The Management of Pupil Behaviour
Good order and effective discipline are essential conditions if pupils are to make the most of their time at the academy. Pupils should be given clear expectations, effective pastoral support and opportunities to build good social relationships. These aims should be supported by a system of rewards and appropriate sanctions.
Behaviour management at Harton is often ‘traditional’ as well as ‘modern’. Respect is sought, individuals are treated as such but misdeeds are addressed. Staff and pupils know the context in which they work and what is expected. Staff realise that children are what they are and that there will be many occasions of misjudgement and immaturity. As professionals and adults we are bound to deal with such instances in the correct manner, by taking concerns seriously but applying context and not over reacting.
Following the Byron report of 2007 and the publishing of ‘Safe use of new technologies’, we are even more aware of our responsibilities to monitor pupil ‘online behaviour’. We have taken heed of high profile national cases of technology contributing to a threat to children’s safety. Our response is to work towards Harton children receiving the very best of awareness training. In assemblies, tutorials and through the curriculum we regularly reinforce ‘e-safety’.
The purpose of these guidelines is to:
- outline the philosophy behind our approach to behaviour management
- suggest means whereby the incidence of misbehaviour may be pre-empted or reduced, and
- outline procedures and sanctions available to teachers when misbehaviour is encountered.
Much of what follows may seem to be strikingly obvious and many recommendations merely describe existing good practice. The guidelines are intended to provide a reasonably complete framework in order to secure the consistency of approach which is so important to our success.
There are rules to follow at Harton but it must be made clear that high standards of behaviour and good relationships do not result from rigid adherence to rules alone. Our rules are based on common sense, mutual tolerance and understanding. We must all recognise that standards of pupil behaviour and motivation are likely to be more heavily influenced by the following than they are by strictly enforced bureaucracy.
Our philosophy is :
‘The academy aims to provide a pleasant working environment which values each individual and where, through the establishment and maintenance of good relationships and tension-free discipline, students can reach their full potential’
The importance of ‘tension free discipline’ cannot be over emphasised. It has been the bedrock of Harton’s success for many years and is the hallmark of the successful teacher. It is more likely to be born from mutual respect than from draconian sanctions. Good relationships between pupils, between staff and between pupils and staff are essential if tension-free discipline is to be achieved, and may be nurtured by:
- giving and expecting to receive respect
- greeting and expecting to be greeted
- showing interest in pupils individually
- acknowledging achievement, in whatever form this takes
- providing a suitable and positive role model to which the adolescent can respond and aspire towards.
and, when dealing with misbehaviour:
- avoiding aggression, confrontations and hasty accusations
- dealing with the problem and not the person
- avoiding labelling and sarcasm
- allowing individuals to retain their self-esteem
- avoiding over reaction and over punishment. All punishments should be proportional to the ‘crime,’ contextual to the maturity of the child and administered with the benefit of a degree of hindsight.
The physical environment
Attractive, tidy classrooms, clean corridors and a well-maintained building generate a pride in our academy which is likely to carry over to the way in which pupils perceive and approach their work. It is therefore important that faults and breakages be reported promptly for repair. The teacher should maintain a well organised classroom. Interesting and stimulating wall displays, especially of the pupils’ own work, need to be maintained – and changed – before they become dowdy.
The organisational structure of the academy day
The timing of lessons, duration of the lunch-break, access to and the condition of toilets, arrangements for supervision etc. may influence, either directly or indirectly, the way in which pupils behave. The Academy must therefore continually review its organisation and plan change in the light of experience.
Pupils who wish to do well at the academy are less likely to misbehave than pupils who have little interest or motivation. Pupils are less likely to misbehave in those lessons where they are set tasks in which they can achieve some success. We should therefore take care to plan lessons and set tasks appropriate to the attainment level of the pupils we are teaching.
Tight lesson structure and careful preparation are calculated to keep pupils actively involved in tasks as well as gaining respect for the teacher – in tutorial as well as in subject time. “The devil makes work for idle hands!”
Factors such as the constraints imposed upon subject departments by the structure of the timetable, the way in which pupils are allocated to teaching groups and pupil-teacher ratio all have a bearing on pupil discipline. Such factors should be carefully considered when timetable parameters are established and when Subject Leaders devise their timetable submissions for the following academic year.
A sense of identity with the academy and a feeling of community may be nurtured by making available a range of extra-curricular activities e.g. sporting, social, recreational, provision of rooms for homework, revision or study etc. Such activities, made available at lunchtime or after school, may have a positive effect on pupil attitudes. Their absence may contribute towards misbehaviour, particularly at lunchtime.
