These are simple yet effective changes you can make to benefit all students.
1. A school’s core behaviour values are inherent and do not change over time.
2. You apply the same core values to new challenges, when they arise.
3. Engage all stakeholders in the creation of your core values.
4. Be crystal clear in the behaviours expected for each core value and ensure staff can achieve them.
5. For core values to be effective, they must be embedded in every part of your school and truly inherent.
6. Hold all stakeholders to account for embodying your core values providing effective and consistent feedback.
Interested in the research?
Do you want to know more about Behaviour Hubs?
Creating a Culture: a review of behaviour management in schools: (updated 2020) Tom Bennett’s independent review on behaviour in schools and strategies to support effective behaviour cultures, and the government's response.
Prefer to watch?
Behaviour Management with Tom Bellwood
TeacherTalk: A Behaviour Curriculum: Myth or Reality?
Welcome to our educational blog. Here we explore all things pertinent to education, discuss current topics and provide tips, from research and educational experts, to aid practice.
Behaviour in schools - is it a definable construct? Can it be taught, led and effectively driven? What does a good behaviour curriculum look like? And how can you ensure your school has an effective behaviour strategy and system in place?
This blog explores all of these pertinent questions from research across two years and almost a hundred schools by Tom Bellwood, in partnership with the Department for Education and CLT.
Tom’s research and work with colleagues across the country has defined 5 core principles to encourage consistency, promoting good behaviour and reducing negative behaviour. This blog will cover the first two steps, looking at your core values and defining behaviours.
Our second blog will explore: Building systems leading to explicitly teaching behaviours before Step 5. Monitoring, evaluating and reviewing your behaviour curriculum.
Step 1 - The Core Values
Research suggests that core values do not change over time and are inherent in a school’s make-up. When new challenges arise, you apply the same core values to the ‘new’ problem to solve them and empower growth.
So how do you define what your core values already are?
How to ‘Live’ your core values
To ensure your core values are embedded and truly inherent ensure you
1. Ask for feedback and reflections from staff e.g. through a short Google form or in staff meetings.
2. Create and consistently use a common language that constantly refers to these values.
3. Involve and embed these values in all you do, signage/marketing, meeting agendas, assemblies etc.
What about leadership?
Effective leaders within any school should continuously narrate and model the values in all interactions with staff and stakeholders. Where necessary, they should also challenge and follow-up on accountability, ensuring that every individual embodies them.
What are the pitfalls?
Ensure every value is, quite simply, valued by all. Accidental values occur when a school promotes one thing but then displays another e.g. having integrity but bad mouthing colleagues/students behind their back. For values to be effective they have to be embodied by all - breaking them undermines the school and leadership team.
Why are the values not working?
Like the pitfalls, there may be reasons why your values are not being driven throughout the school. Take a moment to reflect upon why this might be, considering the following common issues:
1. They are unknown - Can staff and students truly articulate what they are and why you have them? If not, they need to be embedded more effectively and consistently.
2. They are not unique - Do your values represent your school and resonate with your staff, students and stakeholders?
3. They are not modelled - Are all staff but especially leadership modelling and continually referring to your values? Are they embodied in your school language at every opportunity?
4. They don’t drive behaviour - When you look around your school, are your values being embodied by the staff and students? If not, they need to.
Step 2: Defining Behaviours
Having values and a vision means that everyone knows the direction of the school but how do you ensure that staff join you in modelling this journey? They need to know how they should act and behave in relation to each value - failure to define behaviours, will lead to mutated core values.
2.1 Crystal Clear Expectations
The first way to avoid mutated values is to make it explicit and write it down so it’s there for everyone to see.
But how do you ensure ‘buy in’ from your staff? = Collaboration.
Make your leaders, staff and stakeholders part of the process. Then think about what you need to do as a school to aid the success of your values. Are you creating the conditions to ensure your values are possible and successful? - If you want staff to meet and greet on their doors, have you given them time, in the same classrooms to do so? Or are staff rushing between rooms each lesson having to meet, greet, log in and set up before they can begin to teach?
2.2 Responsibility and Accountability
Firstly, ensure you identify which members of staff are responsible for each of your values, refer back to them and hold staff to account when discussing systems/processes linked to the responsibilities. Similarly, with staff training, induction and regular CPD sessions, share who is responsible and how they are accountable for each value for consistency and cohesion.
2.3 Feedback (Constantly)
For your values to be embedded, staff need to know how effective they are in embodying them and this is where feedback, both positive and constructive is needed. Depending on your staffing body and the values they are modelling, you might wish to praise publicly or create systems of effective feedback such as staff appreciation postcards so that staff know you value their input. Where necessary, reprimand and give constructive feedback privately, holding staff to account that don’t or are not behaving in line with your values.
What about leadership?
For values to be modelled effectively and efficiently, codify the behaviours into a staff handbook or manual.
Use these behaviours as tools of leveraging actions, “remember we always speak positively about students” to both challenge and follow up on those who demonstrate behaviours consistently and those who do not.
What are the pitfalls?
1. Focus on the positives and not just the negatives - Public narrating negative behaviours will disrupt morale.
2. Be authentic in your praise to individuals (both staff and students) who demonstrate your values.
3. Once behaviours have been codified, ensure you follow ‘the script’ - Do as I do and not do as I say.
A Behaviour Curriculum is a definable, achievable and crucial construct within your schools… but it needs to be effectively embedded and embodied within each system; procedure; policy and by all staff, students and stakeholders.
Those that do not signify your values should be held to account, whilst also authentically praising and thanking everyone that does. Being crystal clear in your expectations, whilst also involving staff within your journey ensures all stakeholders are on-board and there’s no chance that mutated values can occur.
Continue your Behaviour Curriculum in our second blog on #TeacherTalk. Here we will explore: Building systems leading to explicitly teaching behaviours before Step 5. Monitoring, evaluating and reviewing your behaviour curriculum.
CTSH 'Together, Towards Excellence'