We are a multi-disciplinary provision which works therapeutically with children with complex needs and their families. Children attend daily and have a structured school day with a full curriculum focus, as well as receiving formal and informal therapeutic input.
It is important that our curriculum reflects the needs of the children. Accordingly it has a strong PHSCE focus and is underpinned by our Behaviour Policy.
For all the children their behaviour is a significant aspect of their SEN profile and needs thinking about and planning for, in order to provide the necessary support. The children are also given behaviour targets in their Individual Care Plans (ICPs). Often ‘misbehaviour’ reflects a wish for attention in children who are less confident at getting what they need in a constructive way. At other times it may represent the expression of more complex anxieties or deep seated emotions. The philosophy of Gloucester House is that behaviour is communication and the management of behaviour is most likely to be successful when the communication can be understood.
The Behaviour Policy is carefully reviewed and revised with children, parents and staff and aims to support the personal development of children with emotional, social and mental health difficulties.
The primary task of the Behaviour Policy is to support the provision of a containing environment for all children and adults who work at Gloucester House. Linked with this is our belief that encouraging the capacity to reflect on one’s own behaviours and actions is possibly the single most important feature of our work.
- Respect yourself (and be kind to yourself)
- Respect others (and be kind to others)
- Learn from each day
- Listen to others
Our management of behaviour is underpinned by the following approaches and interventions:
We recognise that the child is part of many systems and our work will not be successful if we work with the child in isolation. Our multi-disciplinary team (MDT) works in a multi-disciplinary partnership with parents/carers, children and the outside system surrounding the child including professionals from education, health and social services. We have formal and informal links through meetings, review systems and regular Parent/Carer work, and we use the rich multi-disciplinary understanding of the children to inform the way support the individual needs of each child.
Many of the children have individual, group or family therapies. These give regular space where issues underlying thoughts and feelings in behaviour can be explored. In addition to this we aim to have a therapeutic understanding of a child’s behaviour and provide a therapeutic milieu which can provide containing spaces for these issues to be explored in everyday interactions.
The nursing approach at Gloucester House uses a psychosocial framework with a primary focus on “working alongside” children and education staff in attending to the day to day social and emotional functioning within the unit. The nursing framework uses a multi-modal approach drawing upon psychodynamic, cognitive behavioural, systemic and group theory. The overarching aim is to develop and attend to the therapeutic milieu of the unit alongside developing specific individualised interventions around managing and understanding challenging behaviour, within the context of the child, family and the wider system.
Specific nursing interventions include individual, group and family work which aim to compliment the more formal therapies and specialist education. Within these there is an emphasis on interpersonal functioning, group dynamics and developing insight into challenging behaviour. These interventions also aim to support the capacity for forming meaningful therapeutic attachments and to promote emotional containment. In addition to the therapeutic work with children, nursing also offers regular reflective spaces for Progress Support Workers (PSWs) to explore the complex dynamics and emotional impact of the work for both the individual and group.
We have a clear and consistent system of Rules, Rewards and Consequences. The rules were drawn up with children initially but we have kept the same 4 rules over time as they encompass our principles and address the behaviours exhibited by the children. We are clear in our instructions and use positive language to remind children of our expectations and to point out children who are following rules. We use individual and class reward systems that are directly linked to keeping the rules and working towards the children’s personal targets.
At the end of every lesson children are encouraged to reflect on their own work and behaviour. “Stamp time” provides an opportunity to have an open and reflective discussion which is non-judgemental about strengths and difficulties individuals have had in the session. Major incidents will result in the child being asked to complete some behaviour reflection work with a member of staff. We work with the child to link behaviour to thoughts and feelings as well as exploring the range of options and how things could be different the next time. If more than one child has been involved we will often use ‘I Time’ which encourages children to empathise and hear one another’s point of view. We also use role play with children to give them the opportunity to practice how they could do things differently.
