5-Steps To Effective Whole School Behaviour Training

5-Steps To Effective Whole School Behaviour Training

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Putting together a training programme related to behaviour and SEMH that actually makes a difference in the classroom is hard! And no one wants to invest time and money in training that won't work.

In this episode of School Behaviour Secrets, we give you a simple, 5-step process for planning out your SEMH training programme across the entire year - so it has real impact on the teachers and students in your school.

Important links:

Behaviour 360: https://beaconschoolsupport.co.uk/behaviour_360.php

Inner Circle (Whole School Access): https://beaconschoolsupport.co.uk/inner_circle_for_schools.php

Join our FREE Classroom Management and Student Behaviour FB Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/school.behaviour

Download other FREE behaviour resources for use in school: https://beaconschoolsupport.co.uk/resources.php

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Show notes / transcription

Simon Currigan  0:00  

Step one is to make sure our behaviour policy is clear and concise. Why? Well, our school behaviour policy is the foundation stone for all of the training and support that we're going to offer our staff. So it's worth taking a step back and making sure that we've got it right. 

Hi there, and welcome to another episode of school behaviour secrets. Because you rang us before popping around to Behaviour Towers, we sent out the butler for cake. My name is Simon Currigan. And I'm here as ever with my co host, Emma Shackleton. Hi there, Emma.

Emma Shackleton  1:10  

Hi there. So in today's show, we're going to look at five steps to effective school behaviour training, we're going to give you a process to planning a year's worth of training about behaviour and social emotional and mental health needs that will lead you to genuine change in the classroom.

Simon Currigan  1:28  

But first, I want to ask you a question. Emma, what's your approach to putting together furniture from a DIY store?

Emma Shackleton  1:36  

Well, I must admit that I do like to get all the pieces out in front of me and check that they are there first of all. I learned this lesson the hard way once when assembling a wardrobe. And after about two hours discovered that a vital fixture was missing. I like to have all the pieces in front of me and then I'll fetch the tools that we need and have a look at the instruction booklet so I can see the process and the order before we start. What about you, Simon?

Simon Currigan  2:03  

Bull in a china shop, I just rip open the cardboard on the outside, start trying to plug things together without looking at the instructions. And then like you say about two hours down the line I'll discover I'm missing a hinge or something. Deep down everyone knows the best way to get things done is to take stock of where you are now. And in our rush to get things done. When we're planning big projects like deciding on what training to give our staff it's a step we often miss out. So in a moment, we're going to explain how to get the ground work right, for your school's training program so it's got the impact that you want.

Emma Shackleton  2:38  

But before we talk about what those five steps are, I just want to say that if you find today's episode useful, please help other teachers and school leaders find the podcast by giving us a rating and review on Apple podcasts. Every review encourages Apple to recommend school behaviour secrets to other listeners so they can find the show and start getting the help they need to support the children in their classrooms too.

Simon Currigan  3:02  

So let's go right back. Step one is to make sure our behaviour policy is clear and concise. Why? Well, our school behaviour policy is the foundation stone for all of the training and support that we're going to offer our staff. So it's worth taking a step back and making sure that we've got it right.

Emma Shackleton  3:22  

Yes, because if your behaviour policy isn't clear, then staff won't know what to do, they'll start going off on their own tack making decisions on the spot. And soon everyone will be handling behaviour differently to each other. And complaints about it's not fair will start flooding in from children and parents alike. If the policy isn't clear, staff won't understand your policy or approach. If we as senior leaders don't make our expectations clear, we can't expect our teaching staff to give consistent clear messages to our pupils. And if your policy is too long, they'll never reach the end of it. If it's too wordy, your policy will lack clarity. Nobody likes reading pages and pages and pages of policy. Nobody.

Simon Currigan  4:10  

So if your behaviour policy lacks clarity, or it's too long, different members of staff will end up with different understandings of what you want them to do. Well, they'll start to fill in gaps in the policy in their own ways. And then you've got different adults pulling in different directions, using different techniques and approaches and the kids then don't get the consistency that they need.

Emma Shackleton  4:31  

So it should be a short, simple document, actually a guide that outlines your approach and then tells them how to encourage positive behaviour and how to respond to negative behaviour. A kind of 'how to guide'.

Simon Currigan  4:47  

For more information about getting your behaviour policy right. Listen to Episode Seven, where we give you six plus one common mistakes in school behaviour policies. So first step is make sure that your school behaviour policy is right.

