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For all of us, enjoying positive, supportive relationships in our daily lives is key to our happiness and fulfilment. Moreover, having positive, supportive relationships is essential, not just for personal fulfilment, but for us to be able to fulfil our school aim:-
“Building a lifelong love of learning in a safe and happy school”
Learning can be acquired, but to love learning requires fascination, inquisitiveness, joy and excitement. For all our young learners, this comes from staff and parents giving a great deal of thought to the nature and quality of children’s learning experiences. Careful attention must be given to factors which motivate, engage, and build social and emotional skills and confidence.
The confidence to feel safe and happy at school is based on trust and warmth generated by our team of dedicated professionals who genuinely care about every child, that child’s family, and about one another.
At a staff workshop in June 2013, colleagues were asked to express the essence of our school culture, “what we stand for”, giving an immediate response, a gut feeling as it were, and using single words and phrases. Repetition reflects the number of people choosing that word:-
creativity creativity fantastic real life learning experiences like FS2 café learning experience awe wonder enjoyment daring support for the arts life skills good planning a head teacher who always backs her staff and all their crazy ideas achievement success high standards inclusion inclusive outstanding above and beyond going the extra mile over and above celebration celebration parental pride in their children pride interaction between children and their parents parental support parents and governors wowed by what their children can do in performances staff and parents tearful with emotion, i.e. moved by children parents surprised at seeing their children’s independence caring warm approachable love safe happy smiles confidence nurture relief generous everybody wanting each other to succeed respect welcoming welcoming friendship friendly community community school ‘family’ sense of community unity togetherness teamwork teamwork teamwork teamwork working together team spirit pulling together supportive supportive support support
It can be seen that the degree of consensus is high about what we believe important. Furthermore, everything we say we stand for, can only come about if rooted in positive relationships across the whole school community.
The purpose of having a Relationships Policy
We all have feelings, sometimes strong ones, but how we behave in response to our feelings, is a choice.
Making good choices consistently in how we behave isn’t always easy for any one of us. It can be particularly difficult for young children who are still at the early stages of making sense of their own feelings, and have limited experience of understanding and empathising with others.
Managing our relationships by behaving respectfully and with empathy replaces the need for a Behaviour Policy, thus this Relationships Policy takes its place.
This policy sets out the behaviours we expect of everyone involved in school life; the children and all the adults that support them. Those expectations are founded upon genuine affection for our children, and upon care, courtesy and mutual respect for all. In every day life at school, we describe our expectations as our values.
In this policy we set out the practical details of how we intend to live out our values. It focuses primarily on relationships with and between children, our whole raison d’etre as an infant school. It also provides a framework for us as adults, in order that the supportive teamwork we believe in so strongly, can allow creativity and success to flourish and make sure Loughton Manor is truly a safe and happy school for all.
Promoting and fostering positive relationships
Positive relationships are established from the first contact with Loughton Manor First School:
In considering our adult-to-adult relationships, it can be very helpful to bear in mind a model of full Functional Fluency (Susannah Temple 2002) in order to help us frame our interactions in a positive manner and communicate well:
The corner elements each have a positive and negative mode. The positive modes are the effective way of using the elements. This is how we communicate well.
We are all human, however, and on a bad day will slip into bad habits, using the negative modes and reacting rather than responding to others. The thing to try to remember is that this can be counter-productive. However, we all try hard to support one another, so that if someone is having an uncharacteristic ‘bad day’ we would hope to ‘cut them a bit of slack’, and continue to respond rather than escalate by further reactive behaviour.
A core part of our teaching is to help our children learn to manage their feelings, and consequently their behaviour. Our ideal is to create a restorative climate with ‘self managing’ behaviour, which makes the difference between ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ behaviour.
We have agreed that positive relationships are based on mutual knowledge, respect and shared values:
To do this we use a restorative framework. This involves employing communication practices that are inclusive, building integrity and dignity for everyone; staff, pupils, parents and the wider community. They are communications in which adults:
We believe self-discipline will grow and develop where pupils are actively involved in their learning and have opportunities to make decisions. Giving young children responsibility for their own behaviour encourages them to take risks, make mistakes and thus develop management of their actions. It's important to emphasise that it is the child's choice how to behave.
As a school we aim to view behaviour in terms of appropriate and inappropriate rather than good or bad. We seek to administer sanctions, which we describe as consequences, rather than to punish.
