Context for joining Behaviour Hubs
The Pinetree School is an Alternative Provision Free School, catering for 40 KS3/4 pupils who have been permanently excluded from mainstream education or have found mainstream provision too challenging. All our pupils have SEMH needs and most have EHCPs. We are in the market town of Thetford but many of our pupils are taxied in from around the counties of Norfolk or Suffolk. The pupils that attend come from a wide range of economically diverse backgrounds and many live in deprivation. Many of our pupils come from low-income families, generational unemployment, social services, and Early Help involvement.
Within our cohort:
- 96% of pupils travel to school by taxi.
- Most pupils are of White British heritage – 97%
- Most pupils are male – 91%
- All pupils have special educational needs and the proportion who have an EHCP is significantly above national average – 94%
- The proportion of disadvantaged pupils eligible for the pupil premium is above national average – 75%
- The proportion of Looked After pupils is currently 3%
We are currently graded ‘Requires improvement’ from Ofsted in the categories of ‘Behaviour and Attitudes’ and ‘Quality of Education’. We recognised the need for our staff to better manage behaviour and develop our curricular offer of teaching and learning, as noted by Ofsted.
Behaviour challenges and goals
Pupils often enter the school because of their inability to regulate their own behaviour and comply with mainstream rules, routines, and expectations. They often have a negative opinion of school and education – the ‘rejected’ become the rejecting. With this in mind, we had the following goals when joining the Behaviour Hubs programme:
- To create a Pinetree School identity and clear admissions procedure
- To identify our key principles and a ‘common’ language
- To develop a positive culture of high expectations and aspirations for all our pupils
- To utilise stakeholder voice to adjust our vision to align with our values and beliefs
- To create a new behaviour strategy that was fair and consistent – that gave teachers and pupils consistent rewards and consequences
- To encourage parental and pupil support through consultation
- To change the pupils’ views of the school
- To improve the school environment to demonstrate that we care and that they are valued
Solutions to behaviour challenges
To achieve our goals, we implemented the following actions:
- Accessed high quality training via the Behaviour Hubs programme and disseminating this to staff. We particularly focussed on the research of Tom Bennett in which he emphasised the importance of ‘teaching behaviour’ and ‘creating a culture.’ This made the bedrock of our updated vision and behaviour strategy.
- We conducted a staff survey to find out what they felt about behaviour in school. This gave mixed pictures and highlighted a lack of typicality.
- As a senior leadership team, we conducted a wide range of research, involving visits to other schools. The work of Keyham Lodge and The Limes College particularly resonated and the development of staff scripts and redefining principles were formed.
- We used these finding to create our new behaviour strategy, which included a detailed list of consequences for pupils and how we would manage these across the school day.
- We redesigned the credit card and reward system, so it was fit for purpose
- We shared and consulted our school council for their insight
- The strategy was then shared with staff during a training day and parents. This meant going through clearly what each section meant and the expectations.
- The strategy was then launched in school. The headteacher led a whole school assembly in which the strategy was explained in language appropriate to the pupils’ levels of literacy – simple and direct. Tutors then regularly taught the expectations
- Small steps of success were celebrated with staff, pupils, and parents
- Each week the school focussed on a different element of the behaviour strategy during CPD to develop understanding, consolidate consistency and expectations
- We regularly took staff views and surveys on how they felt about managing behaviour
- Alongside this we regularly captured pupil voice
- We made changes to our internal and external environments
“There has been a 40% reduction in suspensions since the programme started.”
Impact on behaviour
The new behaviour policy has had a wide range of positive outcomes:
- All pupils in school can now name the four key principles: Kindness, Respect, Trust, and Honesty.
There is a now a systematic approach for the management of behaviour throughout school. Staff know how to consequence behaviour and not all consequences fall to SLT.
- Staff survey indicates that staff claim management of behaviour has improved on a whole school level, because of the new strategy.
- The new policy has removed the need for golden time and as a result given staff one more hour for curriculum delivery.
- Pupils are passionate about the new rewards, particularly the introduction of the kindness award. Pupils will often go out of their way to receive a kindness nomination.
- 60% of staff reported at the midway point of the programme that they felt more confident in managing pupil behaviour
- There has been a 40% reduction in suspensions since the programme started
- 85% of pupils’ attendance has improved
Next steps on your behaviour journey
Our next steps are to continue using the new strategy until it has become fully embedded in school practice. This will include a round of adjustments through observations and staff consultations. We intend to continue to get more parental engagement. We believe our behaviour strategy should never be static but should flex to the cohort of pupils within our care.
We will continue to conduct learning walks and QA on the behaviour strategy to ensure it is being implemented consistently. We intend to continue to promote the excellent work Pinetree pupils do, and work is ongoing to improve the decor and feel of the building. The Pinetree School Improvement Board continues to hold leadership to account by analysing the data and outcomes specifically in behaviour.