Emma Shackleton  5:01  

Step two is to audit your status, current strengths and weaknesses. We want to build something specific to your school. A training plan that's generic won't work. If it was designed to fit another school with different kids, different teachers, different families, all of whom are at different places in their journey, you can't just nick someone else's plan and say that'll do. This is why cookie cutter policies don't work when you just pick up a policy and drop it into another setting. Whether you're focused on behaviour learning, or something else, that kind of approach just doesn't work, you can't expect to take an approach that worked in a different setting, and to expect it to work without adapting it to the individual needs of your school.

Simon Currigan  5:46  

So to get the information we need, we need to run an audit or an assessment. And the point of that is we're going to work out the current strengths and weaknesses of our teaching staff. And actually any of the other staff who work with the kids, people like lunchtime supervisors and sports coaches, who actually may deal with the bulk of behaviour issues outside at lunchtime or before or after school. So it may even be worth including staff members from your before and after school clubs if they're run by your school.

Emma Shackleton  6:16  

So audit your staffs knowledge and confidence with behaviour management, just like we do with the children, find out where they're at. And then we can start building from there. A great way to do this is to ask them to complete an anonymous survey, where you ask them about what elements of behaviour and social emotional and mental health issues they feel confident with, and where they feel like they might need some more support. worth bearing in mind though, sometimes staff might not know what they don't know. If this is the case, you'll need to be specific with your questions, perhaps referring to specific areas of behaviour or special needs and asking about those.

Simon Currigan  6:58  

So you've run your survey, this is going to give you information about what your teaching staff believe. Now these beliefs might not be accurate and may contain false assumptions. So what we need to do is combine the results of the survey with our own observations. We need to get into classrooms and observe classroom practice, see how the current behaviour policy is being implemented, to see if our teaching staffs ideas about how they teach them how they use the behaviour policy, matches up the policy with real practice in the classroom with real kids.

Emma Shackleton  7:30  

And don't fall into the trap of making assumptions about your staff. For instance, it would be easy to assume that newly qualified teachers are fresh out of university, and they've just had tons of training and mentorship on this. But that might not be the case. People also bring their own life experiences to the table too. I worked with a newly qualified teacher years ago who was actually brilliant at managing pupils with autism. She admitted that although she'd had very little training about autism on her teacher training course, she actually has an autistic brother. So she'd grown up living her whole life with autism and learning how to accommodate her brother's needs. Conversely, for newly qualified teachers, a survey of initial teacher training students published by the UK Government revealed that more than two fifths 41% of teachers rated their initial teacher training in managing behaviour as poor or very poor. Many of the schools that we work with ask us how they can support their newly qualified teachers. So don't assume also that just because a teacher is very experienced, that they will be very knowledgeable about managing pupils with behavioural special needs, that simply isn't always the case.

Simon Currigan  8:49  

We also need to think about staff turnover, you know, how many people have left year on year, we can't assume that just because we had training on autism three years ago, that that knowledge is still present within our staff, people leave for all sorts of reasons. And over time, as those people leave, they take that knowledge with them. People also just forget their training because they're so bombarded with information, especially nowadays, and that creates skills gaps, see your audit needs to consider staff turnover. Don't make assumptions. Also in your audit, look at your pupil data and look at trends concerning behaviour and exclusions. Are you getting more cohorts of children with specific needs, like autism or domestic violence or attachment? Because we'll need to make our plans adapt to these changing demographics. Our families change over time, so our plans have to change over time, otherwise, they won't be relevant.

Emma Shackleton  9:47  

So at the end of your audit process, you'll have identified a list of training needs and now you're ready to write out a whole school training timetable with dates. We'll write a one year program Including a mixture of whole class management, training and training around specific conditions around special needs. You'll need to get this balance right because teachers skills that classroom management level and behavioural special educational needs might get regular updates and reminders about good practice. Otherwise, those ideas get buried in the avalanche of other information that they have to absorb. And don't be afraid to build in time To recap, or revisit themes. Just like when we teach concepts to the children, we don't just say, Well, we've done counting, and then never revisit it again. Very few people learn everything they need to know about a concept in one session, or at one time.

Simon Currigan  10:44  

So in terms of whole class management, you want to look at areas like setting up a positive environment that encourages on task behaviour and learning, establishing ground rules and consistent routines.

Emma Shackleton  10:56  

Look at whole class strategies for promoting positive behaviour, things like rewards and consequences systems, praise ratios, the clarity of teacher instructions and use of questioning, incorporate ideas around managing low level disruption, and make sure that teachers are clear about which behaviours need to be addressed right now, and which may better be dealt with later on so as not to ruin the flow of the lesson and switch everybody else off, maybe look at something around using body language effectively. We've talked a lot in our other podcasts about getting the balance right between aggressive and passive, and the importance of being intentional with facial expressions, gestures, and tone.