Consistency of approach by all members of the school community is essential for successful behaviour management. Our whole school restorative approach will include the common usage of appropriate language, and incorporates assertive discipline to support calm, objective interactions and positivity. See Appendix 1.
The school actively discourages any form of unacceptable behaviour such as teasing, bullying, racism or sexism, and always tackles any such issues promptly and thoroughly. Using restorative conversations consistently and conscientiously helps minimise unacceptable behaviour.
To help pupils to learn what is appropriate, staff actively encourage children to play adventurously but to make good choices when assessing risk.
Keeping restorative practices at the fore is essential when supporting the development of positive relationships, and in challenging unacceptable interactions. Ongoing training and staff discussion is needed to keep improving our practice. Summary information is displayed on the staff noticeboard. Staff are encouraged to seek advice from our lead practitioners, Janice Coleman, Penny Smith and Daniela Thompson, or from Lizzie Bancroft. Basic guidance is as follows:
Conversations and Informal Meetings
A Positive Learning Environment
To build a positive learning environment, both children and adults need to work together to establish and sustain a culture of responsibility and co-operation. Features of an effective environment include:
Adults in school model and teach positive behaviour to make sure children understand what we mean. All practitioners respectfully make children aware of times when class or group listening is required.
All staff use the detailed Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) and Personal, Social, Citizenship and Health Education (PSCHE) Scheme of Work as a common basis for teaching behaviour management. Agreed whole school themes for each half term are addressed in assemblies and Circle times.
Strategies used by school staff are numerous and broadly categorised into least to most intrusive, and always within a restorative framework. See Appendix 5.
The most successful interaction with pupils is when it refers to our values and is therefore not directly aimed at the pupil personally. Staff actively look for opportunities to offer praise and encouragement to reinforce positive behaviour.
Examples of rewards/positive strategies to teach and encourage good behaviour, and possible consequences of inappropriate behaviour, can be found in Appendix 6. However, there are two phrases we use consistently and frequently throughout the school:
Additionally we have three strategies for gaining children’s silence and attention:
For some children it will be necessary for them to have a 'Behaviour Plan' to help them to manage their behaviour. This will be put in place by staff, parents and the child working together. Advice and support is available from the Inclusion Manager, Headteacher and LA Inclusion and Intervention Team (SEND).
More serious / repeated misdemeanours
Repeated incidents or more serious inappropriate behaviour will entail involvement of the Headteacher or a Senior Member of Staff. Parents will be informed at this time.
An Incident log will be kept in the case of repeated inappropriate behaviour.
For further or persistent poor behaviour parents will be involved and frequent /regular oral communication between parents, teacher /Headteacher and pupil may be necessary.
Persistent or particularly serious misbehaviour will entail more prolonged consequences given by teachers or Headteacher, and close communication with parents to inform them of the situation, and involve them.
It is always to be hoped that a positive result will be reached, that the behaviour is rectified and that there is no recurrence.
In the event of extremely poor or dangerous behaviour parents will be informed and governors will be involved.
If all the above procedures prove to be ineffective the offending pupil may be excluded with the agreement of the governors. This is seen as the last option.
On rare occasions it is necessary for physical intervention to prevent a pupil causing injury or damage, or causing disruption. See Appendix 7 for specific guidance on the use of force to control or restrain pupils.
We acknowledge that young children will argue, squabble or even on occasion hurt one another within the ‘normal’ range of learning to manage their behaviour and developing their social skills. We constantly seek to address this through our PSCHE curriculum and commitment to restorative practice.
However, ‘bullying’ is distinct from this. It is when there is persistent, targeted unkind behaviour. It is an issue we take seriously, and will always challenge. It is important that we agree what bullying is, and that all staff follow our policy in dealing with it.
Bullying can be:-
Physical: Pushing, hitting, other forms of violence and threats
Verbal: Name-calling, sarcasm, teasing, spreading rumours, deliberately hurtful remarks (nb verbal bullying can be spoken or written*)
Non-verbal: Pulling faces, threatening looks or gestures
Emotional: Exclusion, tormenting, ridicule, humiliation
Racist: Racial taunts, graffiti, gestures.
*Cyberbullying: text messages, use of social networks, emails etc as a form of verbal and/or emotional bullying. See the school’s E safety policy for further guidance.
