Behaviours for Learning

Behaviours for Learning

To learn effectively and for others in the class to learn, we need to ensure that pupils’ behaviours are appropriate in school and we consistently model the excellent behaviours within and around the school that we want to see. We have a range of rewards and incentives to support pupils to believe in their abilities and know that they are cared for, respected and their attainments celebrated. All children like rewards and our range of strategies encourage participation, attainment and enjoyment of learning.

We are working with children with very complex learning and behavioural needs. We vary strategies for each child, depending on our knowledge and experience. We know that some pupils’ behaviours (negative and positive) are systematic of their learning difficulties and disabilities. We also know when kids are being kids and trying it on!

We track our pupils’ behaviour patterns. Every child is different – each has their own likes and dislikes and together with their complexity of learning difficulties, can create difficulties for some children. We track behaviours to identify triggers and patterns, so that we can put in place preventative measures and ensure the pupils are supported in working with their anxieties, frustrations and sensitivities. It also serves as a means of identifying holistic developmental improvements.

We strongly believe that pupils achievements are strengthened when parents and school work closely together. The school has a Home School agreement which parents are asked to endorse when their child joins the school. Pupils are also made aware of their responsibilities. We have high expectations of behaviour and may carry out risk assessment and formulate an individual behaviour plan for pupils who may experience difficulty in managing their behaviour. A pastoral support programme is set up with a pupil and his/her parents or carers if he/she is at risk of exclusion. There is a comprehensive policy on behaviour, which identifies the ways in which behaviour is managed. This is available to view on our Policies Page.

Occasionally a pupil may receive a fixed term exclusion if there is a serious incident, a serious breach of school rules or persistent disruptive behaviour. The Headteacher has the right to permanently exclude a pupil where their behaviour is having a seriously adverse impact on the other pupils. Parents have the right of appeal for any exclusion.

Physical Interventions

Physical interventions refers to times that an adult has physical contact with a child. Many of our children require physical support through a hug, though sometimes adults need to intervene to support a child from becoming hurt or when in danger.

All staff have robust training regarding physical interventions (PI) with children. These are designed to keep children safe and support challenging behaviours from hurting others/themselves. A small number of children have restrictive physical interventions (RPI) as part of their behaviour plans, where the school follows strict guidelines of Hertfordshire Steps interventions programmes. The focus of Steps is to de-escalate behaviours and where required, restrictive physical interventions are for a very limited period of time.

Bullying Definitions

Defining bullying

While there is no single definition of bullying, the Department for Education provides the following guidance:
‘Bullying is behaviour by an individual or group, repeated over time, that intentionally hurts another individual or group either physically or emotionally. Bullying can take many forms (for instance, cyber-bullying via text messages or the internet), and is often motivated by prejudice against particular groups, for example on grounds of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or because a child is adopted or has caring responsibilities. It might be motivated by actual differences between children, or perceived differences. Stopping violence and ensuring immediate physical safety is obviously a school’s first priority but emotional bullying can be more damaging than physical; teachers and schools have to make their own judgements about each specific case.’ “Preventing and Tackling Bullying” DfE 2011

Most definitions include the following dimensions:
1. The behaviour is intended to cause distress
2. The behaviour is repeated
3. There is an imbalance of power between the perpetrator of bullying and the target

However there are important issues to consider within these broad factors:
The first element, ‘the behaviour is intended to cause distress’, should not be taken to excuse behaviour which individuals or groups claim was intended in fun. It is reasonable for schools to expect that young people will develop age appropriate skills of empathy and will not be drawn into behaviour that for the perpetrators amounts to teasing but for the target becomes seriously distressing. Behaviour that impacts to damage the emotional wellbeing of others should be taken to be a matter of serious concern and individuals should be made to understand their culpability, regardless of their intention. The effect of the behaviour on the recipient – not just the intention of the perpetrator – is significant in deciding whether to treat an incident as bullying.

The second element, ‘the behaviour is repeated’, should be understood in terms of the number and degree of impacts on the target. A single posting of hurtful material on the internet has the potential to be seen by hundreds if not thousands of people and is therefore a very serious matter. A single act of physical assault, mental abuse or threat of the same can lead a child to be in a state of ongoing fear. Any incidents of deliberately hurtful behaviour that lead to fear of recurrence should be designated as bullying incidents.

