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Priory Woods School & Arts College

Priory Woods School & Arts College A Special Place to Learn

Behaviour Policy


At Priory Woods we aim to:

  • Create an environment that is warm, free from inhibiting pressures yet has the capability to be challenging, thus providing the best conditions for learning and development
  • Provide conditions that ensure dignity, promote self-reliance, and facilitate the child’s active participation in the community (United Nations 1989)

Understanding behaviour is addressed by all staff through a variety of forums. These include,

  • All SLT, teaching staff, and teaching assistants complete a 12 hour Basic Team Teach training which is then maintained through regular refresher training. This training is also provided for 1 to 1 staff as appropriate to their role in school.
  • All teaching staff, teaching assistants and 1:1 staff have attended Restorative practice training.
  • There are trained Thrive members of staff. This team has delivered basic training to more staff members as well as parents programmes. The trainers have a programme for delivering 1:1 support, small group work and open access to individual students. 

This document is intended to provide guidance for staff and inform parents and visitors about the processes, attitudes, organisational structures, and strategies that contribute to the development of an ethos that encourages positive and appropriate behaviour. 

This policy should be read in conjunction with,

  • Priory Woods School and Arts College Use of Thinking Rooms policy, 
  • Priory Woods School and Arts College Safe Touch Policy, 
  • Priory Woods School and Arts College Physical Intervention Policy.
  • Priory Woods School and Arts College risk assessment for COVID 19.

Behaviour management at Priory Woods should be addressed proactively not reactively. It is essential that staff are familiar with the students and support them to self-regulate in order for them to be able to access learning. Staff need to be aware that changes for some students may take some time. Discussions about difficult behaviour should focus on understanding the behaviour and what staff can do to support a student and reduce stress factors rather than responding to the actual behaviour and imposing physical interventions on a student.


The role of the SLT

  • It is vital that the SLT understand that any decisions taken relating to organisation and curriculum may affect the school ethos.
  • The SLT need to be responsive to the concerns and ideas of staff to facilitate two-way communication.  Regular meetings are therefore important, these take the forms of informal discussions, response to CPOMS, team behaviour meetings and as part of formal whole school training to review Individual Support plans.
  • Staff should feel free to raise issues and feel confident that the concerns will be considered in a professional forum.
  • The SLT should provide advice and support in specific situations relating to students’ behaviour.

It is part of the role of senior and experienced members of staff that they set an example in their attitude and behaviour towards students and other staff (respect and support being the key) and that they communicate the school’s philosophy sensitively and effectively to other members of staff

The role of the whole organisation

  • Creating a consistent and calm approach will help prevent the need for reactive measures to be taken
  • Creating a safe environment promoting security through consistent routines and clear boundaries
  • Students with SLD and PMLD need at all times to have their own individual special needs borne in mind – be flexible
  • Recognition of individual student unique identity and consideration of their needs.
  • For students to be treated with dignity and respect and feel a valued member of the learning community.
  • Support students to learn how to self-regulate.
  • Support for students to learn how to be restorative
  • Give students time to greet people when coming into school each day
  • Lunchtimes should be pleasurable and free from pressure to eat quickly; respect dietary needs and likes / dislikes
  • Opportunities for free play in appropriate environment; students to use self-regulating strategies
  • Organisation at the end of day to prevent boredom and frustration, this is especially important as bubbles are adhering to time slots at the beginning and end of the school day.

The role of parents/ carers.

  • A shared understanding and dialogue between school and home about behaviour, safety and other issues is extremely important.  Parents are involved in discussions regarding behaviour and consulted when an Individual Support Plan is written and implemented. 
  • Opportunities for parents to discuss problems and successes with staff exist at annual reviews, coffee mornings, workshops, social events, fundraising events etc.
  • Communication between home/school using Dojo consistently and fairly.

The role of the environment

  • The environment should be pleasant, include evidence of the valuing of students work through written, symbols and photographic evidence.
  • There should be adequate facilities that provide students with opportunities for enjoyment, success and unstructured learning and play times. 
  • Areas should be available throughout school that allow pupils space to reflect and calm down. There should also be areas that allow staff to use physical intervention techniques safely. (See Use of Thinking Rooms policy).

The role of the curriculum

At Priory Woods we therefore aim to provide a curriculum that is stimulating and challenging but also enables every student to succeed.