Simon Currigan  11:40  

Another aspect that's often overlooked is how we use support staff effectively, in a way that focuses students on their work and minimizes disruption. As teachers, we rarely get trained on how to manage the other staff in our classrooms. So giving teachers basic management techniques, getting them to be confident talking to teaching assistants and learning support assistants about the role they want to take in a lesson is really important. And being proactive in terms of behaviour, and learning to form positive relationships with students and parents. I know you've heard us say, forming positive relationships over and over in these podcasts. But it's so important,

Emma Shackleton  12:19  

we will keep on banging that drum, I'm afraid. And in terms of specific behavioural special needs, maybe you'll want to think about understanding what's meant by behavioural special needs and addressing some of the myths around why some children can't just behave like everybody else, you might want to identify the underlying causes of misbehaviour. And think about focusing on those so tackling the causes rather than the symptoms of poor behaviour, and always striving to look for the why, or to ask what has happened to this child to make them behave this way, not just treating the symptom, or putting a sticking plaster over the problematic behaviour,

Simon Currigan  13:03  

Also understanding about how specific conditions like autism, which you might hear referred to as ASD, or ASC attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, ADHD, attachment disorder, or conditions like foetal alcohol spectrum disorder can affect pupil behaviour, and then writing simple behaviour plans that are focused on removing barriers to learning and encouraging more positive behaviour in the classroom.

Emma Shackleton  13:30  

So once you've had to think about your themes, get a timetable for the year and break it down into chunks of six to eight weeks. If youre in the UK half terms are a good way to chunk the year. In each chunk, decide the overall topic that you want to cover. It's always a good idea at the start of the year to think about whole class classroom management as a theme, as teachers are meeting new pupils and classes for the first time. And getting systems in relationships right at the start is crucial. We can put specific dates in later in the process.

Simon Currigan  14:06  

So that's a rolling program for the whole staff. I'd like to take a pause for a moment and say that if you're finding this podcast useful, then you're going to love what we've got waiting for you in our inner circle program. The inner circle is your one stop shop for all things behaviour. It's a comprehensive platform filled with videos, resources, and behaviour inspiration to get you unstuck with classroom behaviour. We've got training resources on de escalation, supporting kids with anxiety, support strategies for conditions like autism, ADHD, and PDA. practical ways of helping pupils deal with strong emotions, assertive behaviour management techniques for managing the whole classroom, setting out your classroom environment for success, resetting behaviour with tricky classes and more. Our online videos walk you through practical solutions. Step by step, just like Netflix, you can turn an inner circle subscription on or off whenever you need to. With no minimum contract. Plus, you can now get your first seven days of inner circle for just one pound. Get the behaviour answers in, you've been looking forward today with inner circle, visit beaconschoolsupport.co.uk, and click on the inner circle picture near the top of the homepage for more information. 

Step four is to write an induction timetable for new recruits and newly qualified teachers. This is focusing on how do people when they join our team learn about how we manage behaviour in school and their expectations in our specific school. And this is going to apply to all new recruits, however experienced they are. This kind of approach is especially important if you've had a turnover of staff, because you're going to get fewer experienced teachers in the staff room saying, This is how we do things here. This helps you set the school culture. There's a famous saying that says culture eats strategy for breakfast, meaning if we don't get our approach, right, if we don't get our culture, right, that any short term or long term strategy that we have in place is just going to be swept aside by the general approach to classroom management and our general approach we have to meeting the needs of kids with behavioural special needs in school.

Emma Shackleton  16:26  

I've heard that process of bringing new members in called onboarding. And I think it's a step that sometimes overlooked education is really fast pace, members of staff are expected to just jump in and hit the ground running. But it's really, really important that we get this process right of bringing people on board, bringing them into our culture, helping them learn about in this school, this is how we do it. So in their program, you'll also want to include a walkthrough of the behaviour policy for sure, preferably with a senior member of staff, don't just give a new person that policy and expect that they've read it and understood it. Most people need to talk about and digest a policy to understand it. So encourage them to read it, ask questions and discuss the what ifs so that they feel confidence that they know what the policy means and how to use it in the right way from the off.