A holistic behaviour management system which focuses on using techniques for de-escalation of volatile situations including safe physical management to contain and calm situations. At Gloucester House we endeavor to work alongside children to support them in developing the capacity to understand and hold themselves emotionally and physically, and use safe physical management only when children are struggling to manage to do this. Team Teach also recognises the importance of de-briefing for staff and pupils after a difficult situation. All staff are expected to participate in an initial Team Teach training, and then receive regular refresher and recertification training.
Each child has a PHP (Positive Handling Plan) that is set up during the assessment period and regularly reviewed by staff (both educational and clinical), children and parents/carers. (See Care & Control Policy.)
Support for staff as individuals and groups
we recognise working with children with complex needs can be stressful. We provide support for staff individually through regular reflective practice sessions and as a group through whole team meeting, facilitated staff group, core teams and child review meetings. During these meetings we spend some time exploring the meaning of children’s behaviour and our responses to it
The PSHCE Curriculum
We have a PSHCE curriculum specifically tailored to pupils with social, emotional and mental health difficulties. We work with the children to include all National Curriculum requirements during PHSCE weeks. We also place significant emphasis on PHSCE during all of our school week.
Children’s behaviour targets are displayed and regularly referred to. Assemblies and circle times often focus on issues of how we conduct ourselves and treat one another.
Breakfast, lunch and play times are seen as crucial parts of our behaviour curriculum. The staff are expected to use these times as an important part of social learning for the pupils. Group games and activities are planned for most of the supervised outdoor play sessions (see PHSCE Policy).
- Circle times with different focus on different days.
- Structured playtimes which are adult led with a focus on encouraging children to take part in competition, cooperation and team work.
- The option of indoor or outdoor play.
- Structured breakfast and lunch to develop children’s social skills.
- Meetings at a class level or whole school level, where an issue is raised and discussed and resolved as a group.
- Community Meeting
- Wellbeing Sessions
- Certificates and positive notes home
Other factors that promote positive behaviour:
- Appropriate planning and curriculum (see Teaching & Learning/Curriculum Policies) for the children’s Special Educational Needs.
- Stopping lessons if necessary to meet or have a circle time/class meeting – including games,
- Well organised classrooms with clearly labeled resources.
- A ‘nurtured’ environment with good display of the children’s work.
- Good timekeeping.
- Consistent routines – especially transitions; including planning about staffing for these times.
- A folder of ‘behaviour’/feelings reflection sheets.
- Structured adult lead playtimes.
- Keeping aware of own feelings/communicating with others if need help (see Team Teach) and removing oneself for ‘time out’ if necessary.
- Finding things to like about all children.
- Encourage group/paired activities.
- Increase children’s participation/responsibilities in decision making (e.g. meetings/school council/classroom responsibilities).
- Model appropriate behaviour – e.g. don’t be afraid to say sorry or admit mistakes.
- Have high expectations (with work and behaviour).
- Working in partnership with other colleagues and parents. Being able to ask for help.
- Maintain professional boundaries, being playful but not engaging in ‘banter’.
- An emphasis on positive approaches, telling children what you want to see rather than what you do not. e,g, “can you put your feet on the floor” instead of “stop climbing”.
Bullying and bullying prevention:
- See ‘Prevention and Tackling of Bullying’ for detail.
- Bullying at Gloucester House is taken very seriously and we always aim to help the children to think about what is behind the behaviour in the same way as other behaviours.
- We see bullying as a community issue and usually take a community approach to dealing with it. If there is group bullying we often hold class meetings or whole unit meetings to discuss it from a community approach.
- Children will have sanctions/consequences within the consequences system.
- Proactive work to preempt bullying is done through work on friendship and relationships and developing buddy relationships for new children.
Duties and responsibilities:
Process of decision making around behaviour:
- All Gloucester House staff are responsible for working within the behaviour policy and teaching behaviour explicitly and implicitly.
- Children and adults at Gloucester House have a responsibility to pay attention to and reflect on their own and others behaviour.