  • Issues such as self-esteem, caring for others, right and wrong, self-control, respect for ourselves and others need to be explicitly and sensitively taught.  The philosophy and ethos of Priory Woods School supports a Thrive type approach and activities as part of general school practice and class activities throughout every day, for example, during informal class times, collecting and returning to school transport at the beginning and end of the day, break times, lunchtimes, circle time etc.
  • In addition to this most settings have dedicated sessions for Thrive, PSE, Citizenship and RE curriculum that ensures that the development of a positive ethos is covered consistently throughout school.
  • A student is less likely to display difficult behaviours if his / her self-esteem is high and if their achievements (behavioural, academic or other) are recognised and celebrated.

The role of rules

  • It is important that we provide clear behavioural boundaries and guidelines within which our students operate.
  • However, it is equally important to remember that when working with students with severe learning difficulties to remain flexible.  Over rigid application of a ‘rule’ to some students may create more difficult behaviours than it was designed to avoid. Rules are more effective when they are positively framed from adults with positive relationships with students and used to reinforce and develop desired behaviours.
  • All staff must take a flexible approach determined by the individual needs of students.  This should be communicated effectively through class, key stage and staff meetings so that consistency of approach is ensured.


  • Be kind and helpful
  • Be gentle
  • Listen
  • Be honest
  • Work hard
  • Look after property

The rules are statements that encourage the student to adopt a range of positive behaviours and attitudes.  


Some students especially those that have attachment difficulties are less likely to respond to rewards or consequences and may sabotage or disregard rewards and if left out of a ‘reward trip’ feel punished because they cannot meet the behavioural expectations. Rewards therefore have to be used carefully so they do not, by default, become punishments. However, rewards can be effective for motivating some pupils with an aim on focusing positive rewards for positive behaviour rather than focusing on undesirable or negative behaviour.

    • Behaviour that leads to rewarding consequences are more likely to be repeated for most students.
    • All staff are actively involved in focusing on rewarding positive behaviour.
    • The types of rewards used across the school are varied and reflect the individual nature of class groups and students.

Informal rewards include;

    • Smiles/positive eye contact/gestures.
    • Targeted praise statements to the student or groups of students.
    • Peer group praise, both spontaneous and planned.
    • Direct positive praise home to parents.
    • Additional responsibilities.
    • Sharing good work and behaviour with peers/adults/senior staff.
    • Written comment on work/books.
    • Displaying good work.
    • Work towards an activity chosen by the student.
    • Recognition and celebration of learning and behaviour in assembly (cup of kindness)


Classrooms are complex environments and can be crowded and noisy.  At Priory Woods they contain pupils with a wide range of abilities and a variety of special needs.  Staff teams can be as large as five.  Teachers have the responsibility of delivering a broad, balanced and differentiated curriculum. The adoption of formal, semi-formal and informal curriculum approaches across the whole school have supported a diverse curriculum tailored to meet students’ needs more closely. The new approach and curriculum have supported the reduction of conflict, confrontation and frustration.  It can be further minimised if consideration is given to a number of issues.


  • Grouping: where possible avoid combinations of pupils that can increase stress triggers.
  • Timetabling: be aware that different activities demand different standards of behaviour and self-control from children (and staff!). Some children may need a period of time to calm down between an exciting, physical, active session and one demanding more controlled, calm behaviour. There is little point in subjecting a child to an activity or situation that you know will cause frustration or emotional difficulty for them.  It may never be possible to avoid every such situation but at least the additional problems faced by the child can and should be recognised.
  • Environment. Consideration of the effects of furniture and equipment: can make positive changes on students and learning. For example, opportunity for students to independently access resources to support self-regulate, removing distractions and keeping rooms and surfaces clear and clutter free.


  • All class groupings have at least two members of staff. It is therefore important that these teams work well in order to ensure that a consistent approach to behaviour is taken.
  • Positive reinforcement used for groups / individuals should be commonly understood and consistently applied.
  • Staff should feel confident enough to voice their feelings and suggestions in a professional capacity without fear of recrimination or ridicule and should feel confident that their views will be taken seriously by the team. This will reduce tension and promote consistency and good relationships between staff.
  • The relationships between staff / staff and staff /pupils are of paramount importance; the children will learn civility, respect for others, sympathy, consideration much more easily if they are given continual good examples and role models.


