School Policies

written by the staff of Marston Middle School Oxford

Behaviour in School
March 1996

Equal Opportunities
July 1990

Gifted Pupils
January 1994

Special Needs
June 1993

Staff Development
September 1990


Behaviour in School
March 1996

copyright free
This policy was developed by the staff of Marston Middle School Oxford. You are welcome to download it and print it for your own personal use, or for use in a school or other educational establishment, but if you do so it would be appreciated if you would acknowledge its source.



Contents

1 Basic principles
2 Rights and responsibilities
3 The Good Behaviour Scheme
4 Other Strategies for dealing with unacceptable behaviour
5 Parental Support

1 Basic principles

Our "Mission Statement" describes the school as a community of pupils, staff, parents and governors within the wider community. It goes on to state that our aims are:

  • to promote good relationships - we try to be aware of everyones needs, to listen to and care for each other; and an environment conducive to learning - one which is calm yet interesting and stimulating;
  • to develop a uniquely middle school style of education which effectively bridges the divide between the primary, class-teacher based approach of the first year and the subject-based, specialist taught approach of the fourth year, helping our pupils develop their personalities, skills and abilities intellectually and socially over that period of change in their lives from childhood to adolescence;
  • to promote the professional development and motivation of all our staff (teaching and non-teaching) so that the school is an enjoyable and satisfying place in which to work;
  • to provide teaching which makes learning challenging and enjoyable, enabling upils to realise their potential;
  • to manage our resources (human and material) effectively to promote the above aims.
We are committed to working for quality and equality of opportunity.

The above aims can only be achieved if all members of the school (pupils, teachers, other staff, parents/guardians and governors) behave in ways which are acceptable to the school community as a whole. These acceptable forms of behaviour can be identified by listing the Rights and Responsibilities which all members of the school have.

2 Rights and responsibilities

All members of the school have the following rights:

  • to come to school free from fear of bullying (physical violence, threats, intimidation, name-calling - especially racist and sexist name-calling, ridicule, unkindness);
  • to be treated with fairness, courtesy and politeness;
  • to be listened to and taken seriously;
  • to operate within a calm atmosphere.
All members of the school have the following responsibilities:
  • to treat other members of the school with fairness, courtesy and politeness;
  • to listen to others sympathetically;
  • not to lie or deliberately mislead;
  • to assist in the maintenance of a calm atmosphere;
  • to ensure that no bullying incident is ignored.
In addition to these general rights and responsibilities, teachers and pupils also have particular rights and responsibilities.

Teachers (and, where appropriate, classroom assistants) have the following rights (in relation to pupils):

  • to have all reasonable instructions obeyed without question;
  • to be told the truth (for example, when investigating incidents of unacceptable behaviour)
  • to expect that work set will be done and handed in on time.
Teachers (and, where appropriate, classroom assistants) have the following responsibilities (in relation to pupils):
  • to plan lessons in which pupils are taught and set work which is appropriate for them and as interesting and challenging as possible;
  • to provide (as far as possible within the constraints of the budget) appropriate books, equipment and facilities of good quality;
  • to begin and end lessons punctually;
  • to manage their lessons so that pupils are not prevented from working by poor organisation, bad behaviour or unnecessary noise;
  • to mark and assess pupils' work frequently, offering them constructive criticism and, whenever possible, opportunities for discussing it;
  • to promote the school's behaviour policy at all times, not just in their own lessons.
Pupils have the following rights (in relation to teachers):
  • to be taught and set work which is appropriate to their ability and as challenging and interesting as possible;
  • to have their work marked and assessed frequently and to be offered constructive criticism and, whenever possible, the chance to discuss it;
Pupils have the following responsibilities (in relation to teachers):
  • to arrive at lessons punctually with the right books and equipment, and to leave promptly when asked to do so;
  • to obey all instructions without question or answering back (if a pupil genuinely believes an instruction isunreasonable, s/he should obey it anyway. Later, s/he should discuss the matter with the teacher who gave the instruction or with another teacher, and then, if necessary, with the Year Coordinator or Head Teacher);
  • to complete the work set and hand it in on time (if a pupil has genuine problems about completing a piece of work, s/he should discuss this with the teacher as soon as possible - not wait until it is due to be handed in);
  • to behave in and around the school in such a way as to maintain the calm atmosphere and to ensure the safety of others. This means, for example, not running or shouting indoors.
3 The good behaviour scheme