We encourage children always to tell an adult. It is important that the child can trust us to pursue the matter thoroughly. Specifically we will:
To minimise the potential for bullying, staff will:
We work to the Milton Keynes Council guidance for schools in dealing with racist incidents and our school’s Racial Equality Policy. This includes keeping a record of the same, Whilst there is no longer a reporting to LA requirement, we need to continue to take seriously and actively challenge any racism, however minor. (Appendix 3, record).
Monitoring and Evaluation
The effectiveness of our Relationships Policy will be informally assessed at our annual September Inset whole school refresher training and policy review. Further monitoring and evaluation will be within the remit of the Nurture Team, a curriculum team which meets termly. Their annual SIP Action Plan will identify aspects for development/improvement that help to support and sustain our culture of positive relationships across our school community.
This policy will be reviewed annually in the Autumn Term as close to the start of the academic year as possible.
Appendix 1: Guidelines of our whole school approach to ‘Assertive Discipline’
Appendix 2: Playground Behaviour Plan
Appendix 3: Form for reporting Racist Incidents
Appendix 4: Our Recipe for a Happy School
Appendix 5: Strategies for Managing Behaviour
Appendix 6: Examples of Rewards and Possible Consequences of Inappropriate Behaviour
Appendix 7: Use of Force to Control or Restrain Pupils
Guidelines of our whole school approach to ‘Assertive Discipline’
We use assertive discipline within the context of restorative practices, as set out in the Relationships Policy.
“To assert” can be defined as “to state or affirm positively, assuredly, plainly or strongly”.
It is not about being “bossy”, “aggressive” or “loud”.
An assertive member of staff sends a very clear message to their students that:
“I am committed to being the leader in this classroom, a leader who will establish an environment where I can teach and my students can learn. To reach this goal, I am committed to teaching and empowering my students to choose the responsible behaviour that will allow them to succeed in school, and succeed later in life.”
Facts that make Assertive Discipline a necessity
So what do students need?
The aim for students and teachers is a win:win situation.
A POSITIVE BEHAVIOUR PLAN
VALUES AGREED AND UNDERSTOOD
POSITIVE RECOGNITION (REWARDS)
VALUES must be CLEAR
REWARDS must INCLUDE THE CHILDREN’S IDEAS
CONSEQUENCES must be APPROPRIATE
CONSISTENCY of consequences is essential.
GIVE THINKING TIME whilst acting promptly
SEVERITY is not important. Lengthy periods sitting in the corridor or library is not necessary or appropriate – 1 or 2 minutes is just as effective. Consider giving the child a timer to remind you when the 2 minutes is up. This can usefully prompt a restorative conversation in which the child takes responsibility.
Teaching Responsible Behaviour
The aim is to get children to slow down and think before they act. Disruptive pupils tend to act immediately, impulsively, as a response to what they feel. We need to create time for their adrenalin level to settle down.
We teach responsible behaviour in the manner that we need to teach academic subjects.
(Learn to do it, not because I told you so, but because it is contextually relevant. However, we need to be age appropriate, eg in FS1 there is a lot of ‘telling’ needed)
We cannot make assumptions about understanding. Inappropriate behaviour is not necessarily ‘misbehaviour’ intended to be disruptive or negative – they may just not know yet how to behave.
Descriptive – the facts, meaning
Reflective – why important
Speculative – what would happen if? What would you feel if?
That less and less feedback is needed as children gain the confidence and understanding to become consistently positive and self-managing
Your classroom positive behaviour plan must be underpinned by an engaging curriculum, sound classroom organisation and clear task instructions.
Children need to know what they need to do and most importantly why (WALT and WILF!)
Get children to repeat what they have to do. They often listen better to peers.
Establish signal for attention
If necessary re-teach.
‘Silence’ – do you really mean it when you ask for it?
The children need help to develop these and learn how to use them. Displays such as pictures, graphs or a ‘noisometer’ pointer can help.
Teacher must have signs known by all to indicate ‘listening time’. It must be uniform, consistent and mandatory. Egs are a drum or tambourine; raised hand signal, a song or chant; clapped rhythm
An important point to remember:
Most children we teach can, with a lot of support learn to use their ‘thinking brain’ before they act. There are a very few who will continue to use their ‘emotional brain’ first and these are cases which require outside support agencies and individual behaviour plans.