  • The new curriculum allows the style of delivery and exact content presented to individual children to be determined by the class teacher and their support staff.  The provision and freedom to differentiate between formal, semi-formal and informal curriculum and change style and technique of delivery can, help reduce feelings of failure, frustration and boredom, all of which can lead to behaviour problems.
  • Children with severe learning difficulties often have repeated experiences of not understanding, misunderstanding, failure, frustration and confusion, all of which can lead to a lowering of self-esteem and behaviour problems. It is vital that appropriate curriculum, teaching styles and content are tailored to individual students or groups to minimise this.
  • Children need the experience of success and the joy of learning new skills within an environment that is nurturing and reduces the fear of judgement and failure as much as possible.


  • It is the role of every member of staff to create an environment that reduces the likelihood of inappropriate behaviour.
  • All staff have a duty to show children that they are liked, respected and welcome.  
  • Staff should set challenging but realistic expectations of behaviour.
  • They should demonstrate by their own example appropriate ways of expressing their emotions.  A calm, consistent approach and a sense of humour are important qualities that help to reduce tension and promote a sense of confidence and security in children.
  • Pupils with autistic traits often exhibit behaviours that require an individual response, which acknowledges their inability to cope with changes and their difficulties in understanding and responding to sanctions and rewards.


At Priory Woods School and Art College staff intervention to support the regulation of behaviour is based on pupils’ level of development, the nature of their disability and circumstances. Any strategies to address unwanted behaviours are designed as restorative learning opportunities, in which the impact of the behaviour can be highlighted and addressed to ensure a positive outcome and a reduction of those behaviours over time.

The types of interventions used across the learning community reflect the individual nature of class groups and pupils. These interventions may include;

  • Use of planned support strategies as detailed in Individual Support plans.
  • Use of calming and alerting strategies and activities to support self and supported regulation, including Tree Tops programmes and sensory circuits.
  • Facial expressions of approval and mood – attuning with the pupil to prevent escalation.
  • Verbal and non-verbal communication - as above.
  • Systems that promote privileges and rewards.
  • Success reminders and praise.
  • Assertive and consistent reinforcement of routines.
  • Consistent use of positive language and positive interventions.
  • Consistently modelling the behaviours we wish to see in the pupils.
  • Explicitly teaching positive behaviours.
  • Restorative conversations and discussions to reflect, repair relationships and positive steps.
  • Temporary withdrawal from learning environments (see Use of Thinking room policy).
  • Pupils remove themselves from a situation which causes anxiety or distress to a location where they can be supported, continually observed until they are ready to return to their timetabled activity. This time out could be in a quiet area of the classroom, playground or in a designated ‘Thinking Room’ (see use of Thinking room Policy).


Priory Woods School and Art College strives to create a safe learning environment and promote positive behaviours and minimise the risk of incidents that may require interventions.

Team Teach techniques are used to reduce the risk presented by challenging behaviours – all staff are trained in skills to support them diffuse and de-escalate potentially challenging situations and promote positive alternatives.

In exceptional circumstances, staff may need to use a physical intervention where the use of necessary, reasonable and proportional force using Team Teach handling techniques is required.

Staff are aware of their responsibilities in the context of their duty of care in taking appropriate approaches to promoting and celebrating positive behaviour. Staff are supported in doing so through Team Teach rolling programme and appropriate CPD promoting restorative practice which provides staff with appropriate strategies and techniques to manage unwanted behaviours more effectively, should they arise.

At Priory Woods School and Arts College, staff share and discuss in a professional, supportive and positive atmosphere e.g. through team, behaviour meetings or at Individual support plan reviews. These may take place at any time throughout the year as and when needed if a pupil’s behaviour is causing concern it is a problem to be shared.

Strategies and support focus on trying to understand the behaviour and introduce   alternative ways of behaving or responding to a situation.

Support in analysing behaviour and in producing, implementing and reviewing Individual support plans.

Systems for getting support quickly through the use of assigned radios.

If a member of staff has been involved with a difficult incident with a group or an individual student, they are encouraged to reflect this within class or team settings and have opportunity to discuss with SLT or behaviour lead teacher.

Support systems for Parents/Carers.

In addition to involving parents at all stages in their child’s education, parents may also benefit from accessing;

  • Parent Support Advisor.
  • Family Thrive
  • Opportunities to discuss and contribute to their child’s Individual support plan with the class staff or behaviour lead teacher.


At Priory Woods we recognise that changes in behaviour can be indicative of safeguarding issues and will be investigated as such as explained in our Safeguarding and Child Protection Policy.

We recognise also that there is the potential for pupils to be both victims and/or perpetrators.