Rewards
Staff should be generous with praise where appropriate, such commendations being written in exercise books and/or homework diaries. Recognition of pupils' achievements can be acknowledged in form tutor periods and in year group assemblies. Pupils' work should be displayed as much as possible. The head teacher and year coordinators all welcome the opportunity to praise individual pupils for pieces of good work or especially good behaviour if these are brought to their notice. The head teacher's commendation and courtesy card schemes have been working well for some time now. Above all, praise and encouragement should be offered as often as possible.

The behaviour record folder
Each class has a behaviour record folder containing a behaviour record sheet (obtainable from the school office) for each week. The folder is taken from lesson to lesson by a responsible pupil. The behaviour record sheets are used to record behaviour credits and debits.

Classroom rules
1 Arrive promptly and fully equipped for lessons
2 Listen in silence when the teacher is talking to the class
3 Allow everyone to work: dont disrupt lessons
4 Don't leave a lesson without permission
5 Treat other people, their work and their belongings with respect

Around the school
1 Walking and talking are the rules when moving around inside the buildings - no running or shouting
2 You are allowed inside before school and at breaks and lunchtimes only if you are supervised by a member of staff
3 The car park is out of bounds unless you have specific permission from a member of staff to be there

Lunchtime rules
1 Be polite and courteous
2 Queue properly
3 Eat your food sensibly
4 Stay outside or in the dining room unless you are being supervised by an adult
5 Stay on the school premises unless you have permission to go out

No members of the teaching staff of this school are required to be on duty during the lunch-break: the head accepts responsibility with the assistance of the lunchtime supervisors.

Non-teaching staff
All non-teaching members of staff (The librarian, lab assistant, office staff, learning support assistants, site manager, lunchtime supervisors and kitchen staff) should be treated with the same respect as other members of the school. They may give courtesy cards and recommend pupils for other rewards. They may also ask form tutors to give pupils debits. Lunchtime supervisors may give pupils debits for breaking the lunchtime rules - they should inform office staff who will see that form tutors are notified.

Lunchtime supervisors should wear name badges so that pupils can call them by their names. They should be offered a termly opportunity to discuss their roles with the head.

Credits
Pupils automatically receive a behaviour credit for every lesson during which they keep all the agreed rules. At the start of each lesson, absent pupils should be marked with an 'A'. At the end of each lesson pupils who have received debits during the lesson (see below) have the number of the rule broken recorded for each debit. Finally, the credits are recorded as oblique strokes (which are very quick to mark). Each pupil who breaks no rules will thus end each week with 24 credits. Pupils who achieve credits should be praised freely.

Pupils who achieve100% credits will receive an 'excellent behaviour' certificate; almost 100% credits will receive a 'good behaviour' certificate; less than this will receive a letter informing parents/guardians of their child's credit/debit scores.

Debits
The good behaviour scheme seeks to encourage good behaviour, but it also provides for debits to be given for breaking the agreed classroom rules. The first time a pupil breaks a rule s/he should be given a warning and his/her name should be written on the blackboard. For subsequent breaches of rules, a debit should be given: the teacher should make it clear which of the classroom rules the pupil has broken and the number of the rule should be indicated on the behaviour record. If a pupil gets two debits in one lesson, s/he should be told what the punishment will be (eg staying in at break) and then sent to the year coordinator for the remainder of that lesson. Pupils may not be sent to the foyer nor sat outside a classroom as a punishment.

During the form tutor period on Friday afternoon, the form tutor adds up the total credits and debits for each pupil and, after telling pupils their scores, send the sheet to the year coordinator. Year coordinators should make photocopies of the week's sheets and send these to the school office.