In these cases we need to be explicit with the other children about why an individual is being responded to outside the agreed plan, and explain how we are going to help.
It is important to be open and honest with them.
Playground Behaviour Plan
We have an agreed lunchtime plan so that all children are able to eat their lunch and play happily and safely
Restorative Conversation with an outcome that takes responsibility to put things right
1 minute on wall to think
3 minutes walking round with Teacher/Midday Playworker
SEVERE CLAUSE – Teacher and/or Senior Manager involved – a further Restorative Conversation takes place
Ensure class teacher informed of severe clause + and actions
(parents will be involved if this happens repeatedly)
Our Recipe for a Happy School – Our Value System
These statements form the basis of our shared values, and are used as a start point when agreeing class values in the children’s own, age appropriate wording.
They are displayed around the school as a reminder and to underpin explanation of how we act out our values.
We are kind and thoughtful.
We tell the truth.
We behave politely towards everybody.
We are gentle in our words and our actions.
We care for the safety of others at all times.
We walk quietly in school.
We come to school to learn and work.
We look after equipment and resources.
The following range of strategies is not exhaustive but comprises strategies from least to most intrusive. Intrusiveness can be described as the degree of disruption it causes on an individual or class level i.e. the degree to which teaching and learning is interrupted.
Least to Most Intrusive
'the look', moving closer, visual prompts, the touch
Planned method of dealing with a specific undesired behaviour that is discussed with a pupil later
Simple, calm statement of fact describing the inappropriate behaviour. "John, you are talking"
Simple, clear statement of desired behaviour using “please”, and always followed by “thank you”. Using “thank you” implies compliance.
This reminds the pupils of what they should be doing and avoids getting involved in a discussion about what they are doing wrong. e.g. "We need you to..."
Re-state the relevant value/expectation "When we go into the hall we..."
Asking a prompt question to show that inappropriate behaviour has been noticed, "What's happening here?"
When compliance is not gained immediately and the low level behaviours continue, insist on what is required by using the 'broken record' or ‘dripping tap’ technique. This is a calm, repeated statement of the direction using the pupil's name and 'thanks' at the end. The language remains unchanged until the instruction is followed.
This enables a pupil to take responsibility for his/her actions. "Sally, if you continue to disturb John, you are choosing to work alone."
If the range of strategies above do not have the desired effect we have in place an exit plan. Every class has an identified 'Time Out' system e.g. a 'thinking place'. After a time out, a follow up meeting with the child sets the expectations for re-entry into the classroom.
Examples of rewards/positive strategies to teach and encourage good behaviour
Be smiled at and noticed. Thumbs up.
Staff actively looking out for opportunities to offer praise and explaining what it is that is being praised.
Receive incentive sticker and /or merit/ commendation certificate.
Be given a special job.
Earn agreed group /class reward (e.g. via bead, marble, ‘smiley’ tally).
Be given public acclaim for good work in class and at assembly.
Be praised in assembly for “Special Achievement”.
Be encouraged to show “Special Achievement” certificate to parent.
Show work to another teacher /Head /other children.
Have work displayed.
Modelling of appropriate behaviour, by staff and/or peers.
Use of photographs to illustrate desired behaviour
Send certificate or card home in the post
Share successes with parents informally eg home time conversations
Possible consequences of inappropriate behaviour.
Eye contact, (a ‘look’).
Hand on shoulder.
Repetition of instruction, (‘I need you to ….’).
Verbal correction by immediate adult concerned, making sure that the desirable behaviour is explained (and modelled when appropriate).
Verbal correction by Head / Assistant Head.
Writing a letter to apologise.
Loss of freedom to choose where to sit. This will normally be preceded by time needed to practice doing what the child should have been doing. i.e. “another chance”. In assembly this may be to move to sit near an adult, or to sit on the bench at the side.
Withdrawal of privileges for measured periods of time (e.g. 5 minutes loss of break time. During this time children may be given jobs to do in school to help the class teacher, but be careful - this could be a reinforcer! They might enjoy this consequence.)
Being sent inside during break /lunchtimes.
Consequences will always be used progressively, except in situations where pupils might be a danger to themselves or others, when the ‘severe clause’ would be implemented. (See Appendix 2 Playground Behaviour Plan, and Appendix 1 for detail and guidance).
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