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Athena School Behaviour Policy

Behaviour Management Policy


The children at the Fortuna and Sincil Federation experience complex emotional, social and learning needs.  These needs find expression in behaviours that are at times destructive for the child and alarming to themselves and others.  How, as a group, we manage the behaviour will depend on our shared values and beliefs in relation to children and discipline.


Shared beliefs and behaviour

That all behaviour has a meaning. That destructive behaviour can have various sources:

  • Anxiety and panic.
  • A limited repertoire of responses.
  • Low self-esteem and self-hate.
  • Attention-neediness.
  • Immature emotional development.
  • A disguise for vulnerability and a means of survival.
  • That external factors in the environment affect behaviour.
  • That dynamics between individuals affects behaviour.
  • That behaviour can change.


The child has a right:

  • To safety and protection.
  • To be treated with respect.
  • To be understood and listened to.
  • To be dealt with fairly.
  • To privacy.
  • To a broad and balanced education and access to the national curriculum.
  • To play and learn.
  • To be involved in decision making that relates to them.
  • To be valued equally with regard being paid to any differences in race, culture, gender, religion or disability.


Shared beliefs about our responsibility

  •  To exercise a duty of care in respect of each child.
  •  To place the well-being of the child as our paramount concern.
  •  To respect the rights of the child.
  •  To work together as a professional team in a positive and optimistic atmosphere.
  •  To work in a non-retaliatory manner at all times.


Behaviour management is inherent in all our interactions throughout the curriculum: the environment we create; the activities we provide; the language we use; the way we dress and the relationships we build.   

Practise and procedures are geared towards helping children find constructive ways of understanding their feelings and managing their own reactions and responses.  We believe that in order for this process of positive growth to occur we need to minimise the opportunities for disruptive and dangerous behaviour to arise.


Our shared focus is firmly on prevention

  •       Preventing the children becoming out of control.
  •       Preventing wherever possible the need for an adult to physically intervene with a child.


Primary prevention of destructive behaviour occurs when a staff team adheres to a shared ethos and consistently follows procedures and guidelines in implementing behaviour management.


Shared ethos

A code of conduct for the way we live together at the Fortuna and Sincil Federation is explained to the children in assemblies at the beginning of each year.This states:       

  •         Respect myself and others and treat everyone with kindness.
  •         Keep myself and others safe in our mind, bodies and feelings.
  •         Make good choices that help me to learn.
  •         Be in the right place at the right time.
  •         Ask for help and share my troubles.
  •         Stop and Think before I Act Then Act Responsibly.


Staff in the course of their work regularly refers to the code of conduct.  The children become familiar with the overall message and identify with the inherent culture.



  •         Each classroom activity base has its own set of rules, which are carefully displayed.
  •         The rules are clear and understood by all children.
  •         Children are reminded of the rules regularly.
  •         The rules are consistent between classrooms and teachers, avoiding confusion.
  •         Sanctions for breaking a rule must also be consistent throughout school and extra curricular activities.
  •         Rules are worded in the positive – stressing the “Do’s” not the “Don’ts”.


The environment

How we organise our working area, be it classroom or dining room, will make an enormous difference in preventing destructive behaviour.

Remember many of our children are chaotic and need careful structure to settle in.


We provide bases which are:

  •         Clean, inviting and orderly.
  •         All equipment and resources are safely and tidily stored.
  •         Materials needed for an activity are prepared before children arrive.
  •         If children are not able to share, then provide individual equipment until they learn this social skill.
  •         Be mindful of space individual space and an area to encourage co-operation.
  •         A specific place for children to go to when they need to have privacy, a place to think or calm down.
  •         Attention given to noise levels and eases of movement around the room. Conflicts often occur in transitions.



The relationships we build with each child are the cornerstone of our work and the greatest influence in preventing harmful behaviour.  Our emphasis is on developing attachments whereby the child learns to trust the adult.  From this position of trust a child will listen and be guided by the adult.  The most successful intervention in preventing or de-escalating challenging behaviour is the power of the adult child bond.    

  •         Aim to work with the ‘whole child’ with your ‘whole self’.
  •         Know your general procedures.


Make regular contact with the SMT and CAFO who can inform you of any factors, which could affect behaviour.


Building Bridges

  • Demonstrate unconditional acceptance of the child.
  • Disapprove of the behaviour but not the child.
  • Offer emotional involvement as well as primary care.
  • Listen to the child; know their fears and perceptions, their interests and dislikes.
  • Understand the sources of their difficulties, do not judge their families or carers but work with them towards solutions.
  • Be the adult and do not collude with the child.
  • Be consistent in all your interactions.
  • Work on praise and self-esteem positive comments should far outweigh negative ones.  “Catch them being good”.


Provide clear boundaries of control.  Set limits for behaviour and confidently stick to them.  The children have to know the difference between appropriate and inappropriate behaviour.


