I am responsible for a range of areas linked to inclusion which includes behaviour management, special educational needs and therapeutic. I have worked at the academy for the past five years. Prior to this role I have worked in a number of teams, including Specialist CAMHS and have been a qualified psychologist for twenty years.
All students at Stephenson Academy have an Educational Health Care Plan (EHCP) with social, emotional and mental health difficulties as their primary need. We believe that all students are individual however their needs arise through a combination of factors related to social, emotional or medical issues and through addressing these issues and creating a community with clear expectations and consistently applied boundaries we can help the students in our care reach their full potential. We must prepare the students well for the challenges of living in the wider community once they leave the support of the school; therefore any positive impact must be long term and permanent. Through learning appropriate behaviour we believe students will:
- Achieve academically and gain the qualifications to be able to gain a college placement or job related to their interests and ambitions
- Maintain any job or college place over the long term
- Contribute positively to the community of the Academy
- Deal with the challenges of life rationally and thoughtfully reducing the likelihood of offending
- Be able to consider actions and consequences so helping the student stay safe
- Be able to reflect on their actions and make different choices so requiring less support in later life as the student becomes more independent
- Be able to develop successful and long term relationships and have a fulfilling family life, eventually leading to being a successful and capable parent
Long term change
At Stephenson Academy we recognise that long term behaviour change by definition takes time. We accept that students will, at times, fail in the short term but we will continue to encourage and coach our students to long term success. If a student does not succeed we recognise that, as well as imposing sanctions, it is equally important to discuss the nature of the mistake with the student and how he/she could act differently in the future for a more successful outcome. We will also work closely with parent[s]/carers and other agencies to try to ensure that the support given to students to improve their behaviour is not confined to school hours.
PROCEDURES AND METHODOLOGY
We believe in three strands to supporting students in improving their behaviour:
The first part of dealing with behaviour is to prevent the undesirable behaviour in the first place by understanding the underlying causes. Our measures include:
- An appropriate academic curriculum that meets the individual needs of the students
- Additional support in lessons from a high staff/student ratio
- One to one sessions from Learning Mentors to meet academic needs and develop skills to allow the student to access learning
- Assessment for therapeutic input
- Meeting the needs as outlined in the Education and Health Care Plan as well as regular reviews
- Delivering social skills interventions for targeted students.
- Utilising a restorative approach, in appropriate circumstances, to help the student develop their empathetic skills and emotional intelligence
- Developing strong staff/student relationships of mutual trust so that students can be sure that staff will always act in their best interests
- Clear expectations and classroom procedures which have been discussed with the Student Council and tutor groups
- Maintaining consistency in approach by rewards and sanctions being applied after a group debrief at the end of the school day
- Staff training to meet the identified needs of the staff in managing the population of the school and in becoming more successful and confident professionals. This is monitored and reviewed regularly through co-ordination with SLT.
- Regular staff supervision to support staff and identify common issues and problems for further action
To achieve the above there is co-ordinated planning between the areas of curriculum, behaviour and therapy to meet the needs of the student on entry and those that emerge subsequently. Stephenson Academy will also identify those for whom additional input is required from outside agencies or existing resources and target this support appropriately.
All rewards are considered by the staff group and the Student Council.
- Points and success assemblies. To encourage and reward change in the short, medium and long term there are a system of rewards based on points. The students are graded throughout the day and can achieve up to 20 points a lesson based on punctuality, behaviour, application and individual targets. There is also a system where merits can be awarded and banked. If a student has a good day and scores 170 points (out of a total of 200) they can stay to participate in the after school clubs. If a student achieves well for a week their success is celebrated at a success assembly and an opportunity to achieve a Gold, Silver or Bronze certificate.
Staff will also nominate a student of the week and most improved student of the week who will receive a certificate and £5 voucher.
- Every half term students who average the above points per week are able to go on one of 3 tiered trips with examples ranging from a meal out to going to a theme park.
Verbal praise and contact home
- Staff are also encouraged to deliver verbal praise whenever possible using the language of choice and to be specific in what they are praising.
- Tutors will also contact home to praise a particular behaviour or because it is decided at the debrief meeting that a student’s overall behaviour warrants it. Letters home may also be sent or automated text message.
- Students will also be considered for individual rewards for particular improvement or meeting set targets. These are approved first by SLT.
No sanction is applied without discussion with students as to why they received the sanction and what they can do to avoid future sanctions. The negative behaviour is levelled according to seriousness and response.
- Level 1: These are low level behaviours which are challenged by staff and unlikely to result in further action other than loss of points if the initial challenge is successful, for example calling out.
