Five tips for reinforcing positive behaviour routines

Reviewing and updating policies is a vital exercise for all school leaders. With the updated DfE behaviour and exclusions guidance in use since 1st September 2022 – along with the start of a new academic year – leaders across the country are actively reviewing, writing and implementing their behaviour policies.

Even with minimal changes to policy, achieving consistency of implementation is one of the greatest challenges that schools face; new staff, high pupil mobility and achieving buy-in are just a few of the ongoing challenges.

The Behaviour Hubs programme supports schools and MATs in developing effective behaviour cultures within a calm, safe and supportive environment. Establishing consistent routines is a primary area that schools can be supported with on this tailored support programme.

Here are five considerations for teachers and leaders when establishing and reinforcing positive behaviour routines in the classroom.

1. Establish your clear routines

Before implementing any behaviour policies, they must be clearly established amongst all staff throughout your school or trust. The modelling of these behaviour policies and expectations should come from the senior leadership team as this will ensure much stronger buy-in both from staff and pupils.

Ensure time is allocated for anyone new to the school (pupils, parents and carers in addition to staff). This could include taking time to absorb the behaviour culture, speaking to colleagues, sharing policies, school assemblies, and home/school agreements. This will clearly set out behaviour expectations and ensure that all pupils experience a consistent school day from class to class.

2. Teach your routines explicitly

It is much more difficult to change learned established behaviours than it is to teach and communicate expected behaviours. By ensuring that all pupils are supported from the beginning of term and their behaviour expectations are made immediately explicit, this is more likely to become learned behaviour which carries through a pupil’s entire time at school.

3. Check for pupil understanding

Ensure that all pupils understand what the behaviour expectations are on a termly basis. This includes what constitutes good behaviour and poor behaviour – and what the consequences are for poor behaviour.

Re-establishing the norms, or teaching new ones, means that only a light approach will be needed throughout the term rather than a whole school reset, which may be difficult to achieve midway through a term.

4. Apply routines and policy consistently

Consistency is at the heart of any school culture. Communicating the positive behaviour habits that you want to see and ensuring all staff are consistently applying them will create the culture you wish to establish.

Make sure that your application of behaviour policies is the same on any given day and with any given pupil (being mindful of pupils that have additional needs or may have extenuating circumstances). For instance, if pupils receive a warning for chatting in class on one occasion but not on another, this is likely to undermine the behaviour expectations that you want to establish.

5. Consider behaviour outside the classroom

When diagnosing what areas of your school require improvement, consider what behaviours your school enables. Do you have one lunchtime for 1,500 students in a canteen that only holds 300, for example? Or do you give unlimited access to your building and site during break times, making behaviour difficult to manage?

Implementing appropriate boundaries and guidance can still allow pupils to self-regulate their behaviour but within a safe and secure environment that you have permitted – not them.


If you can identify any gaps in your behaviour culture, your school may benefit from joining the Behaviour Hubs programme. Applications to join Behaviour Hubs are now open for a January or April 2023 start.