Relationships

Relationships Policy

 

Introduction

 

For all of us, enjoying positive, supportive relationships in our daily lives is key to our happiness and fulfilment. Moreover, having positive, supportive relationships is essential, not just for personal fulfilment, but for us to be able to fulfil our school aim:-

 

“Building a lifelong love of learning in a safe and happy school”

 

Learning can be acquired, but to love learning requires fascination, inquisitiveness, joy and excitement. For all our young learners, this comes from staff and parents giving a great deal of thought to the nature and quality of children’s learning experiences. Careful attention must be given to factors which motivate, engage, and build social and emotional skills and confidence.

 

The confidence to feel safe and happy at school is based on trust and warmth generated by our team of dedicated professionals who genuinely care about every child, that child’s family, and about one another.

 

At a staff workshop in June 2013, colleagues were asked to express the essence of our school culture, “what we stand for”, giving an immediate response, a gut feeling as it were, and using single words and phrases. Repetition reflects the number of people choosing that word:-

 

creativity creativity fantastic real life learning experiences like FS2 café learning experience awe wonder enjoyment daring support for the arts life skills good planning a head teacher who always backs her staff and all their crazy ideas achievement success high standards inclusion inclusive outstanding above and beyond going the extra mile over and above celebration celebration parental pride in their children pride interaction between children and their parents parental support parents and governors wowed by what their children can do in performances staff and parents tearful with emotion, i.e. moved by children parents surprised at seeing their children’s independence caring warm approachable love safe happy smiles confidence nurture relief generous everybody wanting each other to succeed respect welcoming welcoming friendship friendly community community school ‘family’ sense of community unity togetherness teamwork teamwork teamwork teamwork working together team spirit pulling together supportive supportive support support

 

It can be seen that the degree of consensus is high about what we believe important. Furthermore, everything we say we stand for, can only come about if rooted in positive relationships across the whole school community.

 

 

The purpose of having a Relationships Policy

 

We all have feelings, sometimes strong ones, but how we behave in response to our feelings, is a choice.

 

Making good choices consistently in how we behave isn’t always easy for any one of us. It can be particularly difficult for young children who are still at the early stages of making sense of their own feelings, and have limited experience of understanding and empathising with others.

 

Managing our relationships by behaving respectfully and with empathy replaces the need for a Behaviour Policy, thus this Relationships Policy takes its place.

 

This policy sets out the behaviours we expect of everyone involved in school life; the children and all the adults that support them. Those expectations are founded upon genuine affection for our children, and upon care, courtesy and mutual respect for all. In every day life at school, we describe our expectations as our values .

 

In this policy we set out the practical details of how we intend to live out our values. It focuses primarily on relationships with and between children, our whole raison d’etre as an infant school. It also provides a framework for us as adults, in order that the supportive teamwork we believe in so strongly, can allow creativity and success to flourish and make sure Loughton Manor is truly a safe and happy school for all.

 

 

Promoting and fostering positive relationships

 

Positive relationships are established from the first contact with Loughton Manor First School:

 

  • Staff always try to be helpful and friendly to anyone contacting or visiting the school.
  • Volunteers such as governors and parent helpers are similarly helpful in reaching out to our community, and play an important role in welcoming new parents in particular.
  • Staff take time and trouble to listen and respond warmly and with empathy to any enquiries or queries.
  • Ensuring every new pupil receives a home visit from their class teacher supports the establishment of an open and friendly relationship between staff and parents, and plays an important part in helping children to recognise and accept school staff as trusted adults who are working in partnership with their parents.
  • A careful, considered induction programme and similarly thoughtful transitions are designed to give children the confidence to feel secure and at ease in school.

 

 

Restorative Practices

 

A core part of our teaching is to help our children learn to manage their feelings, and consequently their behaviour. Our ideal is to create a restorative climate with ‘self managing’ behaviour, which makes the difference between ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ behaviour.

 

We have agreed that positive relationships are based on mutual knowledge, respect and shared values:

 

  • to see our behaviour in relation to others i.e. grow in awareness of the impact of our actions
  • and to develop empathy, i.e. try to understand and care about the viewpoint and feelings of others.

 

To do this we use a restorative framework. This involves employing communication practices that are inclusive, building integrity and dignity for everyone; staff, pupils, parents and the wider community. They are communications in which adults:

 

  • build a sense of connection and belonging for all members of the school community
  • develop understanding and appreciation of differences and difficulties
  • participate actively in promoting social responsibility and building a school climate of mutual respect

 

We believe self-discipline will grow and develop where pupils are actively involved in their learning and have opportunities to make decisions. Giving young children responsibility for their own behaviour encourages them to take risks, make mistakes and thus develop management of their actions. It's important to emphasise that it is the child's choice how to behave.