Serious Violence

All staff are made aware of indicators, which may signal that children are at risk from, or are involved with serious violent crime. These may include increased absence from school, a change in friendships or relationships with older individuals or groups, a significant decline in performance, signs of self-harm or a significant change in wellbeing, or signs of assault or unexplained injuries. Unexplained gifts or new possessions could also indicate that children have been approached by, or are involved with, individuals associated with criminal networks or gangs and may be at risk of criminal exploitation. In addition, staff are aware of the range of factors which increase the likelihood of involvement in serious violence such as:

  • · being male
  • having been frequently absent or permanently excluded from school
  • having experienced child maltreatment
  • being involved in offending e.g. theft or robbery

Staff will notify the DSL immediately if they are concerned about any child.

The DSL and safeguarding team will liaise with other agencies, including social care and the police as required.

 Sharing Nudes and Semi-nudes

Sharing nudes and semi-nudes is when someone shares sexual, naked or semi-naked images or videos of themselves, or others, or sends sexually explicit messages. They can be sent using mobiles, tablets, smartphones, laptops or any device that allows the sharing of media and messages. All incidents must be reported to the DSL, as soon as practically possible who will follow the guidance in

UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) - GOV.UK (

The key consideration is for staff not to view or forward illegal images of a child.

Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment

Sexual violence and sexual harassment can occur between two children of any age and sex from primary to secondary stage and into colleges. It can also occur online. It can also occur through a group of children sexually assaulting or sexually harassing a single child or group of children.

Children who are victims of sexual violence and sexual harassment will likely find the experience stressful and distressing. This will, in all likelihood, adversely affect their educational attainment and will be exacerbated if the alleged perpetrator(s) attends the same school. Sexual violence and sexual harassment exist on a continuum and may overlap, they can occur online and face to face (both physically and verbally) and are never acceptable. It is essential that all victims are reassured that they are being taken seriously and that they will be supported and kept safe. A victim should never be given the impression that they are creating a problem by reporting sexual violence or sexual harassment. Nor should a victim ever be made to feel ashamed for making a report. Staff are aware that some groups are potentially more at risk. Evidence shows girls, children with special educational needs and disabilities (SEND) and LGBT children are at greater risk. Staff are aware of the importance of: · challenging inappropriate behaviours; · making clear that sexual violence and sexual harassment is not acceptable, will never be tolerated and is not an inevitable part of growing up; · not tolerating or dismissing sexual violence or sexual harassment as “banter”, “part of growing up”, “just having a laugh” or “boys being boys”; and, · challenging physical behaviours (potentially criminal in nature), such as grabbing bottoms, breasts and genitalia, pulling down trousers, flicking bras and lifting up skirts. Dismissing or tolerating such behaviours risks normalising them.

Harmful Sexual Behaviour (HSB)

Children’s sexual behaviour exists on a wide continuum, from normal and developmentally expected to inappropriate, problematic, abusive and violent. Problematic, abusive and violent sexual behaviour is developmentally inappropriate and may cause developmental damage. A useful umbrella term is “harmful sexual behaviour” (HSB). The term has been widely adopted in child protection. HSB can occur online and/or face to face and can also occur simultaneously between the two. HSB should be considered in a child protection context. When considering HSB, ages and the stages of development of the children are critical factors. Sexual behaviour between children can be considered harmful if one of the children is much older, particularly if there is more than two years’ difference or if one of the children is pre-pubescent and the other is not. However, a younger child can abuse an older child, particularly if they have power over them, for example, if the older child is disabled or smaller in stature.

In relation to behaviour specifically, we have two approaches depending on the situation.

  1. Is behaviour exhibited giving a cause for concern in that it may indicate that the child or young person is a victim?
  2. Is the child or young person potentially a perpetrator?

In all circumstances, school will follow national guidance and safeguarding procedures, seeking advice from other agencies as deemed appropriate.

Our response will be

  • Proportionate
  • Considered
  • Supportive
  • Decided on a case-by-case basis 

Pupils will be assured that we

  • Take their safety and wellbeing seriously
  • Listen to them 
  • Act on their concerns 
  • Do not tolerate or accept abuse 

Related Guidance:

  • Keeping Children Safe In Education 2021
  • Behaviour and Discipline in Schools
  • Mental Health and Behaviour in Schools https;//—2

Legislative Links

  • Education Act 1996
  • School Standards and Framework Act
  • Education Act 2002
  • Education and Inspections Act 2006
  • Education Act 2011