Positive Behaviour for Learning

All schools have to make their Behaviour Policy publicly available. Our policy is a lengthy and complex document that reflects the fact that every student at Maplewell has a unique set of needs as a result of their statemented difficulties and disabilities and that every student requires a unique combination of approaches to help them to achieve to their full potential.

This guide summarises the key principles detailed in the school’s Positive Behaviour for Learning Policy.

Positive Behaviour for Learning

Many schools will refer to Behaviour Management in their Behaviour Policies. For us, Behaviour Management places too great an emphasis on what the school does to manage student behaviour. At Maplewell we use the term Positive Behaviour for Learning to reflect our emphasis on promoting behavioural habits that help students to manage their own behaviour. Positive Behaviour for Learning habits enable students to engage in learning, make good academic progress and sustain good relationships with both adults and peers. Establishing Positive Behaviour for Learning habits helps students make smoother transitions into college, employment and adult life.

Key Staff: Tutor Team

For the majority of students, the Tutor Team, consisting of the class LSA led by the Tutor, are the staff who will take the lead role in developing appropriate plans and strategies to establish Positive Behaviour for Learning habits.

For most parents and carers, the tutor or the class LSA will be the main contact point. Parents and Carers can expect to have regular contact with the Tutor Team to discuss all areas of their child’s progress and attainment, including Positive Behaviour for Learning.

Key Staff: Behaviour Team

For some students additional support will be required to help them establish more appropriate Positive Behaviour for Learning habits. In such cases, parents and carers can expect to have more contact with a member of the behaviour team. Georgina Smith, the Behaviour Manager, or Martine Mears, the Behaviour and Attendance Officer, will coordinate more robust or intensive interventions for those students who require additional support.

Key Staff: Assistant Head

Where students’ negative behaviour impacts significantly upon the learning of others and upon the good running of the school, parents and carers can expect to have contact with an Assistant Head. For students in Years 7, 8, 9 and 10 the Assistant Head is Mrs Ison. For Years 11, 12, 13 and 14, the Assistant Head is Mr Cooper.

Mr Cooper or Mrs Ison may contact parents and carers to discuss specific, more serious, incidents or to discuss persistent lower level incidents.

Key Staff: Deputy Head Teacher and Head Teacher

For students whose behaviour presents the school with serious Health and Safety concerns, parents and carers can expect to have contact with the Deputy Head Teacher or the Head Teacher. In most cases this will lead to a face to face meeting to discuss the situation and to identify appropriate strategies.

Learning Points

To help us to monitor and assess students’ attitudes to learning, we operate a learning points system in all our timetabled lessons. Students are awarded a learning point at regular intervals during a lesson. Each point recognises that students are displaying Positive Behaviour for Learning habits. At the end of a lesson, the expectation is that all students will have received 3 points. Below this is unsatisfactory and may lead to consequences. Above this is excellent and leads to rewards. A maximum of 5 points may be awarded. A 5 is considered outstanding and leads to whole-school recognition at an awards’ assembly.

To support the learning points, some teachers may use plastic blue tokens to visually reinforce student engagement.

Green Tokens

One of the rewards for earning 4 or 5 learning points during a lesson would be the awarding of 1 or 2 green tokens. Green tokens can be saved by students to spend on a variety of rewards. Rewards are administered by House Leaders and advertised in a House Reward Catalogue. This Token Economy introduces life skills associated with budgeting, saving and delaying gratification. It also helps to ensure that students are able to have a voice in choosing rewards that motivate them.

Green tokens may also be awarded outside of formal lessons by any member of staff to recognise Positive Behaviour for Learning.

Restorative Justice

Restorative Justice is an international movement that promotes reconciliation and mediation. Staff are trained to engage students in conversations that seek to resolve conflict and reengage students in learning. Staff are trained to lead mediation meetings between students, their peers and staff. Restorative Justice uses 5 simple questions to promote discussion that leads to re-establishing positive relationships between the student and the school community. These questions are:

  • “What happened?”
  • “What were you thinking about at the time?”
  • “What have you thought about since the incident?”
  • “Who do you think has been affected by your actions?”
  • “How have they been affected?”

No Shouting

To promote positive relationships between students and the school, we have adopted a No Shouting policy. We believe that positive relations are better maintained if we communicate quietly and calmly with students. This form of communication is also a better model for students to copy in the adult world.

There is an important difference between shouting and a raised voice. Shouting implies the use of a loud voice to assert power and control over someone. Shouting is intimidating and is not in keeping with the school’s ethos. A raised voice may be legitimately used by staff to communicate over a distance, to attract attention over background noise or to alert people to danger.

Staff receive specific and regular training in communication and are expected to use these communication strategies to resolve conflict and promote Positive Behaviour for Learning.

Student Voice

We believe that students should have a say in their education and this includes having a say in how we deal with negative behaviour and how we reward positive behaviour.

We have a student council. Student councillors are elected annually and meet regularly. At council meetings students’ behaviour and safety is one of the issues they will discuss.

We also have two student governors who attend and contribute to governors’ meetings.

Negative Behaviour: Inappropriate, Disruptive and Challenging

Any behaviour that does not promote learning is deemed to be negative. At Maplewell we have 3 categories of negative behaviour to reflect 3 levels of seriousness.

Inappropriate behaviour is low level negative behaviour that does not interrupt learning, but is out of place and if displayed in the community, at college or in the workplace would draw unwanted attention.

Disruptive behaviour is any negative behaviour that prevents or slows learning either in the classroom, the wider learning environment or in social times.

Challenging behaviour is any behaviour that causes or risks causing harm to themselves or others, or damage to property. Students whose behaviour is challenging will require significant support from a wide range of people both in and out of school to reduce the risks associated with their behaviour.

