued. Relationships between teacher and children, strategies for encouraging good behaviour, arrangements of furniture, access to resources and classroom displays all have a bearing on the way children behave.
Classrooms should be organised to develop independence and personal initiative. Furniture should be arranged to provide an environment conducive to on-task behaviour. Materials and resources should be arranged to aid accessibility and reduce uncertainty and disruption. Displays should develop self-esteem through demonstrating the value of every individual’s contribution and, overall, the classroom should provide a welcoming environment.
Teaching methods should encourage enthusiasm and active participation for all. Lessons should aim to develop the skills, knowledge and understanding, which will enable the children to work and play in co-operation with others. Praise should be used to encourage good behaviour as well as good work and emphasise expectations of appropriate classroom behaviour.
Rules and procedures
Rules and procedures should be designed to make clear to the children how they can achieve acceptable standards of behaviour. Rules and procedures should:
• Be kept to a necessary minimum
• Be positively stated, telling the children what to do rather than what not to do
• Actively encourage everyone involved to take part in their development
• Have a clear rationale, made explicit to all
• Be consistently applied and enforced
• Promote the idea that every member of the school has responsibilities towards the whole
Our emphasis is on rewards to reinforce good behaviour, rather than on failures. We believe that rewards have a motivational role, helping children to see that good behaviour is valued. The commonest reward is praise, informal and formal, both to individuals and groups. It is earned by the maintenance of good standards as well as by particularly noteworthy achievements. This is as true for adults as for children. Rates of praise for behaviour should be as high as for work. Recognition of the following rewards are presented publicly during Friday’s celebratory assembly:
– Student of the week
– Behaviour medals
– 100 house point badges
– 1000 house point badges
– end of term, whole school reward for no exclusions
As a school we have a policy of zero tolerance towards behaviour that is emotionally, physically, racially, sexually, homophobic, verbally or disability prejudicial and we will not tolerate any behaviour that disrupts the learning of others. Children are required to do what they are told, when they are told, by any adult responsible for their care and we do not tolerate argument. Although rewards are central to the encouragement of good behaviour, there is also a need for sanctions to register the disapproval of unacceptable behaviour and to protect the security and stability of the school community. We make no apology for applying sanctions as a form of punishment when this is needed although we will always strive to apply sanctions fairly, consistently and in discussion with the child concerned. If the problem is sufficiently serious we will involve the parents of that child in those discussions at our discretion. The use of punishment is characterised by certain features:
• It must be clear why the sanction is being applied
• It must be made clear what changes in behaviour are required to avoid further sanctions
• Group punishment should be avoided as this causes resentment
• There should be a clear distinction between minor and major offences
• We should punish the offence rather than victimise the offender
Sanctions that teachers can impose without reference to the Head or deputy include expressions of disapproval, withdrawal of privileges and Golden Time, break or lunch time detention and removal to another class for a set period of time using a red card. If behaviour becomes a more serious problem (physical violence, swearing, refusing to work, stealing, telling lies) then the child concerned should be put on report with a behaviour plan agreed between the teacher and parent, to be reviewed at the end of a week. If behaviour remains unsatisfactory then the period is to be extended for another two weeks. If the behaviour has not been modified, then the child should be referred to Senior Staff and advised that the next step could be an after school detention. Before school or after school detentions are to be given for persistent lateness. More serious offences should be referred to the Head or deputy only when the teacher believes that the offence is so serious that such intervention could result in parents being asked to come into school or because the child is in danger of exclusion. If the behaviour is of a bullying nature, it must be reported to the Head or deputy. Only the Head or the deputy will impose exclusion and will discuss the proposed exclusion with each other before arriving at a decision to exclude. Exclusion will usually, but not always be a sanction of last resort as a very serious offence could result in immediate exclusion without prior warning.
Where ever it is deemed necessary, the school will seek the help and advice of the outside agencies especially where there are persistent problems that do not seem to be resolved by school based sanctions. Actions such as this will be discussed by senior staff within the school and involve parents where ever possible.
The partnership with parents
We give high priority to clear communication within the school and to a positive partnership with parents since these are crucial in promoting and maintaining high standards of behaviour. The school though, will always make the final decision over which sanctions they will apply in any given situation.
Where the behaviour of a child is giving serious cause for concern, it is important that all those working with the child in school are aware of those concerns and of the steps that are being taken in response. The key professional in this case is the child’s class teacher who has the initial responsibility for the child’s welfare. Early warning of concerns should be communicated to the appropriate senior staff member so that suitable strategies can be discussed and agreed before more formal steps are required.
A positive partnership with parents is desirable to building trust and developing a common approach to behaviour expectations and strategies for dealing with problems. Positive parental participation in many aspects of school life is encouraged as this participation can assist the development of good relationships where parents are more likely to be responsive to the school requirements for support. Sometimes parents will advise children to adopt strategies that the school does not and will not accept and under these circumstances, the school will make it very clear to parents that these strategies are not acceptable at school.
The school will communicate policy and expectations to parents. Where behaviour is causing sufficient concern, parents will be informed at an early stage and given an opportunity to discuss the situation. Parental support will be sought in devising a plan of action within this policy and further disciplinary action will be discussed with the parents.