The demeanour of teachers
Tension free discipline does not happen automatically: it arises out of the quality of the teacher/pupil relationship. All contact with pupils, whether formal or informal, contributes to standards of behaviour – the example set by teachers (whether it be good, bad or indifferent) will be taken as a definition of what is acceptable. Because the pupil’s model of what is acceptable or not acceptable in the academy is based almost entirely on the example that we set – written rules, sets of expectations and bureaucratic norms become virtually meaningless by comparison. Consequently, if staff are inconsistent in their actions, it becomes at best confusing and at worst positively harmful. Staff must act consistently and with the authority of the reasoned adult. Such matters are clearly outlined in the ‘Teachers Standards’ of 2012.
All staff, including support staff, should therefore:
- set high standards of speech, manner, dress and approach to their professional duties;
- regard themselves as being ‘on duty’ whenever they are in contact with children ;
- apply all rules consistently – everyone has a professional obligation to put Academy guidelines into practice, even if they do not agree with every detail;
- do and say nothing in front of pupils to undermine the authority of another member of the staff;
- deal with all misbehaviour — to ignore it is to condone it. It should be remembered that a teacher’s response to a situation will be noted by a pupil regardless of whether the teacher is “on duty” or not.
- Be aware that misbehaviour can manifest itself in many forms, and that we need to be increasingly aware of the ‘new’ technologies in this respect.
- Maintain a sense of humour and perspective.
The attitude of pupils towards the academy and what it has to offer is clearly strongly influenced by parents. Cultivating the support of parents is likely to result in a more positive attitude on the part of pupils.
The support of parents may be gained by:
- A clear demonstration that the Academy values their son/daughter as an individual
- Providing opportunities for discussion of pupils’ progress
- Providing meaningful and constructive reports
- Providing early warning of problems
- Providing opportunities to become involved in efforts to overcome behavioural problems
- Ensuring effective channels of communication
- Creating a welcoming atmosphere for parental visits to the academy.
- Providing parents with whatever up to date information we can. This is particularly relevant in the area of internet safety. Many parents are in the position of knowing less than their sons/daughters about computers, the internet, chat rooms and social media.
- Ensuring that parental contact is co-ordinated. The Head of Year is best placed to do so and so that person should be involved/informed of all communications.
- Rewarding achievement
An effective reward system
We consider that positive relationships are by far the most important features of our reward system, and central to what has made Harton such a successful academy.
Young people, like adults, respond better to praise than to criticism. It is particularly important that the efforts and good behaviour of the overwhelming majority of our pupils are rewarded systematically and regularly. All subject and tutorial teachers are enjoined to reward pupils in an appropriate manner.
The Harton ‘reward system’ has evolved greatly over recent years. Our endeavours to find and implement an effective system have taken us full circle. From a centrally controlled and rigid ‘merit’ system in which pupils were allocated rewards at set times and then received another reward for their efforts, we believe that we do now have a reward system that motivates, is practical to manage and actually reflects what young people want.
The pastoral team have conducted a series of wide ranging consultation exercises with pupils across the academy in an attempt to define what young people wanted as a reward for their efforts. We have discovered that youngsters are not motivated by material reward in the form of cash prizes, neither are the pupils motivated by the tally chart collection of rewards that encouraged them to compete with peers, then to receive a further award for milestones of collecting such as 50, 100, 200 etc.
Our findings tell us that the most sought after reward by pupils is to be congratulated by the teacher, told when they have done something well, and advised how to do it better. It is hardly ‘rocket science’ but such simple fayre can often overlooked by schools in their attempts to be innovative and different to others. This principle is now central to our reward system :
All teachers should mark pupil work regularly according to the academy Teaching and Learning policy. Supportive comments with advice on how to improve should be given, verbally and in the process of marking.
In addition :
- The academy has invested a great deal of money in marking accessories to make the business of feedback and reward through pupil work more interesting to them. Whether by colourful stickers, postcards or letters home, rewards are available to use on a daily and formative basis.
- At every round of formal assessment (roughly every 12 weeks) teaching staff have the opportunity of formally issuing rewards via departments in the form of postcards home.
- Pupils are encouraged to use their planner to record their successes.
- Each department is also encouraged to use rewards of their own, as and when they wish. Just as the pupils are individuals, so are the staff and we believe it unnecessary to shackle professional people as to how and when they can reward a pupil. The results can be seen across the academy in many forms.
In reward terms, the culmination of our year is the Award Evening. These are flagship events held towards the end of the Summer Term.
Procedures and sanctions for dealing with misbehaviour
Although the majority of our pupils conform and are co-operative, there will always be some who present problems.