- Parents/carers are invited to work with the Gloucester House staff towards a consistent approach in the management of their children.
- Senior staff & case coordinators will determine which behaviour require liaison with home or external agencies.
- The SLT has ultimate responsibility for the operation of the policy.
Rules/Rewards and Consequences:
We have a small number of rules regularly reviewed by staff in consultation with the children.
- Respect each other’s differences and cultures.
- Keep hands, feet and objects safe.
- Follow staff’s instructions.
- Be Tidy, everything has its place.
There are also additional rules, routines and customs for particular areas or activities (see appendices).
Praise: Children are praised verbally for keeping the rules, helping others, managing their anger, work related etc. We believe that consistent focus and clear feedback on positive behaviour supports the emotional, social and behavioural development of our children. Thus we try to be thoughtful and specific about the praise we give. We work on a principle of good practice being that a member of staff should make 3 positive comments within the group before redirecting one of the children.
Positive notes/phone calls: When children have had a good day, or something specific they have achieved well in, they receive a positive phone call or a positive note home from the class teacher.
Stamp charts: Each child has an individual stamp chart where stamps are rewarded for good behaviour and good work. The stamp chart is used daily and children can be awarded up to 2 stamps for work and 2 stamps for behaviour in each work session. They can be awarded 1 stamp for each play and mealtime. The stamp chart is part of encouraging a reflective approach with the children & needs to be done at the end of each lesson. Once the stamp chart is completed the child receives a gold certificate and credit up to £2.50 in their bank book. This can be exchanged for toys/books on a weekly basis from the Gloucester House shop.
In addition to this being a reward system it also has the focus of teaching children to understand the concepts and principles of earning, saving and spending money, i.e. developing the skills needed for future economic well-being.)
Targets: Children set at least 2 daily targets each day at breakfast time. One target focuses on work and the other on behaviour. These are monitored and evaluated throughout the day by the children themselves. Children review through a traffic light system i.e. red – not achieved, yellow – partially achieved, green – achieved. When targets are achieved children are rewarded with a sticker on their sticker chart. Once this sticker chart is completed they will receive £1 in their bank books.
The target sheets are also part of our partnership work with parents/carers and go home daily. They are returned the following day and filed by the class teacher as part of our monitoring.
Targets, where possible, should be S.M.A.R.T (specific, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-limited) some examples of behaviour targets that might be used:
- I can achieve 15 ticks for using words that help and not hurt
- I can manage my feelings using drawing as a way to help me
- I can stay in the place I am meant to be for slots of 10 minutes
- I can follow 15 instructions today
- I can start my work when asked
- I can start my work within 10 minutes
- I can work with others at the computer
- I can ask for help
- I can complete work in every session today
Earning the privilege of wearing your shoes:
As part of our restraint reduction strategy we have a specific reward system whereby children can earn the right to wear their shoes in school (an idea that came from and was supported by the children through the student voice). In order to ‘earn this privilege they have to:
- ‘Hold their own body’: to keep their body safe from harm to themselves or others.
- Come back inside of the building at the end of playtime and following scheduled outdoor activities.
The child has to do this for 5 consecutive days to ‘earn their shoes. There is also a mechanism to encourage them to persist with the expectation; for each additional 5 days they receive 10 bonus stamps in their stamps folder see previous section (5.6). To track the children’s progress we use a visual strategy (see appendix 8)
This visual accompaniment features ten coloured squares which each represent one school day, and together comprise two school weeks. Each child is represented by a miniature ‘token’ of a pair of socks which are individually labelled with a child’s initials. Following the successful completion of each day whereby a child has managed to fulfil the expectations listed above, this sock token is advanced one square forward. In the event that the child does not meet either of the expectations, their token will be moved back to the chequered ‘starting grid’ square. The token should be moved during ‘stamps and targets’ at the end of the school day. By preference the class team will support the children to take responsibility for moving their token.
