Creating a behaviour policy that staff have confidence in

Schools face additional challenges with their behaviour policies after the Covid lockdowns because learning gaps, more mental health issues and time out of school has impacted on many pupils.

Supporting positive behaviour and supporting social and emotional skills is a challenging part of professional practice. Staff need time to talk about the behaviour policy; collaborate with colleagues; and refer students with specific needs for extra help.

There may be more young people at risk of exclusion and children and young people with challenging behaviour need more support than normal. The pressure to catch up can create unrealistic expectations for students. Reviewing individual education plans for students at risk of exclusion or disaffection is vital and SENCOs will need more time and support from senior leadership teams (SLT).

Review your policy

The SLT should check whether staff feel confident about the behaviour policy and how to draw down extra support for students. Can staff ask for help, share ideas and admit difficulties with a particular year group?

Consistency and coherence around behaviour are the key to having a successful whole school behaviour policy which works for the entire school community.

The Education Endowment Foundation has analysed the available research on learning behaviours and makes 6 recommendations for improving behaviour in schools. These are:

  • Know and understand your pupils and their influences
  • Teach learning behaviours alongside managing misbehaviour
  • Use classroom management strategies to support good classroom behaviour
  • Use simple approaches as part of your regular routine
  • Use targeted approaches to meet the needs of individual students in your school
  • Consistency is key

Click here for a poster from the Education Endowment Foundation with these 6 ideas and some more detail on each one.

We think the behaviour policy needs to be reviewed because of Covid. Discuss:

  • Are all staff trained, including support staff/SMSAs and all who interact with children?

  • Is there a sense of shared responsibility among staff and students linked to the school’s values?

  • Are those in the wider school community –beyond SLT and teachers- clear about the policy and their role?

  • Are staff facing more challenging behaviours because of the learning gaps and disruption to learning? When can this be discussed and strategies on wellbeing and motivation be shaped?

  • Is it clear how staff can access support for individual pupils? Do staff feel backed up?