Staff and support
The individual member of staff
Children need to be corrected when they misbehave. The responsibility of the individual teacher or indeed responsible adult, lies at the heart of Harton’s approach to behaviour management. Every adult who works in the academy is encouraged to speak to children about their behaviour as and when necessary, and manage the behaviour of the children in their care. All teaching staff are encouraged to use their own strategies before referring to anyone else and should attempt to bring the matter to a close.
Availability of Support
All of us encounter behavioural problems amongst pupils with whom we come into contact and there are occasions when all of us are unable to find an effective solution to these problems. It is vitally important that staff seek support in these circumstances, if only to talk about the problem and seek advice — a problem shared is a problem halved!
- If the misbehaviour is lesson-related the first port of call for support should be the Subject Leader. All departments should have procedures in place to deal with such behaviour referrals. A departmental plan to address the situation should be arranged. The Subject Leader should establish what the class teacher has already done and offer support.
- If the class teacher/Subject leader wish to seek further support it will be available from senior academic staff of the school who may wish to work with the Subject Leader to establish the causes of the classroom misbehaviour and put in place strategies to minimise it.
- Staff may also seek support from:
- Senior Staff and/or experienced colleagues— may provide opportunities to talk over a problem, to offer advice, to support action already taken, occasionally to take over or share the problem. In supporting teachers, Senior Staff are helped greatly if procedures have been followed and all relevant facts are given clearly and objectively.
- Pastoral staff i.e. the Form Tutor, the Assistant Head of Year and the Head of Year — who will have an overview of the child.
- Equal Opportunities staff — where it is felt that behavioural problems may stem from learning difficulties and/or resources and teaching methods inappropriate to the needs of pupils being taught.
- Educational Psychologist via the Head of Year— where it is felt that the pupil’s behaviour and/or educational performance would benefit from psychological assessment.
- Child Protection Staff via the Head of Year — where it is felt that the pupil’s behaviour and/or educational attainment may be influenced by some form of abuse. Such cases occur relatively rarely and should be handled with extreme caution, sensitivity, and confidentiality.
- All more serious behaviour issues should be referred to the Head of Year who may well involve other senior pastoral staff.
- Routine lesson related issues should not be referred directly to Heads of Year.
The On Call facility
This is a lesson emergency facility available to all teachers if they feel that a pupil needs to be removed from a lesson for a short period of time. On referral to ‘On Call’ the teacher will be expected to follow up the incident themselves – the referral is not the end of the matter. Parents are informed whenever a child is referred to On Call. Heads of Year/Ass HoY and senior staff will monitor the facility daily. On Call figures and names are sent to the SLT at the end of each week. All parties should know that every single referral to ‘On Call’ is followed up. Children should not be ‘sent’ to the On Call base. The On Call staff should be contacted by phone or by sending a note. They will go to the classroom to pick up the child.
The following matters should always be taken into account when considering a sanction :
(a) whether the imposition of the penalty constitutes a proportionate punishment in the circumstances of the case, and
(b) any special circumstances relevant to its imposition on the pupil which are known to the person imposing it (or of which he ought reasonably to be aware) including in particular age, any special educational needs and any disability.
Teachers have a power to issue detention to pupils (aged under 18). Harton Academy regards detention (including detention outside of school hours) as a legitimate sanction. See Appendix 1.
If the Head of Year/Ass HoY or any of the senior staff feel that a child should be removed from lessons for a slightly longer period of time, for example a full day, and would benefit from one-to-one monitoring during that time, he/she may choose to place the child on ‘withdrawal’.
Withdrawal means that the child will shadow the member of staff for that period of time. The withdrawal period and conditions should always be proportional to the ‘crime’. The person withdrawing will take sole responsibility for the child and will ensure that the child is removed from others and works alone under close supervision. The decision may be taken to remove break and lunch privileges and the child may be detained after school. These conditions of withdrawal are under the control of the person who does the withdrawing. Parents should always be informed by phone and their co-operation gained during that conversation. The reasons for withdrawal should be fully explained.
The decision to withdraw should not be taken lightly and the impact upon other teachers should be considered. If an exam subject is likely to be affected, the withdrawing teacher should consult with the class teacher to arrive at a compromise. It may well be that the child could be released from the withdrawal to take an exam or work closely with the class teacher.
We classify withdrawal as a serious matter. Along with referral to the LSC and cases of serious bullying, it is one of three misdemeanours that we enter routinely into the SIMS Behaviour Management system.