 

As a school we aim to view behaviour in terms of appropriate and inappropriate rather than good or bad. We seek to administer sanctions, which we describe as consequences, rather than to punish.

 

Consistency of approach by all members of the school community is essential for successful behaviour management. Our whole school restorative approach will include the common usage of appropriate language, and incorporates assertive discipline to support calm, objective interactions and positivity. See Appendix 1.

 

The school actively discourages any form of unacceptable behaviour such as teasing, bullying, racism or sexism, and always tackles any such issues promptly and thoroughly. Using restorative conversations consistently and conscientiously helps minimise unacceptable behaviour.

 

To help pupils to learn what is appropriate, staff actively encourage children to play adventurously but to make good choices when assessing risk.

 

Keeping restorative practices at the fore is essential when supporting the development of positive relationships, and in challenging unacceptable interactions. Ongoing training and staff discussion is needed to keep improving our practice. Summary information is displayed on the staff noticeboard. Staff are encouraged to seek advice from our lead practitioners, Janice Coleman, Penny Smith and Daniela Thompson, or from Lizzie Bancroft. Basic guidance is as follows:

 

Practice Standards

 

Affective Language

  • A precise, truthful statement of the impact of words and actions
  • Statements begin with ‘I’…
  • Affective statements are followed with a question in order to promote dialogue
  • Maintain a separation between the words used for people and the words used for actions
  • Affective feedback is spoken in a calm informative tone

 

Conversations and Informal Meetings

  • Take place as soon after an incident as is practically possible
  • Involve all those directly affected by the incident
  • Questions are asked in a respectful non-judgemental manner
  • Questions are always open-ended (ie require a response)
  • Questions are always structured (Find Out, Effects, Responsibility) to ensure fair process for all involved
  • Questions begin with the wrongdoer(s) and then those harmed
  • Opportunities are provided for making things right
  • The implications from any outcomes are clearly understood by all participants
  • Facilitators remain neutral i.e. refrain from offering opinions and interrupting…however, with our young pupils a certain amount of help and modelling of language is needed

 

 

A Positive Learning Environment

 

To build a positive learning environment, both children and adults need to work together to establish and sustain a culture of responsibility and co-operation. Features of an effective environment include:

  • positive values displayed prominently which are agreed, referred to and reviewed regularly by staff and pupils
  • simple, clear and predictable routines
  • use of visual cues
  • seating plans, when appropriate
  • effective organisation of furniture, resources and personnel
  • positive feedback for all children

 

 

 

 

Behaviour Management

 

Adults in school model and teach positive behaviour to make sure children understand what we mean. All practitioners respectfully make children aware of times when class or group listening is required.

 

All staff use the detailed Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL) and Personal, Social, Citizenship and Health Education (PSCHE) Scheme of Work as a common basis for teaching behaviour management. Agreed whole school themes for each half term are addressed in assemblies and Circle times.

 

Strategies used by school staff are numerous and broadly categorised into least to most intrusive, and always within a restorative framework. See Appendix 5.

 

The most successful interaction with pupils is when it refers to our values and is therefore not directly aimed at the pupil personally. Staff actively look for opportunities to offer praise and encouragement to reinforce positive behaviour.

 

Examples of rewards/positive strategies to teach and encourage good behaviour, and possible consequences of inappropriate behaviour, can be found in Appendix 6. However, there are two phrases we use consistently and frequently throughout the school:

 

  • When encouraging co-operation..."I need you to..."

 

  • To empower children to assert their needs..."Please, stop, I don't like it." This can be used with a hand signal of two raised palms when appropriate.

 

Additionally we have three strategies for gaining children’s silence and attention:

 

  • If an adult raises their hand, children are to fall silent and copy the action. Any adults in the vicinity model this and cease all conversation immediately.

 

  • A clapped rhythm which the children echo, repeat once or twice as needed

 

  • Instead of the above ‘hands up’ signal, the Midday Welfare Assistants use a small, pleasant toned bell to gain silence. This is because the hands up signal has proven difficult to implement when children are seated at round lunch tables, many with backs to adults.

 

For some children it will be necessary for them to have a 'Behaviour Plan' to help them to manage their behaviour. This will be put in place by staff, parents and the child working together. Advice and support is available from the Inclusion Manager, Headteacher and SENDIS.

 

 

More serious / repeated misdemeanours

 

Repeated incidents or more serious inappropriate behaviour will entail involvement of the Headteacher or a Senior Member of Staff. Parents will be informed at this time.

 

An Incident log will be kept in the case of repeated inappropriate behaviour.

 

For further or persistent poor behaviour parents will be involved and frequent /regular oral communication between parents, teacher /Headteacher and pupil may be necessary.