Consequences: Interventions, Monitoring and Sanctions

At Maplewell, all negative behaviour results in a consequence. Consequences are not restricted however to punitive sanctions.

Interventions are consequences that teach more positive behaviours, put in place appropriate reward systems and rebuild relationships. An intervention could be an informal conversation with a member of staff or a formal, timetabled programme of planned intervention delivered by trained intervention staff. A personalised timetable or a change of tutor group are other examples of positive interventions to support student’s behaviour.

Monitoring is another possible response to help support student’s behaviour. Students may be placed on a report with a key member of staff, a mentor may be identified or a home school book may be used to help monitor a student’s engagement and attitude.

Interventions and Monitoring are the strategies most likely to have a positive impact on students’ behaviour. However, sanctions also play an important role in maintaining a safe, secure and controlled environment within which all students can thrive.

Approved sanctions include:

  • Contacting parents either by letter, phone, email or in person;
  • Break or Lunchtime detentions during which students may be required to carry out restorative tasks during a detention, like mending some damage, cleaning up some graffiti or writing a letter of apology. Pupils may also be required to complete missed work;
  • After school detentions. These are run each night from Monday to Thursday, 15:30 – 16:00. They are staffed by teachers on a rota basis and supported by the duty member of the leadership team. Parents will usually be given 24 hours notice, although with parental consent, some after school detentions may take place on the same day. Support with transport may be available, although in the first instance parents will be asked to collect their child. All schools have the power to impose after school detentions and parents do not have the right to refuse to allow their child to attend. Where there is dispute between the school and parents over the setting of an after school detention, we will endeavour to resolve the situation amicably and may negotiate on the date and time of an after school detention;
  • Loss of tangibles. Tangibles may take the form of reward time, access to reward activities, participation in extra-curricular or club activities. A loss of tangibles may also include a token economy fine; and
  • Internal Reflection. Students will be supervised at all times during the day and engage in learning separately from their peers. Students will have a break in the morning and a break for lunch, but these will be staffed and separate from their peers. Some of the work set may be restorative and specifically targeted at the negative behaviour;

Use of Force

Schools are not allowed to have a no contact policy, and in their day to day duties there are numerous reasons why a member of staff may legitimately touch a student: first aid, help with dressing, or guiding movement in a physical activity for example. In some instances touching a child may be needed to keep them safe or to take control of their behaviour.

All school staff have a duty of care to ensure your child is safe. On occasions, to carry out their duty of care, staff may have to use physical force to protect your child, other students, or property from harm or damage. Staff have a legal right to use force only if it is reasonable, necessary and proportionate. Staff do not resort to physical force lightly, but all staff are aware of their right to use force and are trained to reduce the risk of injury. However, in some situations physical force may result in minor injury and this is not necessarily an indication of wrong-doing on behalf of staff.

All incidents involving the use of force are recorded and a thorough review of the incident is conducted by the Behaviour Manager (Georgina Smith) and the Assistant Head with Responsibility for Behaviour (Rob Cooper). Evidence of wrong-doing by any member of staff will be reported to the Headteacher.

Beyond the School Gates

Where behaviour outside the school gates has a negative impact on the good running of the school, the school will expect parents and carers to take responsibility for addressing this behaviour. Teachers do however have the power to discipline pupils for negative behaviour outside of the school premises, “to such an extent as is reasonable”.

Teachers may discipline pupils for negative behaviour when the pupil is:

  • Taking part in any school-organised or school-related activity; or
  • Travelling to or from school; or
  • Wearing school uniform; or
  • In some other way identifiable as a pupil at the school.

Teachers may also discipline pupils for negative behaviour at any time, whether or not the conditions above apply, providing that the behaviour:

  • Could have repercussions for the orderly running of the school; or
  • Poses a threat to another pupil or member of the public; or
  • Could adversely affect the reputation of the school.

Negative behaviour outside the school gates includes insulting, bullying, threatening or sexually explicit messages via telephone, mobile, SMS text message, e-mail, instant messaging or any other forms of social media.

In all cases of negative behaviour the teacher can only discipline the pupil on school premises or elsewhere when the pupil is under the lawful control of the staff member.

If deemed appropriate for the school rather than parents or carers to deal with negative behaviour outside the school gates negative behaviour will be dealt with in exactly the same way as inappropriate behaviour that occurs in school.

Conducting Searches

Government guidance makes it clear that schools have the legal power to search pupils if they believe that a pupil has prohibited items with them. The school does not need the pupil’s consent to conduct such a search. The search can include a search of pupils’ clothing and pockets, bags or any other personal item where an item may be concealed. When pupils are in residence a search may also include a search of the pupils’ bedroom, including bed, bedding, lockers and wardrobes.

Prohibited items might include:

  • knives or weapons;
  • alcohol;
  • illegal drugs;
  • stolen items;
  • tobacco and cigarette papers;
  • fireworks;
  • pornographic images;
  • any article that the member of staff reasonably suspects has been, or is likely to be, used to commit an offence; or
  • Any item that could cause personal injury to, or damage to the property of, any person including the pupil).

Headteachers and staff authorized by the headteacher can also search for any item banned by the school rules which has been identified in the rules as an item which may be searched for.

Records of searches are kept in school, and parents and carers will be notified when a search has been carried out. Where items are confiscated, school staff will liaise with home to arrange for return of the items where appropriate.

Staff Training

Staff receive regular training on the law and guidance relating to behaviour management, communication strategies, reporting and recording, responding to escalating behaviour, and the use of force.

Please click on this link to download the Full Positive Behaviour Policy