The Learning Support Centre
The LSC is intended to support the academy’s behaviour policy and to support pupils in their learning:
- As an alternative to external fixed-term exclusion, pupils may be placed in the LSC where they will continue their studies whilst having their behavioural issues addressed.
- Pupils with a long-term history of behavioural problems may be on occasion placed in the LSC as a preventive intervention measure, aimed at reducing the risk of being excluded at some later date.
- Where a pupil in an exam class is disrupting teaching and learning in a particular subject, he/she may be placed in the LSC where they can continue to study that subject in isolation. However, as for withdrawal, if an exam subject is likely to be affected, LSC and pastoral staff should consult with the class teacher to arrive at a compromise. It may well be that the student could be released from the LSC to take an exam or work closely with the class teacher in exam preparation. If necessary, the student should be escorted to and from the lesson by LSC staff.
- Where a student returns to the academy after a substantial period of absence, he/she may be placed in the LSC in order to support their reintegration into full-time school attendance.
- Students new to the school may be placed in the LSC for a period of induction.
All referrals to the LSC should be made by senior staff directly to the LSC Manager. The Executive Head Teacher may direct that a pupil attend the LSC. A placement in the LSC will always be recorded by an entry into the SIMS Behaviour Management System.
The use of ‘reasonable force’
There is always a degree of concern regarding the issue of ‘reasonable force’ and physical contact, about the rights and wrongs, risk assessments and potential outcomes of so doing. Having to resort to such concepts should always be a last resort, but may be unavoidable.
It is the case that staff who are given responsibility for looking after others may very rarely need to use physical contact in a variety of contexts to support, reassure, comfort and protect others from harm.
The academy will follow guidance issued by the Department for Education on the Use of Reasonable force and provide training for staff to understand and use the concepts in a safe manner.
The following staff responses to pupil misbehaviour are likely to result in the maintenance of good relationships and the achievement of tension-free discipline :
- Establish authority firmly but fairly
- Stay calm and remain in control, both of the situation and of yourself
- Use humour — it helps defuse the situation
- Listen and establish the facts — it earns respect
- Only make threats that can be carried out, and preferably, don’t make any threats at all
- Be consistent — pupils do respond to fair application of rules
- Be flexible, not rigid
- If you do wish to apply sanctions, seek the advice of experienced colleagues and consult the parents. If you have the parents ‘onside’ at the outset the whole procedure will be far easier.
Conversely, experience suggests that the following teacher responses are likely to have a negative effect:
- Humiliating — it breeds resentment and often makes people do the opposite of what is being asked of them.
- Losing your temper — it may be seen as losing control.
- Over-reacting — it may lead pupils to provoke you.
- Shouting — it diminishes your authority.
- Blanket punishments — the innocent will resent it and it will lead to further problems. Staff should think very carefully about detaining whole classes or large groups.
- Overzealous sarcasm — the victim will bear grudges
- Over-punishment — what will you do next? Keep something in reserve.
- Over-reliance on referral—other people will see it as a sign of weakness
Appendix 1 – Our Detention Policy
Harton Academy strives to encourage pupils to take responsibility for their behaviour and to reward good behaviour. If it is necessary to use sanctions, they should be reasonable and proportionate to the offence. Detaining pupils is one of the sanctions that staff have at their disposal.
The “Education and Inspections Act 2006” states the following:
“All schools, except independent and non-maintained special schools, have clear legal authority to detain pupils without the consent of the parent”. This covers both lunchtime and after school detentions. However, all parents, pupils and staff must be made aware of this and the following guidelines should be taken into account:
- The child’s age
- Any special educational needs
- Any religious requirements
- Whether the parent can reasonably arrange for a child to get home from the academy after the detention
- The time of year and the weather – what is deemed reasonable on a fine warm summer evening may not be so after school in December.
When issuing a detention, the following guidelines should be noted:
- It makes for good public relations to give parents at least 24 hours’ notice of a significant detention.
- Notification of detention can be done in a number of ways:
- Handing written notice to the parent
- delivering or posting it to their last known address
- any other effective method such as ‘pupil post’, a telephone call, fax or e-mail.
- The academy office should also be informed in advance, whenever a child is being detained after school. Staff should provide the length of detention and location so that office staff can contact the child on behalf of the parent.
- Although parental permission is not required, if parents do object to a detention, the academy should take their objections into account. Relevant facts such as if the detention would be on the day of religious observance for the family, concern about the length and safety of the walking route between the academy and the child’s home or the need for transport home if the parent cannot collect the child that day or make reasonable alternative arrangements.
- The Executive Head Teacher, or other authorised teacher, may decide that the child should have the detention despite the parent’s representations.
