Westbury Academy

Phase/Provision: Special

Theme: Staff Induction and Development

Context for joining Behaviour Hubs

Westbury Academy is an SEMH setting, catering for 108 primary and secondary-aged pupils who have either been permanently excluded from mainstream education or where mainstream education has been unable to meet their needs. All of our pupils have SEMH needs and either have an education and healthcare plan, or are undergoing the EHCP assessment process.

The pupils that attend come from a wide range of economically diverse backgrounds and many live in deprivation. Many come from low-income families, generational unemployment, social services, and Early Help involvement.

Westbury pupil cohort:

  • All pupils are male
  • The proportion of disadvantaged pupils eligible for the pupil premium is above
  • national average – 80%
  • The proportion of Looked After pupils is currently 19%

The academy received a ‘Good’ judgment for Behaviour and Attitudes by Ofsted in November 2022. Ofsted recognised the collaborative work undertaken by the academy with regards to the development of a ‘Positive Relationships and Behaviour Policy’ which helped establish clearly defined systems and norms for adults and pupils whilst also fostering ‘flexible consistency’, vital when supporting pupils with special education needs.


Behaviour challenges and goals

Many of our pupil have experienced trauma and have adverse childhood experiences (ACEs), coupled with challenging home lives and poverty. Therefore, the aim for leaders was to continue to develop and embed a trauma-informed approach, with high expectations and high levels of support, in order to maintain a school atmosphere that is calm and purposeful, and one where the pupils and adults feel safe and valued.

The academy aimed to achieve this by:

  • Reviewing and refining the academy’s systems and norms, and developing a culture where behaviour is everyone’s responsibility and a “team sport”.
  • Adding capacity by appointing an Assistant Principal with expertise in understanding the causes of behaviour.
  • Developing a high stake, layered approach to attendance that celebrates attendance with pupils and families.
  • To utilise the behaviour reporting system effectively to track individual pupil data and review the impact of interventions.
  • Develop a whole school wellbeing strategy, and central hub, to deliver impactful and targeted intervention to pupils.
  • Ensure expectations and subsequent consequences are clearly known and understood by all stakeholders
  • Develop a culture of a non-confrontational, kind and calm approach, which provides a safe space and one where adults focus on the cause of the behaviour rather than just the symptoms.
  • Develop a reward system that recognises and reinforces positive behaviour and one that also focuses on the importance of intrinsic reward.
  • Rebuilding positive relationships with both pupils and families is an ongoing challenge.
  • Creating a culture where all adults across the academy recognise and understand that behaviour is a form of communication, and that a “one-size fits all” approach does not meet the needs of all pupils.


Solutions to behaviour challenges

To achieve this, we completed the following actions:

  • A staff survey was conducted in February 2023 to find out what they felt about behaviour in school. The survey results were quite mixed and highlighted a lack of typicality. This was followed by a staff survey in November 2023 which shows a positive shift in the culture.
  • Revised Relationships and Positive Behaviour Policy detailing systems and norms were shared with staff and parents/carers following consultation. This meant going through clearly what each section meant and the expectations.
  • The development of staff scripts in line with our six principles outlined in our policy were formed.
  • The development and implementation of reflective practice within school, including frequent staff CPD involving behaviour scenarios and developing approaches in line with Trust/academy’s six behaviour principles.
  • An expectation of ‘reflect and repair’ so that pupils and staff are more aware of the need to repair relationships and detentions changed to ‘reflections’, ensuring that all consequences were more logical and were based on restorative practices.
  • Systems were explained in language appropriate to the pupils’ levels of literacy. The new Relationships & Positive Behaviour Policy focussed on three key behaviours known as drivers.

The three behaviours (drivers) were embedded into our daily practice, these being:

i. At Westbury, we are honest and kind to one another. We use appropriate language.
ii. At Westbury, we show respect to our environment.
iii. At Westbury, we have high expectations. We attend school and do our best to learn.

All pupils in school can now name the three drivers/behaviours and there is a now a systematic approach for the management of behaviour throughout school.

  • An on-call system was introduced and modelled by senior leaders to middle leaders.
  • There was a soft launch of the systems and norms in the Spring term, allowing for further staff consultation and review, before a full launch in the summer term.
    To support the full launch, leaders led whole school assemblies, ensuring that all pupils had an understanding of the pending changes.
  • Introduced sensory/calm spaces and a well-being hub.
  • Development of a whole-school well-being strategy, working alongside the Educational Psychologist Service and recruiting staff with skills and expertise in pupil well-being.
  • Capturing staff and pupil voice, ensuring the process of change was done “with”, instead of “to”.
  • CPD for all staff to challenge unhealthy and misguided views of masculinity – particularly important due to Westbury being an all-boys school.


“Staff and pupil voice, along with external visits, including Ofsted, recognise the academy’s calm and purposeful environment and how pupils have become more reflective learners.”


Impact on behaviour

  • Zero permanent exclusions.
  • 27% reduction in the number of days learning lost through suspensions.
  • 10% decrease in absence in key stage 4 in the 22/23 academic year compared with 2021/22 academic year.
  • 12% increase in whole school attendance from 2020/21 academic year compared with 2022/23 academic year.
  • 53% reduction in the use of restrictive physical intervention in one academic year.

Pupil comments can be summarised as the academy has gone from bad behaviour to moderate behaviour to good behaviour. There are less fights and pupils are calmer.


Next steps on your behaviour journey

The next steps are to embed the recent changes and continue to engage all adults including parent/carers of trauma and informed practice. This will include:

  • Using the coaching model, train staff in the skills of coaching. Embed regular coaching sessions so that staff can practice the skills and develop their expertise in conflict resolution and behaviour management.
  • Introduce our Trust Values Assessment Framework to further live our values beyond the ‘character of the week’ recognition in assemblies.
  • Further personalise our curriculum offer so it is better matched to local employment opportunities and the needs and wants of our pupils. A barber shop is currently being developed at the academy (phase one), with the ambition for this to evolve into a salon offering barbering, hairdressing and other associated roles (phase two), with the aim to challenge misguided views of masculinity and widen employment opportunities.
  • Develop a family outreach strategy, including identifying areas of expertise and qualifications that will support staff in engaging with families.
  • To create an induction ‘toolkit’ programme that ensures that all new staff understand the expectations through a training programme that can be shared across the trust so that staff are equipped with the specialist skills to purposefully know how best to support pupils/families in moments of crisis.