Stickers & certificates
Stickers are awarded for outstanding pieces of work or behaviour, for individual and group achievements.
Certificates are awarded in the weekly assembly on a Thursday. This is also a time when children bring and share work.
Each class has a Magic Square sheet. Teachers and children need to decide a focus / target for magic square sheet. Magic Squares are filled in when the class have been fulfilling the agreed focus / target or when all children are on task/working well together throughout a lesson. When 50 magic squares are achieved the class agree a treat. The class will plan together a reward they might like, e.g. a visit to a park, pizza or ice cream, extra playtime etc.
Staff can also award magic squares when children are ‘caught being good’ giving staff an opportunity to notice and reward a child for the positive things they do at their own level.
One of the tasks of Gloucester House is to promote self-reflection on both positive and challenging behaviours. Restorative approaches and scope for reparation are crucial.
Although it is important to have a clear system and structure there are times when adults need to be flexible with sanctions and take an individual needs led approach. The most important aspect of this is that children see adults having a dialogue that supports their development. It may often be helpful to include them in this dialogue.
Before giving children warnings it is important to use positive redirection and ensure there has been clarity about expectations.
If this is not successful and the child is deliberately ignoring instruction, examples of good practice are:
- Give a warning and repeat instructions
- Give a second warning and repeat instructions
- At this point there are several options and all staff must be mindful of individual children’s PHPs.
- PI (Planned Ignoring) – ignoring low level disruptive behavior, to minimize reinforcement of disruptive attention seeking; focusing instead on reinforcing the positive behaviour of others with attention and encouragement.
- Timers are used to provide children with “take up time” (give them a period where they are left to recover before returning to work), timing children to then make time up at play, or encourage them to remain on task.
- Removal from class/time out (see details later)
- Attend consequences at playtime
- Money off bank book for damage to property
- Work out of class on a 1:1 (Recovery Time)
- Call a class meeting
- Call a whole unit meeting
- Meeting with children and staff
- Phone call home
- Letter home
- Send home
- Half day
- Meeting with child/staff and family
What happens at playtime if children have consequences?
- Behaviour reflection/writing out the rule that has been broken (written/verbal)
- “I Time” with another child or adult
- Circle Time/Role Play/meeting
- Completion of work
- Say sorry
- Write a letter or card
- Taking some calming, reflective time with a timer, colouring or other mindful strategy.
The following behaviours usually result in consequences at playtime; miss of play for morning play or miss of first half of play at lunch play (there may be exceptions):
- Hitting or hurting another child/adult
- Throwing furniture
- Racism/homophobic/misogynistic/sexist/transphobic language (see protected characteristics)
- Persistent refusal to keep within health & safety rules of Gloucester House
- Absconding (children will not be followed but parents/carers informed, followed by indoor play, – (meeting with senior staff)
- Dangerous climbing
- Damage to property
- Persistent disruption of teaching & learning
- Verbal abuse
The adult running consequences will decide if a child has completed their consequence and can return to class or have play.
Extreme and persistent challenging behaviours
Due to the complex nature of the behavioural challenges in Gloucester House we have an incremental system to manage persistent and repetitive behavioural concerns (see Addendum 1).
The aim of all our interventions to provide the opportunity for reflection on the challenging behaviours, involvement of parents/carers and the wider system where appropriate and suitable reparation.
Time out of class/recovery time
Time out of class is a decision made by the class teacher in consultation with other staff members, other children or the child. Children may need time out or recovery time as a result of a difficult incident and/or due to disruption to the class group.
It can range from a period of a session, to a morning, lunchtime or afternoon. It provides the child with time out or a space to reflect on an incident, make reparation, to think about how to re-join the group or to catch up on work.
The teacher in consultation with the child and PSW decides if the child is ready and able to re-join the class.
The child should not re-join the class until a conversation between the class teacher and the member of staff supervising the recovery time has taken place.
It is helpful if the child has a tick list of things to be achieved in a recovery time (see appendix 7)
Children are encouraged to use the Pod independently and will go with or without an adult.
