Context for joining Behaviour Hubs
Our Lady of the Angels Catholic Primary School currently has 163 pupils on roll. This has increased from 148 pupils at the start of the 2022-23 academic year, following a steady decline from 201 since the school went into Special Measures in October 2016.
Torbay local authority is the most deprived in the South-West, with significant levels of unemployment and domestic abuse. Within Torbay, around one third of the population live in areas included in the top 20% most deprived areas in England. The school is in the top 10% of most deprived areas in England.
The school has extremely high pupil mobility; 28.7% of pupils joined later than their Reception year. The school currently has 61 (37.4%) of pupils in receipt of PP. Although actual numbers have fluctuated, the proportion of PP pupils has risen steadily since the last inspection, peaking at around 65% in some year groups. 27 (44.3%) of our pupils with PP are also on the SEND register, including 4 with EHCPs. 36% of our pupils are currently in receipt of free school meals. All figures are above national average.
The proportion of children speaking English as an Additional Language in the school has been increasing. 31.63% of our current pupils are EAL which is above the national average – this has risen from 24% at the start of the 2022-23 academic year.
The school has nearly double the national average of pupils with SEND – 29.4% compared to a national average of of 15.3%. 38 pupils are on SEN support (23.8%) and 9 children are on EHCPs (5.6%).
Behaviour challenges and goals
- Create a simplified but clear set of expectations for both staff and children to ensure the approach to behaviour was consistent across the school.
- To look at what ‘reasonable adjustments’ are and consider how we can meet the needs of students with more complex behavioural issues.
- To upskill and equip staff with the skills to support more challenging behaviour.
- To ensure that the expectations are shared with new pupils and new staff to maintain consistency.
Our behaviour priorities:
- A group of children with SEND / SEMH needs within one cohort who are not responding to our usual behaviour strategies.
- A high turnover of staff, and staff on maternity leave (with temporary staff covering) have made it difficult to implement and maintain policies with consistency.
- A highly transient population of children (with 28.7% of pupils joining after Reception year) made it difficult to ensure that all the children understood the expectations.
Solutions to behaviour challenges
Strategic and CPD
The CPD provided by the Behaviour Hubs programme gave us the starting point we needed to be really focused on how we wanted our behaviour expectations to look, and to establish the reasoning behind this using evidence-based materials.
Visiting Lead Schools provided the opportunity to compare and contrast our own behaviour policy and to adopt a variety of ideas and approaches in a way that worked for our school. The visit to St James School in Exeter particularly helped to clarify the behaviour expectations we were setting and to develop a more pupil-focused approach – teaching what the specific behaviours look like and, more importantly, why we should do them!
Further CPD organised by the school focusing on trauma-informed behaviour strategies and PIPs training enabled staff to feel more confident, providing them with strategies when faced with more challenging or extreme behaviour.
Support from a team of educational psychologists working alongside critical staff members allowed for focused work to be done with the one particularly challenging and complicated cohort, leading to strategies above and beyond the usual behaviour policy to be implemented.
Our headteacher and deputy headteacher took time to clearly set out expectations, behaviour principles and sanction guidelines. Staff members were provided with materials to be shared with pupils so that all pupils were being taught the behaviour that we wanted to see. All staff were also given clear guidelines to help them deliver the expectations and, when necessary, apply sanctions, with both consistency and inevitability.
Dedicated CPD time was given to staff in the following areas: introducing policies and guidelines; using materials and strategies; revisiting, reviewing and adjusting policies. This also allowed staff the opportunity to provide feedback and contribute to the changes being made. Because everything has been embedded so well with children and staff, this will support teachers returning from leave to quickly familiarise themselves with any changes.
Policy and implementation
From working closely with our Lead School and visiting other settings, we observed a wide range of good practice, allowing us to reflect upon and amend our own procedures.
- The development of our school motto – artwork created to reflect this and weekly celebration assemblies and certificates also adapted to reflect the changes.
- An updated and comprehensive behaviour policy (compliant with the latest guidelines).
- Six clear behaviour principles each with a child-friendly description of what the ‘behaviour’ looks like and an explanation of why we want to see this behaviour (also adapted into a presentation to share with children at the start of every half term so that the teaching of the behaviours is being continually reinforced, and a poster with visual representations for each principle)
- Updated induction materials produced which are shared with new staff alongside a structured induction procedure carried out by the head and deputy head to ensure consistency.
- New pupil booklets produced to be shared with children when they come to look around the school, on arrival at the school, or when they move from one year group to another. There is a section on behaviour principles, sanctions and house points so that all pupils are clear on both school and year group expectations.
- Pupils now sit on mixed tables at lunchtime to encourage the children to develop social skills through interaction with pupils from other year groups. Older pupils also support our younger pupils on the table whilst eating lunch.
- Talk cards have been produced (linked to the oracy project we are participating in) to give pupils different ideas of what they can discuss with other pupils on their table, which allows new pupils to get to know the others on their table.
“The CPD provided by the Behaviour Hubs programme gave us the starting point we needed to be really focused on how we wanted our behaviour expectations to look.”
Impact on behaviour
Being a part of the Behaviour Hubs programme has been instrumental in giving us the focus, time and background information to make informative decisions about the best ways forward for our school. In recognition of the strides that were made, we received a ‘Good’ grading from Ofsted in May 2022, having received ‘Requires improvement’ previously.
A simplified approach to sanctions was developed, which is understood by both staff and children and is applied more effectively. Data shows a drop in incidents since it has been implemented. Improvement has been seen in consistency and our pupils demonstrate a clearer understanding of what is expected of them.
The introduction of a structured process to deal with behaviour at lunchtime including calming down time and a restorative conversation with an adult has proved successful. CPD was provided initially and was followed up with conflict resolution training later in the year. All issues (apart from the most serious) are now dealt with out on the playground and reported to teachers via CPOMS to minimise disruption to learning in the afternoon. Staff have reported feeling more confident to tackle issues themselves rather than referring to teachers. As a result, lunchtimes are calmer; more children are willing to take responsibility and then apologise/make amends after having time to calm and reflect.
An external staff survey was conducted at the end of programme which highlighted the following improvements:
- 83.3% of staff agreed that there was a clear vision of what is expected and meant by ‘good behaviour’ – up from 40% at the beginning of the programme.
- 100% of staff agreed that behaviour policy, rules and routines were easy to follow.
- 100% of parents were supportive of the school’s behaviour rules and their implementation – up from 40% at the beginning of the programme.
- 100% of staff agreed that appropriate behaviour training was now available to all staff – up from 40% prior to the programme.
Next steps on your behaviour journey
- To continue to develop and build upon the consistent approach to behaviour we have established.
- To continue to build staff confidence and skills through high quality CPD.
- To further develop the use of 1:1 coaching for more vulnerable pupils.