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A new approach to behaviour

Throughout this academic year, the staff at Whittington Primary School have been involved in creating a new approach to behaviour with a view to rewriting our Behaviour Policy and changing our behaviour processes.

As a staff, we have been working with Educational Psychologist, Dr Anita Soni, to develop and improve our current processes. Although our pupils demonstrate excellent standards of behaviour within lessons and around school, the Good to be Green system, which many regard as public and punitive, seemed at odds with the nurturing and supportive ethos that we have within our school environment. We were, therefore, keen to embrace a behaviour approach with strengthening and building relationships based on trust and respect as a key focus. 

'When students understand that the goal of discipline is to strengthen them and to teach them, they will no longer be afraid to face their mistakes. They will view a problem as an opportunity for learning in a better way' (Gossen, 2001)

In our training sessions during the Autumn term, we considered the following questions:

  • what do we want behaviour to look like?
  • what is helpful in our behaviour process and policy?
  • who's needs are being best met?
  • what is unhelpful in our current behaviour process and policy?
  • who's needs are not met?
  • what do we need to STOP, START and CONTINUE within our current process? 

The staff and pupils in Years 3 and 4 were then trained and trialled a new system, called Restorative Justice. At the heart of the Restorative approach is the idea of 'making it right' - restitution and reparation - not retribution. Restorative interventions in schools encourage an understanding, awareness and sensitivity to difference and thereby nurture healthier relationships and provide children with the space and opportunity to look at how their own behaviour or words affect another individual and themselves.

On 4th January, during our staff INSET, the principles and practices of the Restorative approach were shared with all of the staff and will now be trialled in school.