Reducing challenging behaviour through positive management strategy

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Pupils uses laptop and shows good behaviour

Tŷ Bronllys School has developed a preventative approach to behaviour management, focusing on why incidents occurred and introducing a positive behaviour management strategy. Behaviour management training was integrated into all staff inductions, followed by access to an accredited qualification. Pupils are given an individual positive behaviour support plan, which includes guidance on how staff can meet their support needs. This has increased attendance, academic achievement and improved wellbeing for pupils.

Number of learners: 9

Age range: 8 - 19

Date of inspection: May 2018


Context and background to the effective or innovative practice

Ty Bronllys opened in 2006 and was the first school and children’s home under the umbrella organisation of Orbis Education and Care.  Its aim is to offer education and residential support to children with autism and challenging behaviour.  The school supports up to 13 residential and day pupils who have complex needs associated with autistic spectrum disorder.

In terms of its approach to behaviour management, the school focussed initially on risk management and safety which was appropriate given the nature of the challenging behaviours displayed by the pupils.  Staff received suitable training in physical interventions and were able to manage situations well.  However, there was little focus on monitoring incidents or educating staff in how to work in a preventative way.  There was no forum for multi-disciplinary team (MDT) discussions or collaborative working.  In essence, the work was reactive and did not promote reflective practice for the pupils or the staff.  Attendance and engagement was good but the school felt it could do better.

As the organisation grew and more schools opened, the director of education focused on trying to understand why incidents occurred and how staff could explore more preventative approaches.  The answer was clearly to develop a more strategic approach to  positive behaviour management across the school and residential setting.  

The board of directors and head of education worked closely to develop a shared vision and form a strategy to promote consistent approaches to behaviour management.  The school recruited a clinical team consisting of occupational therapy, speech and language, and specialist behaviour staff to work alongside education and residential staff.

To support the school-wide behaviour strategy, Orbis Education and Care integrated behaviour management training to all staff on induction, followed by access to an accredited qualification once they had completed their probationary period, and the opportunity to complete more advanced levels if it was felt appropriate.


Description of nature of strategy or activity

Positive approaches to behaviour management are accepted widely as effective practice when supporting pupils with a learning disability and associated needs.  They require a whole school approach to building a positive culture and a community which promotes and supports pupils’ achievements and successes.  This means the school has a no-sanctions policy and focuses on natural consequences that occur.  This is very different to a sanction-based approach where access to preferred activities or items may be withdrawn or denied as a consequence.  

Pupils have an individual positive behaviour support plan which is based on a functional analysis conducted by the school’s clinical team.  The plans focus on primary preventative strategies and include clear guidance on how to meet the sensory, communication and support needs of the young people.  All staff contribute to their development and review them regularly via the MDT meetings that are held on site.  Staff’s knowledge is checked through regular assessments to ensure understanding and consistent application of interventions.  These assessments also provide staff with a forum to take part in professional discussion with the clinical team and an opportunity to present their thoughts and opinions.  Clinical staff and residential care staff work in the school alongside education staff which further enhances collaborative working and informs the production of plans.

The impact of these approaches is then measured by the tracking and monitoring of incidents of challenging behaviour, the use of restrictive interventions, as well as pupil achievements and levels of engagement.  This data-based approach informs decision making. All information is shared at monthly MDT meetings where plans are discussed, with pupil and carer views sought and included in evaluations and review.  The involvement of all stakeholders has further improved outcomes and positive relationships.  For example, parents contribute to strategies detailed in the behaviour support plan and this has enabled more open communication between parents and staff members with a common goal of improving outcomes for the child.

Adopting this approach has fostered positive relationships and experiences supported by clear boundaries and expectations.  This has built trust and confidence between pupils and staff members and encouraged engagement and active participation through the school day.  This is also supported by comprehensive data analysis that shows trends in challenging behaviours, antecedents and environmental factors.

The school’s approach to behaviour support enables a more person-centred approach to learning with bespoke timetables that reflect the needs of the individual pupils, and increase positive experiences and engagement.  The ethos of the school is to recognise and celebrate every achievement no matter how small.  As a result, pupils learn to associate going to school with being happy and successful.


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

The school can demonstrate clearly through data analysis that incidents of challenging behaviour have reduced dramatically, along with the use of restrictive practices.  The multi-disciplinary approach to behaviour support has increased staff’s understanding of pupils’ often very complex needs and enabled all staff to deliver education and provide consistent support.  This has created structure and predictability which has reduced anxieties and incidents of challenging behaviour.  This has in turn increased attendance, academic achievement and wellbeing for pupils.  It has  strengthened relationships with parents as they now feel they have a voice and local education authorities can clearly see the overwhelming benefits of the school’s approach.  Finally, it has helped improve levels of staff wellbeing as the culture of a non-sanction, non-punitive based approach has developed. 


How have you shared your good practice

The director of education shares good practice through peer mentoring and partnership working with other schools and specialist colleges.  Data and outcomes are shared routinely with families, colleagues from health, social services and the local authority at annual reviews and during inspections.  Success stories are shared through the organisation via a monthly newsletter and on social media where consent is given.  The school has shared its work at national conferences.