All schools have a Behaviour Policy. Some schools have an Anti-Bullying Policy and may have a Restorative Approaches Policy. One of the biggest challenges, regardless of policy, is how to bring it to life within the school community.
The school’s policy on behaviour is one the most important documents a school produces for the school community. However, we often hear that the policy document sits in a drawer for a year gathering dust rather than becoming a living policy, embedded in the daily values and behaviours supporting both pupils, school staff and the wider school community.
What is the School Behaviour Policy? The Behaviour Policy is the agreed way in which the school will respond to disruptive behaviour, bullying, conflict, and dangerous behaviour, deemed unacceptable by the school community. The agreed approach can include, rewards and sanctions, restorative approaches, restraint, exclusion, and therapeutic interventions.
Challenge number 1: The Author(s) - Who is writing the Behaviour Policy?
An individual may be asked to draft a Behaviour Policy, this could be the head teacher or the behaviour leader in the school. Alternatively, some Schools involve the entire Senior Leadership Team (SLT) in writing the school policy. If an individual is writing the Behaviour Policy this may be time-saving but it reduces the consensus of other members of staff and the opportunity for them to ‘buy-in’ up front. If the SLT policy route is taken it will be more time intensive however it allows further discussion in terms of the School values; what the Behaviour Policy is trying to achieve, and importantly, what the response should be when the school’s values are tested by poor or disruptive behaviour.
Challenge number 2: The Audience - who is the Behaviour Policy for?
Unfortunately some behaviour policies work so hard at pleasing multiple audiences; they can end up pleasing no one. Consider who is the Behaviour Policy for? Is it OFSTED, Staff, Pupils, or Parents? By attempting to commit one document to cover the breadth of needs of each of these audiences, we can end up with confusion. Inadvertently placing emphasis on one group at the expense of another, can result in a muddled and incomplete Policy . The easiest way to answer this question is to ask who has the responsibility for bringing this document life on a daily basis.
Challenge number 3: The Purpose - Linking the Behaviour Policy to operational practice.
The importance of the Behaviour Policy is to stop individual staff responses to behaviour. This may seem obvious but if the Behaviour Policy lives in a drawer, staff will use their own skills and instincts when faced with a situation. This can lead to an inconsistent response to behaviour. The Behaviour Policy needs to link their outcome objective with clear operational practices i.e. the standard response that all staff are expected to give.
Clarity of process is particularly helpful here. Avoid wherever possible vague statements such as ‘help children to behave well’. It is more useful to present a typical scenario that may occur in school. Describe in the policy what staff actions are appropriate to take and what referral pathways are available should the situation escalate.
ConflictHub provides a clear process for staff to bring the Behaviour Policy to life in a consistent and sustainable way. It equips staff with the confidence and tools to follow specific actions to address any conflict, bullying and disruptive behaviour.
Bringing the Behaviour Policy to life is essential in the School, disruptive behaviour tests the values and processes that a school has in place. It undermines the ethos of the School and can have a detrimental effect on daily life. Schools need to be clear who writes the Policy, who it is aimed at and what is needed for effective operational delivery. Addressing the above challenges will help make the Behaviour Policy a living document