  •         Apply limits and sanctions firmly but fairly.
  •         When dealing with difficult behaviour be calm and non-retaliatory.
  •         Remember the long-term goals agreed with the child.  A child will not reach them immediately.  Remember you can lose a battle and still win the war.

It is important that we remain fundamentally on the side of the child.


Curriculum and play activities – primary prevention

  •        Prepare activities and lessons, which engage the children and cater for individual needs.
  •         Carefully plan lessons and play activities.
  •         Always be in the right place at the right time and ready to greet the children.
  •         All materials should be available.  Adults never leave a group of children unattended.
  •         Establish rules and expectations at the beginning of each activity.
  •         Decide on spacing and seating, belongings and movement around the room at the outset.
  •         Give the children manageable units of time for tasks.  They may be very immature and need short achievable goals.

Beware of transitions.  Many of our children do not cope with any transitions, either from place to place or from one activity to another.  These can be “flash points” for them. Have familiar rituals for the beginnings and endings.  Have a wind down period and predict the closing of activities, ie “in five minutes we will be going back to our seats . . . “


For children who become distressed by unfinished experiences try to allow time for them to complete, or establish a finishing tray.  Plan movement from one place to another.  Attention to detail can avoid “hot spots”.


Routines and rituals, which punctuate the child’s day, are an essential means for our children to learn that life has a pattern.  They begin to predict events and feel secure. They develop ideas of cause and effect and they learn to trust and feel in control.


When the children feel safe their behaviour is calmer and they can then learn strategies for coping with unrest.



Whole school strategies are referred to with the children regularly (see beginning of document).


Remember the traffic light system – STOP – THINK – ACT RESPONSIBLY


Rewards and Sanctions

  •         Our ethos demands we work on the positive whenever possible.
  •         Praise is frequent and explicit.  The children need to hear adults talking about them in glowing terms.  They need to always be told when they have had a “breakthrough” in behaviour.
  •         Positive, qualifying praise-the noticing of pupils that are managing will be used, where possible to support and address negative behaviours.
  •         Each child has individual targets to achieve and they need to be made aware of how well they are going in reaching them.
  •         Children are rewarded with earned choosing times and choice of activities.
  •         All sanctions need to be relevant and appropriate to the child’s individual developmental needs and allow for time for the child to reflect on or ‘practise’ what it was they found challenging.  Language           of choice will be used and the behaviour (cause) will link directly to the consequence (effect). For example ‘I noticed you found sitting at the table difficult today, I would like you to practise doing that           for a moment before you have your choosing.’

This allows our children the opportunity to develop their ability to ‘link up’ experiences and understand and learn from sanctions that are put in place.  The staff recognise that this, for many of our children, will take significant amount of time and consistency and that for some children, will be something they will always find challenging.  Staff will consistently remain patient, consistent, insistent and persistent in supporting the pupils with their behaviour.

  •         Staff, on reviewing the policy, have agreed upon the following:

Low level disruption: Child may work apart from classmates for a period of time within classroom or payback time out of choosing time or playtime; this needs to be purposeful and linked directly to the behaviour. For example ‘I can see you are finding it hard to sit beside ?? at the moment, I think we should practise sitting and doing your work at this table to give you some space and to help you.’

 Extreme disruption:  Paying back time from choosing time or removed from class and working in office, missing playtime or part of lunch break, detention to make up time.  Staff will make reasons for missed playtimes explicit. ‘Because you have found it hard to be safe in the classroom today, I would like you to have an indoor play time today to show me you can manage that.’

Limited choices for choosing activities to facilitate a calm choosing and only provide pupils with choices and activities that they can be successful within.

Leaving school: a detention prior to extended day, parents informed.  Missing school trips for safety reasons, with consent of SMT.

Dangerous behaviour: Child takes time out of choosing time to discuss with adults, repairs any damage, makes amends.

Damage to property: makes good the damage, asked to contribute to replacement if appropriate, writes letter of apology to any persons concerned in own time, parents informed.

Violence:  incident if reported in physical intervention book needs to be discussed with child during choosing time or after school.  Children encouraged to reconcile differences, make amends, finding an activity that could help injured party.  Possible detention.

Any incidence of bullying or racism.

Logged and both victim and perpetrator take time to discuss the situation and find appropriate ways of resolving negative interactions by finding positive and cooperative activities.

Wilful violent attack of member of staff or another child will result, depending on individual circumstances, after discussion with Head of School, in a fixed term exclusion.


A system of commendations exists throughout the school.
  •         Special mentions and prizes are awarded.
  •         Special mentions are read out in assembly.
  •         Headteacher’s awards are given in assembly
  •         Certificates of achievement are given in assembly from any adult in the school
  •         Sanctions should be seen as relevant to the child and the adult.
  •         Whole school sanctions are carried out consistently.
  •         Sanctions should provide an opportunity for the children to put things right.
  •         Sanctions concentrate on the “behaviour” and do not humiliate the child.  Unconditional love of the child is demonstrated consistently.