At the end of each half-term the head teacher will send excellent and good behaviour certificates or letters (depending on the pupil's performance) to all parents/guardians.

4 Other strategies for dealing with unacceptable behaviour

Strategies for dealing with unacceptable behaviour should be common throughout the school and parents should be made aware of them. All staff should follow the agreed policy and supply teachers should be given a brief summary.

'Blanket' sanctions should be avoided - ie staff should not punish a whole class because some pupils have offended - this is unfair to the rest of the class.

An initial letter outlining the sanctions (draft attached) to go to all parents early in the summer term 1996. A version of this letter should be sent to all new parents.

Some things are forbidden at this school: Truancy; bullying (physical violence, intimidation, name-calling, racist and sexist behaviour etc); spitting; damaging or stealing property; bringing unsuitable things to school such as cigarettes, tobacco or matches, dangerous implements (knives etc), inappropriate materials (pornography etc).

Contracts
A useful strategy for helping difficult pupils to improve their behaviour is the contract, in which targets - and rewards for achieving them - are set out and agreed to by pupil, staff and, where appropriate, parents.

Incident Forms
More serious incidents must be recorded on behaviour incident forms. Office staff collect these forms and collate the information. This is given to form tutors weekly: they should pass it on to year coordinators. Where a pupil gets three or more forms in a week, a standard letter (available from the office) is sent to the parents by the year coordinator. If the pupil gets three or more forms the following week, a second letter is sent, asking the parents to come into school to discuss the pupils behaviour. If the parents do not respond, the matter is referred to the head teacher.

Keeping pupils in
Staff have the right to keep pupils in during morning break. (Keeping pupils in at lunchtime is problematic since some go home - better to keep them in at break). Pupils may be kept in for up to ten minutes at the end of the school day without informing parents, but keeping a whole class in should be avoided except in extreme cases.

Detention
Staff have the right to put a pupil in detention for 45 minutes after school. The member of staff giving the detention must give parents at least twenty-four hours notice by phone or in writing (a standard letter is available from the school office) and must supervise it, though staff may share this duty. For example, if three teachers put three pupils in detention on the same night, only one of them need supervise.

Refusal to cooperate
If a pupil refuses to comply with a reasonable instruction, the teacher concerned should ask the pupil directly 'Are you refusing to cooperate?' If so, the teacher should, when possible, send the pupil to the head teacher with a note of explanation. If the head is satisfied that the teacher's instruction is a reasonable one and the pupil still refuses to comply, the head will either phone the parents to arrange for the pupil to go home for the remainder of that day or will delegate this duty to the member of staff making the complaint.

Confiscation
Staff are entitled to confiscate a pupil's property if

  • the pupil is using the item to distract him/herself or others from the lesson
  • the item is potentially dangerous or inappropriate for school (e.g. penknife, pornographic magazine).
Confiscated property must be collected by the pupil at the end of the school day (with the instruction, where appropriate, not to bring it to school again). Where the property is potentially dangerous or inappropriate it should not be returned to the pupil: the parents/guardians should be notified and asked to come to school to collect the item.

Physical violence
Minor incidents should be punished by keeping in at break or by detention. Incidents involving actual injury (bruising, bleeding etc) will be dealt with as follows:

  • First incident detention and head's letter to parents
  • Subsequent incidents exclusion (usually for two days, but may become permanent if behaviour is repeated).
Exclusion
Exclusion is a sanction for misbehaviour and a means of intervening in the situation of a school student for whom educational provision has broken down.

Only the head teacher may exclude a pupil. Exclusions can be fixed-term (maximum five days) or permanent. In both cases, parents must be informed in writing and have their right of appeal explained. A copy of the letter and an exclusion form must be sent to the education officer for the school. In the case of permanent exclusions the governors must discuss the case within 15 days and the LEA and the governors have the right to reinstate the pupil.

5 Parental support

A letter outlining our behaviour policy will be sent to parents/guardians before their child is admitted to the school. They will be invited to sign a return slip indicating their support.