The may sit quietly or shout, kick and punch the equipment provided for a release. Sometimes if there is persistent, challenging behaviour we may need to use positive handling/ restraint to move a child away from a risky situation and the POD is used as a safe place for the child to calm down. Our aim is to ensure an adult stays with a child during this period.
However there are times when a child may need to be on their own in the POD, and the POD door needs to be held shut. This only happens when a child is causing significant risk of harm to the adult looking after them. At all times a staff member will wait outside the pod until it is safe enough to open the door. Sometimes a swap of staff enables the child to calm quickly.
An incident form needs to be filled in if a child is in the POD for an extended period.
The children are encouraged to use sensory strategies in the pod to self-regulate (see Zones of Regulation).
The following behaviours may result in an external exclusion:
- Serious assaults on staff or other children.
- Serious damage to property.
- Serious verbal abuse including in relation to the protected characteristics enshrined in law
- Persistent behaviours
The reasons for excluding children are as follows
- A chance for a child to reflect away from the Gloucester House
- Setting a boundary for behaviours that are beyond what is tolerable in Gloucester House.
- A time out/’space’ for Gloucester House Staff/children.
- A message to other children.
- Timeout of Gloucester House may be required to enable the network to meet to renegotiate the treatment plan.
- An exclusion occasionally benefits or ‘teaches’ the child but must be a very considered and thought out decision.
Guidelines for exclusions
- Exclusions are the statutory responsibility of the head teacher delegated to the head of service and the DHTs (the Operational Management Team) in consultation with case coordinators/members of Senior Leadership Team (SLT).
- Exclusions are accompanied by an official exclusion letter.
- Work is provided for the period the child is not in Gloucester House.
- A re-entry meeting takes place before the child returns. The child is expected to bring their work to this meeting.
- Parents/carers are informed by telephone before the letter is sent.
- Wherever possible alternatives such as home education, a child being brought in by a Parent/Carer must be considered. It is also helpful to involve parents/carers in a dialogue about the appropriate next step after a very serious incident.
As part of their induction all staff are given at least 6 hours Team Teach training and the 12 hour training is provided ASAP.
Regular Team Teach Refreshers also take place within the term.
Other important training for teachers and PSWs is conducted through staff meetings, Inset Days, reflective practice sessions and Core Teams. Informal training is also conducted through modeling by more experienced staff and the reflective, evaluative framework of our daily debriefing sessions.
Other support/training for staff:
- Daily debriefing
- Individual/group reflective practice
- Additional debriefs can be requested by staff after a particularly difficult incident and should be encouraged
- Learning from experience meetings
- Internal CPD Programme
Process for monitoring compliance with the policy
Incidents are monitored, data is gathered and information is fed back to parents/carers, children, case coordinators, parent workers, therapists, mainstream schools and any other agencies involved.
Staff through regular evaluation, systemised and otherwise, reflect on, challenge and encourage pupils to develop an understanding of their own behaviour.
We also address issues around behaviour, emotions and social skills through a tailored PSHCE curriculum for children with emotional, social and mental health difficulties.
The SLT and the steering group is responsible for the overview, monitoring and reviewing of this policy. They also have responsibility to ensure that relevant people and documents are consulted and referred to in the process of formulating and implementing the policy.
We involve stakeholders through regular meetings/contact with parents/carers, mainstream colleagues, case coordinators and between colleagues within the Gloucester House.
This policy works alongside the following documents and relevant policies outlined below:
- Care & Control Policy and Procedures
- Special Education Need (SEN) & Policy & Procedures for Annual Reviews
- Health and Safety Policy (local)
- Attendance (for pupils) Policy
- Teaching & Learning/Curriculum Policy
- Assessment, Recording & Reporting Policy
- Personal, Social and Health Education (PSHCE) Policy
- Equal Opportunities Policy (Trust-wide) Policy
- Positive Handling Plan