Context for joining Behaviour Hubs
Atlantic Academy is a small but growing 11-16 school in North Devon, with 254 students on roll. It serves a wide geographical area that has a rural, coastal catchment which also includes areas of North Cornwall. Our student population is predominantly white British.
The school had its first Ofsted in February 2023 where it received a grading of “Good” in all areas. This inspection follows an inspection in 2017 of the predecessor school, Route 39, which was deemed “inadequate” in all areas. The school joined Launceston MAT and has since become part of the Athena Learning Trust.
Behaviour challenges and goals
The Academy has experienced many years of change that includes a physical change in location, four different headteachers, moving from a Free School to part of a MAT, as well as experiencing a rebrokerage into a different MAT.
Previous leadership had invested time and training into developing a restorative approach towards behaviour management. Unfortunately, this had a detrimental effect on behaviour due to inconsistencies of boundaries being set and adjustments being made by staff to enable students to succeed. This reduced effective classroom-based behaviour management and created a system that failed to address the recurrent and escalating behaviours leading to whole school disruption.
Another challenge was the structure of the student support team, which was divided into SEN and Behaviour. This meant that there were too many inconsistencies in approach, poor communication and multiple ineffective strategies being used.
Both our SLT and our trust identified behaviour as our academy’s top priority following learning walks, progress checks and staff and student voice. By joining Behaviour Hubs, we wanted to achieve the following:
- Ensure that all staff recognise behaviour as the top priority of the academy.
- Ensure that there is absolute clarity of behaviour expectations for all stakeholders.
- Develop a focus on positive relationships between staff and students, including a rewards system that is valued by stakeholders.
- Develop a CPD programme to give staff the opportunity to deliberately practise routines so that all classrooms are disruption and distraction-free.
- Develop a new behaviour policy supported by systems and routines.
“The Academy has experienced many years of change that includes a physical change in location, four different headteachers, and moving from a Free School to [being] part of a MAT.”
Solutions to behaviour challenges
- Consultation process – discussions and anonymous questionnaire, analysing the problem and proposed solutions.
- Analysis of perceived problems and proposing solutions to these – ensuring that perceived problems and actual problems were aligned based on data and findings, meaning that solutions suggested actually tackled the real problems.
- Revision of academy behaviour policy and systems.
- Mentoring and coaching from our Lead School – This helped to develop routines and expectations of staff. The Lead School guided us to focus on a maximum of three key changes at a time, ensuring these were embedded before moving on to other changes instead of trying to change everything all at once.
- Visits to our Lead School and other schools within the Ted Wragg Trust – This prompted us to consider options we had not previously considered, such as setting the tone of the academy from the outset with whole school line-ups, when students were welcomed, and expectations and key messages were reinforced.
- Tom Bennett visited our school and following his observations, discussed how small changes could have a great impact if done effectively and consistently.
- The virtual modules provided by Behaviour Hubs offered practical guidance in how to deliver CPD, as well as implement and monitor the changes across the academy, ensuring consistency in approach.
Some of the key steps in our success were:
- Creating a clear “3-2-1- focus” routine which staff use to ensure 100% attention from students, supported by CPD and coaching.
- Development of a Behaviour Support guidance document that included micro scripts, and deliberate practice of micro scripts in staff meetings with contextual examples.
- Use of ClassCharts (new software) that simplified the recording and communication for all behaviour and student needs.
- Development of a new behaviour policy focusing on rewards and sanctions, ensuring consistency within classrooms across the academy.
- Reorganisation of the support teams to form one team: the Inclusion team. Specific staff in this team run the reflection room and triage. There are also specialist Behaviour Mentors who have responsibility conversations with students who have been sent here. All staff within this team receive regular CPD for all of the positions so they know what each role involves and how best to support each other.
- Twice weekly CPD focusing on behaviour and routines, how to implement them, feeding back to staff both development points and successes.
- Introduction of a standardised lesson structure – ‘Recap, model, check, practice’ – ensuring that students’ cognitive load was minimised.
Impact on behaviour
Towards the end of our time on the Behaviour Hubs programme in February 2023, Ofsted inspected the academy and we received a “Good” rating in all areas. Our predecessor school had received an “Inadequate” rating in 2017.
Behaviour Hubs survey data showed clear improvements in behaviour over the project:
- 80% of staff now rate behaviour at school as ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’, which is an increase of 39%.
- 68% of staff indicated behaviour has improved as a result of the Behaviour Hubs programme, both in lessons and during social time.
- A significant majority of students now believe that behaviour in school is ‘very good’ or ‘excellent’.
- Most staff also believe that classroom disruption has decreased significantly since the start of the programme.
- 84% of staff believe that the new system has decreased the amount of time students lose in their learning due to disruptive behaviour. This is because students who are disruptive are now removed from sessions more quickly and effectively, meaning the rest of the class can get on with their work.
- The number of students who reported that disruption rarely or never occurs in lessons has doubled since the beginning of the programme.
- Students’ understanding of clarity of behaviour expectations has doubled.
- 84% of staff now feel they have better clarity of the behaviour rules and processes.
- There has been a 72% improvement in how these are applied to students and a 76% improvement in the confidence staff have in the behaviour management in the academy.
- The percentage of staff that now strongly agree that there is a clear vision of expected good behaviour in school, has increased from 33% to 84%.
- Staff and students now agree that routines are easy to follow.
- Internal trackers show there has been a 50% reduction in the number of reflections over the duration of the programme.
- Suspension from school have also reduced significantly with a three-fold reduction of suspension incidents.
Next steps on your behaviour journey
- Continue to reduce the number of suspension incidents.
- Develop a strategy to reduce reflection incidents for highly vulnerable students.
- Implement a behaviour CPD model that ensures consistency for all staff and personalised support for individuals.
- Develop cultural onboarding for staff as part of their induction.
- Continue to engage with Behaviour Hubs networking, CPD and Open Day events.
- Become a Lead School on the Behaviour Hubs programme, and for behaviour at Atlantic Academy to be recognised as outstanding by the local community and Ofsted.