Abbs Cross school behaviour policy is defensive. What’s demonstrated is a tragic wasted opportunity for having a positive rewards policy embedded within its behaviour policy. This would be alongside and carrying equal weight to the rule directed policy presently existing. Abbs Cross has had a good Ofsted (see addendum two), which provides a platform to build on now that they’ve put their ‘inadequate’ status behind them.
The Behaviour Policy of Abbs Cross school runs to eight pages.1
The Aims (p2) include:
To promote Student Voice in regard to Behaviour for Learning expectations and Rewards (bullet point 6: my emphasis).
The Statement of General Principles (pp2-3) has 20 statements only one of which is a token nod at rewards-
Will support, praise and as appropriate reward students’ behaviour.
There’s lavish detail on control but the positive side of motivation is absent. This is counter-intuitive as students react well to rewards whereas punishment can create resentment and further disruptive behaviour.
The negative tone extends to parents/carers. Student and parental misconduct is highlighted (pp2-3) along with indicated draconian action.2 Later (p6) parents/carers who bring drugs, alcohol and weapons are reminded that this is against school rules. School rules aren’t being broken: laws are being broken.
Under the heading General Expectations(p6) there are 17 descriptive statements (addendum one). At first glance they wouldn’t be out of place in a Victorian factory or prison. They’re prescriptive and, in many respects, petty. They can also be repetitive – compare point 2 in ‘General Expectations’ and point 5 in ‘Students are expected.’
The Ofsted Report, September 2017, (see addendum two) is quite clear that the school is doing well in regard to behaviour. Doubtless the ‘Inadequate’ status was bruising but it’s time for the school to move on. The Behaviour Policy should be reviewed making it more effective so that the elusive ‘outstanding’ status is achieved.
Addendum one: General Expectations
Be punctual to school and to all lessons
Be smart in appearance and in full correct uniform
Be prepared and fully equipped for all lessons including bringing PE kit when needed
Be responsible for the school environment
Be kind, polite and careful
Be motivated to learn
Students are expected:
To arrive at school by on time with the correct books and equipment for the day
To respect others and their property
To respect the building and grounds
To follow directions
To wear correct school uniform as outlined in the schools Uniform policy
To move around the school on the left in an orderly manner
To carry their diary with them and to use it appropriately
To complete homework and hand it in on time
To stay healthy
Addendum two: Ofsted Report3
The behaviour of pupils is good.
Leaders have done much to improve behaviour and their hard work has paid off. Pupils’ behaviour in lessons and around the school is consistently good. Behaviour is especially strong when pupils move between lessons where they walk calmly from one classroom to another. Similarly, pupils behave well during break and lunchtimes. As a result, there is very little disruption around the school and pupils get to their lessons on time. Pupils are polite and courteous and relationships between pupils and staff are respectful. This ensures that there is a positive climate right across the school that encourages learning.
Pupils are clear that bullying is rare and that it hardly ever happens. They confirm that behaviour has improved in the last few years and that bullying is no longer a problem. However, pupils are confident that if there was any bullying it would be dealt with effectively by teachers and leaders.
Procedures to check pupils’ attendance and follow up absence are secure. The reorganisation of the pastoral care system has helped to ensure that these procedures work effectively. As a result, attendance has improved and is in line with other schools in England.