Managing behaviour

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Managing behaviour

Heronsbridge School, Bridgend, has introduced a behaviour management programme to help improve pupil communication and independence. Staff received training to ensure a consistent approach across the school and the method of recording incidents was improved. As a result, pupils are able to receive personal support plans and the number of behavioural issues has decreased.


Number of children: 232
Age range: 3-19
Date of Estyn inspection: June 2014

Context and background to sector-leading practice

A significant number of pupils at Heronsbridge experience difficulties managing their behaviour.   The school believes that by reducing the barriers to their learning, for example by improving their communication, pupils will learn to manage their behaviour, become more independent, achieve greater wellbeing and attain sustainable success.

However, we recognised that the varied methods of recording, reporting and analysing behavioural outcomes made it difficult for staff to accurately evaluate the success of interventions with pupils. Our strategic aim was therefore to combine our successful programme of staff training in behaviour management with a consistent recording system in order to evidence the outcomes for pupils.

Description of nature of strategy or activity

Since 2006, Heronsbridge has been using a commercially available behaviour support programme.  The programme underpins our philosophy of providing positive and proactive support to pupils, using a ‘hands-off’ approach. 

The programme provides detailed guidance in behaviour management, and our training ensures that staff have a consistent approach to managing pupils’ behaviour across the school.  Training in this methodology is now mandatory for all staff at Heronsbridge. 

A school behaviour support team provides on-going support to staff and pupils. The team works alongside teachers and other professionals such as nurses, therapists, the school counsellor, assistant psychologist and Cardiff University psychology undergraduates (during their one-year placement at school).

To improve our effectiveness and efficiency in recording and analysing behaviour information the school adopted a web-based data management information system to support our behaviour programme.  Staff at the school worked closely with the original commercial company to develop and tailor a system to reflect our specific requirements.  In 2011, we introduced the new data management information system to replace the previous paper based method.  Staff now log records of all behaviour incidents on-line.  The system enables staff to record, monitor and track pupil behaviour in a consistent manner.  This includes antecedents, behaviours displayed and successful de-escalation strategies.

Senior management within the school receive automated emails as soon as incidents are logged, providing instant access to information.  Incidents recorded on the system are analysed on a weekly and monthly basis in order to highlight patterns and trends in behaviours. This has enabled us to identify and deliver specific training for staff to support the individual needs of pupils.  In addition it enables the school to effectively signpost pupils for additional interventions and therapies such as speech and language and occupational therapy.

What impact has this work had on provision and learners’ standards?

Since the introduction of this behaviour management package the number of serious incidents has reduced by 66% over a three year period.  Senior managers now accurately evaluate data on the impact of specific interventions on individual pupil outcomes. This information allows the school to identify and assess levels of risk in order to create specific and comprehensive personal support plans for pupils.  All incidents are monitored and discussed at senior management level and all serious incidents are debriefed by a senior leader.

The analysis of patterns of behaviour using the management information system helps staff gain greater understanding of the nature of difficulty a pupil may be experiencing.  Behaviour, in class and during unstructured times of the day, was reported by Estyn as being exemplary.

How have you shared your good practice?

The bespoke Heronsbridge package, including the management information system, has been adopted by other special schools.  In addition, a discussion forum has developed  across schools regarding the management of pupils’ behaviour.  

Staff have delivered lectures to teachers on systems of behaviour management as part of the SLD/PMLD diploma in SEN for Swansea Metropolitan University.