- A parent who remains dissatisfied can complain to the Executive Head Teacher or the governing body via the usual complaints procedures, although the detention may have already taken place before the complaint has been considered.
- It is possible that the detention could be revoked altogether or deferred because of the parent’s representations.
- Notification of the detention, stating the reasons for the detention and when, where and for how long it will take place, should be sent to the person who has parental responsibility. This will normally take the form of a letter issued to the pupil or sent by post; however, a phone call or other method could be used.
- It is good practice to give at least twenty four hours’ notice
- The time spent in the detention should be used constructively: appropriate work should be considered.
- A copy of the detention letter should be completed by the member of staff arranging the detention and forwarded to Miss C Collins who will place the matter on the child’s record. This should be completed even if the original parent contact was by telephone.
Appendix 2 – Combating Bullying
There is no legal definition of bullying, or ‘peer on peer abuse’. However, it is usually defined as behaviour that is:
- intended to hurt someone either physically or emotionally
- often targeted at certain groups or types of individual
It may involve :
- physical assault
- making threats
- name calling
- cyberbullying – bullying via mobile phone or online
Staff at Harton Academy do not pretend that bullying does not exist. It is present in many shapes and forms in every school and workplace. We recognise that and channel our efforts into dealing with it when it occurs.
Since the Byron report of 2007 and the publication of ‘Safe use of new technologies in 2012’ the potential for all manner of bullying must extend to the virtual world. The staff at Harton are determined to develop our own understanding of ‘e safety’ in order to improve our ability to protect the youngsters in our charge and help inform their parents.
At Harton, we feel that we have an extremely effective system of responding to bullying. Our evidence lies in the fact that incidences of prolonged and/or extreme bullying are rare. We deal with every case of potential bullying as soon as it occurs and infiltrators are left in no doubt that such behaviour will not be tolerated.
The following principles, which underline this policy, are based on the values and aims of Harton Academy.
- The academy recognises the detrimental effects on students who may be subjected to bullying in whichever form and will work proactively to minimise its occurrence.
- Students at Harton are entitled to expect to enjoy a secure, happy and friendly environment in which they may learn effectively. The academy will do its utmost to establish and sustain such an environment.
- We believe that all bullying is unacceptable, regardless of its type, form or which excuses are given to justify it.
- The academy values all of its students equally. All victims of bullying will be treated in a supportive manner.
- As rational adults, we recognise the difference between ‘bullying’ and normal childhood relationship fallout.
- To reduce and eradicate wherever possible instances in which students are subjected to bullying in any form.
- To take steps to minimise the likelihood of the occurrence of bullying.
- To establish appropriate means of providing support should an incident of bullying occur.
- To meet any legal obligations which rest with the academy.
Action to combat bullying
Amongst the activities the academy will establish and maintain in an effort to combat bullying are:
- The use of tutorial time, assemblies and other elements of the curriculum to raise students’ awareness of bullying issues and to develop students’ assertiveness in order that they might feel able to deal with bullying situations.
- The encouragement of adults to serve as good role models for students.
- A quick response to any report of bullying.
- Sanctions against perpetrators.
- Support for victims of bullying.
- The recording of all bullying incidents.
- The monitoring of victims and bullies and the provision of special arrangements for any students considered to be high risk.
- Regular review and consideration of factors which may influence the risks of bullying behaviour occurring, e.g. the academy environment, supervision arrangements, academy routine and procedures.
- Communication of our intent to all staff, students and parents in order to ensure that all concerned are aware of the policy and of their individual responsibilities.
- The issue to all staff (including ancillary staff) of guidelines which enables everyone to play an active role in combating bullying.
- Regular review of this policy which may be amended in the light of review and of changing circumstances.
The Individual Responsibility of Students
- It is important that students recognise the difficulties that staff may encounter in their efforts to ensure the effective implementation of the policy on combating bullying. In this regard, students are expected to:
- Report all incidents of bullying to a member of staff.
- Act in a respectful and supportive manner to their fellow students, reporting any suspected incidents which the victim may be afraid to report.
- Refrain at all times from any behaviour which would contribute to the bullying of other students
- Adhere to and promote the principles and objectives of this policy statement.
The Role of Parents
- Stressing to students the importance of sociable behaviour.
- Reporting any concerns they may have concerning either victims or perpetrators of bullying.
- Actively supporting and promoting the policy on combating bullying.
- Not ‘turning a blind eye’ to any bullying perpetrated by their own child.
Ultimately, responsibility for the implementation of good management will rest with the Academy’s Governing Body and Executive Head Teacher. However, all staff, students and their parents will have an active role in its evaluation, development and day-to-day maintenance.