The Rising Challenge

Challenging behaviour describes behaviour that threatens the safety of all.

This includes violence, which is directed towards others and violence, which has no particular target.  It also includes self-injury or “reckless regard for their own safety or for the safety of others”.


Primary Prevention

In implementing the recommendations implicit in this policy we are able to reduce the likelihood of violent and damaging behaviour occurring.  We have in effect changed aspects of the child’s living and working environment to enable them to manage themselves safely.  This is primary intervention.  There will however be times when primary prevention is not sufficient means to deal with escalating problematic behaviour.  Certain circumstances can trigger a violent response.  Factors within the child relating to their own impulses or unconscious drives can also produce explosive incidents.


Triggers can be immediate and unpredictable.   At these times it is necessary to move into secondary prevention.


Secondary Prevention

Challenging behaviour describes:

  • In the event of challenging behaviour it is important for staff to follow certain guidelines.
  • Remain calm and maintain personal control.
  • Remember your body language and personal space.
  • Send for help before crisis point is reached.
  • Keep communicating with the child and offering strategies to them.
  • Be aware of what might de-escalate the situation.
  • Diversion e.g.: “let’s get these papers and photocopy them”.
  • Change the activity and ease any pressure.
  • Increase self-esteem; remind them how well they sorted things last time.
  • Separate the child from the behaviour.
  • Give them a choice e.g: sit in a quiet area.
  • Communicate to the child what is happening and let them know you are on their side e.g: “I’m throwing the ladder over to you.  I hope you can catch it and I can pull you through”.
  • Listen to the child and acknowledge their distress.
  • Often at these times the child is regressed – treat them as if they were much younger.
  • Beware of your own triggers.  The child may try to transfer their own rage onto you.  Do not take insults and verbal abuse personally.  Hand over to someone else if you need to remain professional and perceive the situation as “a piece of work”.
  • If gentle physical intervention will de-escalate a violent child it is wise to use it cautiously, again remember the individual personal plan of the child.
  • If it looks as if a physical intervention is necessary try to warn the child beforehand.
  • Where possible, adults must exhaust all agreed behavioural management strategies before using an accepted and endorsed physical intervention.
  • Staff will support each other when dealing with extremely challenging behaviour.  Staff can offer a ‘change of face’ to any adult where they perceive it helpful in resolving the incident for the child by using a shared common language between themselves.


Physical Intervention (see also Positive Handling Policy)

However skilful we become at anticipating and diffusing difficult situations, there will be times when we have to resort to physical intervention in the management of children.


Relevant staff at the Fortuna and Sincil Federation are trained in the “Team Teach” method of positive handling.  It is important that staff regularly familiarise themselves with the policy and guidelines of the “Team Teach” approach, as well as the LCC policy on P.I. attached.

The following points also need to be adhered to by all staff.
  • In all cases of physical intervention the welfare of the child is the paramount concern.
  • Physical intervention is used only to prevent an offence being committed.
  • Injury being caused to any person, including the child himself, damage to property, engagement in any behaviour prejudicial to the maintenance of good order and discipline in the school or among any of its pupils.
  • All staff must exercise their duty of care to take reasonable steps to protect all children from being harmed.
  • The number of staff involved should be the minimum necessary to safeguard the child and others.  No member of staff should attempt to “hold” a child by themselves.
  • The force used must be the minimum necessary to deal with the harm that needs to be prevented, ie it must be reasonable in the circumstances.
  • All children have a Risk Assessment Form which outlines specific considerations for that child in relation to physical intervention.  These are updated on a termly basis.
  • Staff need to follow a system of recording following any physical intervention.  The incident report form needs to be filled in before staff go home.  All staff and children involved must read through the report form and sign it.  A follow up form is also completed which records the child’s perception of the incident and looks to a resolution.


A complaints procedure is also in place for pupils and parents.


Where possible “timeout” is given for staff and child following a “holding”.

Senior members of staff offer supervision sessions for less experienced members.


Remember that it is not possible to declare certain physical interventions as legal or illegal.  Each separate incident would need individual assessment and could only be deemed legal or illegal through the test of a law court.  Every incident has to justify that all correct  procedures and practice has been adhered to.


Wherever possible time needs to be taken to work through the reasons for “holding” with the child.  The experience can be used for addressing issues which cause violent responses and the child can be guided in how to prevent a reoccurrence.


This is an important time to explore with the child alternative routes and strategies to employ when they are distressed.  Look to the strategies highlighted in the prevention section of this policy.  Use puppets or play equipment to role play the situation with the child.  This indirect approach can really help them to see alternatives without the demonstration feeling personal.


It is always necessary for staff to continually reflect upon the measures we use to manage and help the children.

An ongoing audit provides the analytical data we need in order to continue in our efforts to reduce the need for physically intervening with any child to a minimum.

Behaviour Management Policy PDF

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