Simon Currigan  17:25  

You might also want to back this up with checklists for expectations you have for things like the learning environment in the classroom. So you might want to cover things like Do you have any policy on how peoples are seated? Does your school use public behaviour charts in the classroom? And if you do, what should they look like? Do you have school rules or values that you expect the teachers to put out on display? Checklists are a really simple but powerful way of getting consistency from classroom to classroom to classroom. 

Emma Shackleton  17:56  

So really think about the common whole school routines that your new recruits should know about. Do you have any shared expectations across classes for asking questions moving around school, admitting and dismissing children from the classroom, storage of personal equipment, that kind of thing? It's important to get new staff on board quickly so that the children feel confident that all adults know what they should be doing. If a staff member is unsure about procedures kids will notice. And some of them might feel inclined to push the boundaries and expose what the adults don't know. So get your adults up to speed and looking and sounding confident from the start. And this will eliminate that problem. And if this issue does arise, your staff member will feel clear that they know what they're supposed to do and how they're supposed to handle it in line with the policy. 

Simon Currigan  18:53  

In your onboarding process. make it really clear on how your school encourages positive behaviour and also give explicit guidance about how senior leaders expect your members of staff to manage negative behaviour, not just low level behaviour, how do you expect them to manage more extreme or challenging behaviour in the classroom,

Emma Shackleton  19:14  

And it's a great idea to have each new member of staff allocated to a specific member of established staff who can be their first port of call. So if they've got any questions about the policy, or they need some support with any aspects of behaviour management in the classroom, they know who their body is and who they need to go to.

Simon Currigan  19:34  

This process is vital for getting the consistency from year to year to year that you're really looking for. So when you've worked out what you want your new members of staff to cover, make a timetable that covers the first month of your trainee teachers employment with you write down what topics you're going to cover, write down who's going to support them through those topics, and by what kind of dates you want them to have completed working through that material.

Emma Shackleton  20:00  

So the fifth and final point on planning your whole school training schedule is to decide on what mix of training is right for your school. So now that you've developed the core content of your plan, you've got three choices about which training providers to use for your plan. And each of those come with their own advantages and disadvantages. So you might decide to have training from your own staff from within your own team, head teachers, senior leaders and other staff often have the knowledge and ideas needed to cover many aspects of behaviour training, and they often know your setting best.

Simon Currigan  20:40  

Of course, one of the key advantages of using your own staff is that it's cheaper, you're going to make cost savings, but also, the person training will be naturally more knowledgeable about to your school and your kids. And they're likely to be more flexible in terms of dates than say when you try to book in an outside provider.

Emma Shackleton  20:59  

Another advantage is that if some members of staff miss the training due to absence or illness, for example, you've also got the potential to rerun that training in the future if it's been delivered in house, assuming of course that there's space in the trainer's diary.

Simon Currigan  21:15  

The disadvantage of using your own staff is that they may not have the depth of knowledge to tackle content about specific behaviour needs. And they may have learned more from experience rather than benefiting from dedicated training on SEMH and behaviour. So their knowledge of classroom management strategies may be more limited than someone coming in from outside your school. 

Emma Shackleton  21:36  

And don't forget that some members of staff although they might be brilliantly confident at talking in front of classes of children may feel less confident presenting training in front of their peers. talking in front of adults is an entirely different skill set than teaching your class of pupils.

Simon Currigan  21:54  

And rightly or wrongly. One last disadvantage is that your staff may credit outside providers with more knowledge and gravity and take the training more seriously than when your own members of staff presents exactly the same material, you can also get training from external providers. And the advantage of this is that obviously your trainers will be very knowledgeable and will usually have run the course a number of times in the past. This gives your staff a more confident polished performance. With tried and tested materials. It's not the first time they're presenting this material to a group of people.

Emma Shackleton  22:31  

The disadvantage of using external face to face training, of course, is that it can be expensive. And also there might be a delay in arranging the training as you have to find a mutually convenient date with your trainer. Plus, there's no opportunity to repeat the training in the future. So if anybody is away on the day, they've missed it, and now they are behind their colleagues. And over time, this can lead to a significant skills gap.

Simon Currigan  22:57  

The third category is online training. The advantages of online training are... it's affordable! So say we've got our own Behaviour 360 online training package aimed at primary schools, that only costs Ã49.99 per month, and that gives unlimited access to all of our courses, and covers your teaching staff, lunchtime supervisors and parents around aspects of SEMH.