- Level 2: These are incidents of persistent disruption which may require further consideration at the debrief meeting or the student to work independently with a TA as well as loss of points.
- Level 3: These are incidents that require further follow up from the tutor or behaviour team. For example this would include verbal abuse towards staff and/or students.
- Level 4: These incidents could possibly result in the use of the inclusion unit (internal exclusion) or exclusion so will be referred to SLT. Examples include assault, damage over £100 etc.
While it is impossible to legislate for every situation as antecedents vary and the personal circumstances of the students can have a significant bearing on the decision the Academy makes re behaviour a list of possible sanctions can be accessed via the policy.
- It may be felt, in discussion with the therapeutic team, that a more supportive approach maybe more appropriate and this will be considered.
External exclusions are only considered for actions that have put the health and safety of the Academy community at risk and the SLT group feel there is no other appropriate response. If a student is excluded:
- Evidence will be collected, the student will be asked about the incident and the decision of the Academy explained.
- Parents informed of the decision, the context and the evidence with which the decision is made. They have the opportunity express their opinions and informed of their right of appeal. A letter is then sent out confirming details.
- Work will be provided for the student to complete for extended exclusions so they do not fall behind.
- A meeting may be arranged to discuss the incident and reintegration of the student to the Academy at which an adult with parental responsibility has to be present.
Recording, monitoring and planning
To aid the accurate recording and analysis of behaviour the Academy uses a bespoke behaviour recording and monitoring package provided by Behaviour Watch. This allows not only the accurate recording of incidents but the analysis of context, antecedents and responses. This then allows the Academy to evaluate the effectiveness of each intervention with each student and alter planning as necessary.
To ensure the needs of students are met each student has an integrated Pupil Profile covering all aspects of the care they receive at the Academy which ensure appropriate co-ordination between the 3 main aspects of their curriculum (learning, behaviour and therapeutic). This contains behaviour planning information and data which is regularly updated as the student makes progress or interventions change.
At the Academy we recognise that some of our students are more likely than most teenagers to misuse either drugs or alcohol. This can be because of a number of factors including self-medication, poor decision making or peer pressure. We believe that such substances play no part in our school and we must do our upmost to ensure that the students in our care are protected from their harmful effects. To help this we:
- Provide education on the dangers and hazards of substance misuse
- Ensure that the students have access to counselling and external agencies such as Compass if required
- Will take strong action against students who bring drugs or alcohol on site, which can extend to the involvement of the Police where appropriate
- Look at nature and frequency of any drug or alcohol abuse and consider if it is part of any child protection concerns
- Develop the confidence of young people to withstand peer pressure and make correct decisions
The Academy recognises that, at times, bullying will occur in the student community both on-site and via social media. We deplore such actions and will take strong action to prevent it. Many of our students have poor interpersonal skills and low emotional literacy which is often at the root of their bullying behaviour. To tackle bullying and its causes we:
- Ensure through the School Council and tutor time that students have a say in how bullying is dealt with
- Make clear statements as to what is bullying and what action will be taken
- Have appointed staff to be anti-bullying leads
- Developed the PSHE programme to include aspects of SEAL and emotional intelligence
- Ensure vulnerable students are carefully monitored and supported after incidents of bullying
- Use relationships of trust to encourage students to inform when bullying occurs
- Monitor and track incidents of bullying to identify common thread and antecedents and act on that information
- Keep parents informed of any actions taken and concerns
- Hold anti-bullying days designed to raise awareness and challenge bullying behaviour. Take part in national anti-bullying campaigns and events
- Encourage parents to report bullying direct to staff or by phone or email
- Endeavour to improve relationships between peers by using restorative approaches when appropriate
- Invested in theatre productions from specialist agencies to maximise student engagement
The Academy recognises that in order to maintain good order and the safety of staff and students it is a requirement for staff to physically intervene when there are no other options. As a result all staff are taught de-escalation and safe physical intervention techniques through the nationally recognised system of Team Teach. This training is regularly reviewed and provides the framework for any intervention. All physical interventions must pass the test that they are proportionate, appropriate and necessary. If there is a physical intervention the Academy:
- Will ensure that the staff and students involved are fully debriefed
- Parents are informed
- A detailed record of the incident is recorded and signed off by SLT within 24 hours
- Consideration is given as to whether the incident could have been avoided or prevented in the future
- Will analyse the nature of each incident to see if there is a pattern either of intervention, student, staff or antecedents to help inform future practice.
Deputy Principal Inclusion