The final element, ‘an imbalance of power’, can be subtle and complex. It should not be assumed that a larger child cannot be a victim, nor a smaller child a perpetrator. It is also often important to recognise the role of popularity as a factor that pertains to the balance of power. Equalities and issues of prejudice also need to be considered carefully within this dimension. A great deal of bullying is linked to difference, perceived difference or discriminatory attitudes towards certain groups regardless of whether the target is actually a member of these groups. For example, many children and young people who are not lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT) may be targeted for homophobic bullying while others may be the targets of racist bullying based on inaccurate presumptions about their culture. These dimensions should always be recorded and monitored.

Hertfordshire County Council recommends that schools therefore reflect the following more complex aspects in defining and responding to behaviour.
Bullying is behaviour that impacts negatively on others in the following ways:
1. The behaviour is either intended to cause distress or results in significant distress
2. The behaviour is repeated or results in multiple impacts on the target
3. There is an imbalance of power between the perpetrator/s of bullying and the target/s whether as a result of the prior context or the content or the experience of the hurtful behaviour

Schools are encouraged to develop their own definitions in collaboration with children and young people, parents/carers and staff. It is very important that there is a shared understanding of the strength of the school’s stance against bullying and understanding definitions is an important part of this. It is important that young people and their parents know the definition that the school is working with.

Some schools will wish to evolve child friendly definitions of bullying. For example:

People hurting or upsetting you repeatedly and on purpose by doing nasty or unkind things.

Bullying behaviour can include the following hurtful behaviours:
  • name-calling, taunting, teasing, mocking and making offensive comments
  • offensive, threatening or personalised graffiti or other written material
  • excluding people from groups
  • gossiping and spreading hurtful or untruthful rumours
  • kicking, hitting, pushing
  • taking belongings
  • cyberbullying – including sending inappropriate, offensive or degrading text messages, emails or instant messages, setting up websites or contributing content to social networking sites that is designed to embarrass or upset individuals or collective exclusion of individuals from social networking sites.

  • It should be noted that not all hurtful behaviour is bullying, but all reported hurtful behaviour should be taken seriously and resolved at the earliest opportunity.

    The Equality and Human Rights Commission’s report on the effectiveness of responses to ‘Identity-based’ (or ‘Prejudice-based’) bullying (Research report 64 2010) states that it
    “is widespread and continues to blight the lives of many young people, affecting educational attainment and having a long term impact on their life chances.”

    Schools should pay particular attention to ensuring that all prejudice-based hurtful incidents are idenitified and prevented from escalating. Ofsted will specifically look for evidence that this is the case in all schools in relation to special educational need, sexual orientation, sex, race, religion and belief, gender identity or disability. In addition, schools should be sensitive to wider issues of prejudice. Some children and young people can be singled out because they are overweight, deprived, in care, young carers, particularly able or talented.

    Schools should also be alert to challenging the development of an environment which is hurtful and threatening to particular groups or communities. For example, casual use of homophobic, transphobic, sexist or racist language should not go unchecked whether or not it is targeted at an individual.

    Supporting Behaviours and Reporting Issues

    Our Behaviour Principles

    Our principles of behaviours we expect are documented in our policies. We operate on a basis of respect and tolerance, where effective behaviours for learning and the support of others, needs to be clearly modelled right across the school day.


    Bullying is not tolerated at St Luke's School. We work closely with the staff and children to ensure the importance of standing up to bullying by telling others and dealing with it. Where we find bullying and harassment, we work quickly to prevent emotional harm with all parties involved.

    Our British Values

    Our Britishness is an important aspect of schooling and being part of our local and wider communities. We work with our pupils to understand what British values are - our responsibilities as much as our rights. We welcome difference at St Luke's and are proud of our multi-faith and multi-cultural community.

    Sex and Relationships

    Puberty is a challenging time for all teenagers. When the challenges of puberty hit children with LDD earlier than other children, it is complicated further by the challenges of managing socially acceptable behaviours with new urges and needs. Our teaching at St Luke's School is clear, non-threatening, age-appropriate with accessible language and resources to ensure children and their families are supported in the the child's transition to early adulthood.

    Pupils with Medical Conditions

    Some medical conditions have adverse affects on a child's behaviours. This can be temporary or longer term, such as Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) where medication can support or prompt different or challenging behaviours. Other children's behaviours are dulled by some medications and they withdraw further from people and learning. Our staff are aware of the side-effects of many medications commonly taken by pupils at the school. Where a pupil has a change of medication, our protocols are ammended and close communication taken with the child's family and professional advice is sought.

    Should Things Go Wrong

    We always report issues and where concerns or problems arise, staff report these to the senior leadership team, or the Governing Body in the case of issues regarding any member of the senior leadership team. Our Whistleblowing policy alerts staff about where to go and what to do.