Emma Shackleton  23:21  

And what's great about online training is it's instant, you can start using it immediately. So you don't have to negotiate a date with your trainer. If there are specific issues, staff can be directed to engage with training straight away. So for example, if you've got a lunchtime supervisor who is using a loud voice too often and the children feel like the supervisor is shouting at them, you can direct that supervisor immediately to training around being assertive without shouting, for example, so you don't have to wait until the train is available to come along. When you've got the online training at your fingertips. You can pull out specific training which matches key issues and staff can engage with that right away. The other advantage of online training is that some staff are hungry for information, and they might have a passion for developing their knowledge and expertise in behaviour management. So don't make them wait for months until your next whole school training date. They can access online resources as soon as they are ready and at a time that suits them.

Simon Currigan  24:29  

Another advantage is that it's flexible. Traditionally, we've had to bring all our staff together into a group when you have someone train them at the same time. With online training teachers can train individually or in groups, they can train at the same time or different times. It gives you a lot more choices about when and how you put on your behaviour training.

Emma Shackleton  24:50  

And online training is repeatable. So any new members of staff can benefit from the training in their induction. For example, reducing skills gaps. If you get interrupted, you can come back to it later. If you just need a refresher or a reminder, you click the button and engage with the training again.

Simon Currigan  25:10  

And if you have access to a comprehensive package like Behaviour 360, you will find that the strategies in that program are all joined up. So our behaviour resources describe similar techniques for staff, supervisors and parents, we just changed the context. So for something like emotion coaching, we might talk about using emotion coaching in the classroom, that lunchtime, we might give the example of how to use emotion coaching when a playground game goes wrong. And for parents who might talk about emotion coaching, in a situation where their child is upset about something that's happened out of the shop with the aim of getting everyone pulling in the same direction. And using similar techniques.

Emma Shackleton  25:47  

There are a couple of disadvantages to online behaviour training. And one of those is that you can't usually ask the trainer questions. And for some people, it can be a little bit daunting if the staff don't have basic computer skills. And last of all, some people find online training a bit unengaging. And that's why we've kept our training sessions super short.

Simon Currigan  26:10  

So you've decided on the content of your rolling programme across the year, and you've decided on the mix of providers, you want to go with members of your own staff or external providers or online, now is the time to start putting in concrete dates for what training will happen and when. And if you plan to use in person trainers now start getting dates as soon as possible, because those trainers will get booked up quickly. And if you know they can only come in on certain dates, you may need to rearrange your overall plan of themes around that also put in dates for staff to talk about the content that they've been exposed to. That way they can compare notes to each other, you can give them reminders to keep that knowledge fresh and alive. And they can talk about how they're using that new information practically in the classroom. Now, we've covered a lot of information in this podcast. But hopefully now you will have everything you need to get an effective plan of training up and running for the staff in your school, whether that's ongoing training for your staff across the year, or a plan for people who are joining your team.

Emma Shackleton  27:14  

And if you're a primary school leader and would like flexible and high quality online training for your staff, check out our behaviour 360. That's our complete program for supporting every single member of your teaching staff and lunchtime supervisors with behaviour and SEMH  in schools. And yes, it even includes our support program for parents. If you're interested in finding out more visit www.beaconschoolsupport.co.uk, scroll down to the for schools section and click on Behaviour 360.

Simon Currigan  27:52  

And if you're a secondary school, don't worry, we haven't forgotten you either. You're all our children and we love you equally, you can access Inner Circle for schools, which unlocks all of our inner circle training for every single member of your team for only Ã19.99  per month. Again, visit www.beaconschoolsupport.co.uk and check out the for school section. I'll put links to both of those packages in the show description.

Emma Shackleton  28:15  

Next week, we're going to be talking to Sara Turner from Ormiston Families which is an organisation that supports children whose families are affected by imprisonment. This is a massively overlooked issue. And having a parent in prison actually affects more children than conditions like autism. But no one talks about it or its emotional impact on kids.

Simon Currigan  28:39  

So make sure you don't miss that. Open your podcast app now and tap the subscribe button. This will show the podcast app that you're the boss. subscribing tells the app that automatically downloading new episodes of school behaviour secrets is a non negotiable, making sure you don't miss a thing.

Emma Shackleton  28:56  

If you find today's podcast useful, why not be a great mate and recommend it to one friend. You could either send them a message or simply use the share button in your podcast app. And then other teachers and school leaders can find out about the show and start getting the help that they need to support the children in their classrooms too.

Simon Currigan  29:16  

So until next time, have a great week and we look forward to seeing you on the next episode of school behaviour secrets.

Bye now

Emma Shackleton  29:23  


(This automated transcript may not be 100% accurate.)