 

Persistent or particularly serious misbehaviour will entail more prolonged consequences given by teachers or Headteacher, and close communication with parents to inform them of the situation, and involve them.

 

It is always to be hoped that a positive result will be reached, that the behaviour is rectified and that there is no recurrence.

 

In the event of extremely poor or dangerous behaviour parents will be informed and governors will be involved.

 

If all the above procedures prove to be ineffective the offending pupil may be excluded with the agreement of the governors. This is seen as the last option.

On rare occasions it is necessary for physical intervention to prevent a pupil causing injury or damage, or causing disruption. See Appendix 7 for specific guidance on the use of force to control or restrain pupils.

 

 

Bullying

 

We acknowledge that young children will argue, squabble or even on occasion hurt one another within the ‘normal’ range of learning to manage their behaviour and developing their social skills. We constantly seek to address this through our PSCHE curriculum and commitment to restorative practice.

 

However, ‘bullying’ is distinct from this. It is when there is persistent, targeted unkind behaviour. It is an issue we take seriously, and will always challenge. It is important that we agree what bullying is, and that all staff follow our policy in dealing with it.

 

Bullying can be:-

 

Physical: Pushing, hitting, other forms of violence and threats

Verbal: Name-calling, sarcasm, teasing, spreading rumours, deliberately hurtful remarks (nb verbal bullying can be spoken or written*)

Non-verbal: Pulling faces, threatening looks or gestures

Emotional: Exclusion, tormenting, ridicule, humiliation

Racist: Racial taunts, graffiti, gestures.

 

*Cyberbullying: text messages, use of social networks, emails etc as a form of verbal and/or emotional bullying. See the school’s E safety policy for further guidance.

 

We encourage children always to tell an adult. It is important that the child can trust us to pursue the matter thoroughly. Specifically we will:

 

  • investigate the incident using restorative discussions and find out how serious it is
  • talk to the wrongdoer/s, the victim, and any witnesses to establish what has happened
  • involve the parents of the wrongdoer/s and the victim
  • have as our main aim that the wrongdoer recognises his or her behaviour and stops it

 

To minimise the potential for bullying, staff will:

 

  • have regular class discussions and/or circle times, some of which specifically inform our school council of children’s concerns
  • ensure daily check-in circles take place to build respect and empathy for all
  • model and teach a range of personal, social, health and citizenship activities throughout the school
  • ensure all staff are aware of and follow policy, and use a restorative approach
  • develop playground activities
  • have assembly time discussions
  • listen to children
  • listen to parents with an open mind
  • ensure we keep colleagues informed of any situation or incident where our teamwork will be of significance

 

We work to the Milton Keynes Council guidance for schools in dealing with racist incidents and our school’s Racial Equality Policy. This includes keeping a record of the same, and reporting an anonymised termly summary to the LA for the purposes of monitoring. (Appendix 3, record).

 

Monitoring and Evaluation

 

The effectiveness of our Relationships Policy will be assessed annually via the school’s M and E policy and schedule.

 

Review

 

This policy will be reviewed annually in early September as close to the start of the academic year as possible.

 

Appendices

 

Appendix 1: Guidelines of our whole school approach to ‘Assertive Discipline’

Appendix 2: Playground Behaviour Plan

Appendix 3: Form for reporting Racist Incidents

Appendix 4: Our Recipe for a Happy School

Appendix 5: Strategies for Managing Behaviour

Appendix 6: Examples of Rewards and Possible Consequences of Inappropriate Behaviour

Appendix 7: Use of Force to Control or Restrain Pupils

 

 

 

Appendix 1

 

Guidelines of our whole school approach to ‘Assertive Discipline’

 

We use assertive discipline within the context of restorative practices, as set out in the Relationships Policy.

 

“To assert” can be defined as “to state or affirm positively, assuredly, plainly or strongly”.

 

It is not about being “bossy”, “aggressive” or “loud”.

 

An assertive member of staff sends a very clear message to their students that:

 

“I am committed to being the leader in this classroom, a leader who will establish an environment where I can teach and my students can learn. To reach this goal, I am committed to teaching and empowering my students to choose the responsible behaviour that will allow them to succeed in school, and succeed later in life.”

 

  • Assertive discipline is about empowering students in this way, but also empowering staff to take control – to take away feelings of helplessness, guilt fear, and isolation, thus improving morale, reducing stress and creating a happier working environment.

 

  • “Teaching is harder than any other profession” in that we have to manage our biology. When we give an instruction in the classroom our evolutionary response will encourage us to look for those who “don’t do it” – anxiety over this will result in a natural reaction of either “fight” or “flight”. There should be no blame attached to this – this is acting like a human being. In assertive discipline we are trying to manage our biology by using clear directions linked with positive repetition – focussing on the ‘invisible’ majority, not the ‘dodgy’ minority.

  • Assertive discipline requires whole staff commitment.

 

  • ‘Staffroom talk’ – we need to talk more about the positives and share loudly the many successes, eg discussing effective restorative conversations and the positive impact for the children involved.

 

  • Adopting assertive discipline can be seen as a healthy schools initiative, promoting respectful, positive relationships.

 

Facts that make Assertive Discipline a necessity

 

  • Children today are bringing more than pens and pencils to school. In increasing numbers, they’re bringing the confusion and uncertainties of, for example, family breakdown, emotional neglect, financial hardship. Sometimes there are troubled adults in children’s lives who may not be able to teach their children to feel good about themselves.

 

  • A good curriculum will help pupils stay on task. But first they must know how to be on task. The reality is that you are going to have pupils who exhibit behaviour problems even with the best curriculum and teaching.

 

So what do students need?

 

  • To know staff members’ behavioural expectations
  • Agreed shared values
  • Positive recognition and support
  • To be taught how to choose responsible behaviour
  • A fresh start every session / every new day the slate is clean

 

The aim for students and teachers is a win:win situation.

 

 

A POSITIVE BEHAVIOUR PLAN

 

 

VALUES AGREED AND UNDERSTOOD

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POSITIVE RECOGNITION (REWARDS)

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CONSEQUENCES

 

  • Makes managing student behaviour much easier
  • Protects your right to teach
  • Protects students’ right to learn
  • Protects the right of all to feel safe
  • Helps ensure the headteacher’s support

 

Remember:

 

VALUES must be CLEAR

 

REWARDS must INCLUDE THE CHILDREN’S IDEAS

 

CONSEQUENCES must be APPROPRIATE

 

CONSISTENCY of consequences is essential.

 

GIVE THINKING TIME whilst acting promptly

 

SEVERITY is not important. Lengthy periods sitting in the corridor or library is not necessary or appropriate – 1 or 2 minutes is just as effective. Consider giving the child a timer to remind you when the 2 minutes is up. This can usefully prompt a restorative conversation in which the child takes responsibility.

Teaching Responsible Behaviour

 

ACTION

 

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THINK FEEL

 

 

The aim is to get children to slow down and think before they act. Disruptive pupils tend to act immediately, impulsively, as a response to what they feel. We need to create time for their adrenalin level to settle down.

 

We teach responsible behaviour in the manner that we need to teach academic subjects.

 

TELL

 

TEACH/COACH

 

MOTIVATE/REWARD

 

EMPOWER

 

(Learn to do it, not because I told you so, but because it is contextually relevant. However, we need to be age appropriate, eg in FS1 there is a lot of ‘telling’ needed)

 

Why teach/coach?

 

We cannot make assumptions about understanding. Inappropriate behaviour is not necessarily ‘misbehaviour’ intended to be disruptive or negative – they may just not know yet how to behave.

 

  • Teach the values, rewards, consequences step by step
  • Make sure the children realise that the whole programme rests upon them making behaviour choices.
  • Check understanding of vocabulary in plan
  • Place plan on wall to refer to regularly
  • Use role-play, questioning, coaching to ensure understanding
  • Types of question:

Descriptive – the facts, meaning

Reflective – why important

Speculative – what would happen if? What would you feel if?

 

Aspiration

That less and less feedback is needed as children gain the confidence and understanding to become consistently positive and self-managing

 

Your classroom positive behaviour plan must be underpinned by an engaging curriculum, sound classroom organisation and clear task instructions.

 

Children need to know what they need to do and most importantly why (WALT and WILF!)

 

Get children to repeat what they have to do. They often listen better to peers.

 

Teaching routine

 

Define activity

Rationale

Demonstrate

Establish signal for attention

Practice

Give Feedback

If necessary re-teach.

 

Noise Level

 

‘Silence’ – do you really mean it when you ask for it?

 

Partner Voice

Group Voice

Class Voice

Playground Voice

 

The children need help to develop these and learn how to use them. Displays such as pictures, graphs or a ‘noisometer’ pointer can help.

 

Teacher must have signs known by all to indicate ‘listening time’. It must be uniform, consistent and mandatory. Egs are a drum or tambourine; raised hand signal, a song or chant; clapped rhythm

 

An important point to remember:

 

Most children we teach can, with a lot of support learn to use their ‘thinking brain’ before they act. There are a very few who will continue to use their ‘emotional brain’ first and these are cases which require outside support agencies and individual behaviour plans.

 

In these cases we need to be explicit with the other children about why an individual is being responded to outside the agreed plan, and explain how we are going to help.

 

It is important to be open and honest with them.

 

 

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