What was your school like before relational practice?


We believe that everything we do is a faithful response to God’s faithfulness, shown to us through Jesus Christ. Our vision is to reflect God’s Glory in every season of life, in all aspects, from the little things, to the big.

Beliefs and Values

We believe that God’s heart is for his children to thrive in a happy, secure, and caring environment at the Deanery. It is an essential part of our Christian ethos that we thank God for how he has demonstrated peace, love, faith, joy, grace and hope to us. We seek to reflect these core values throughout all areas of life in the school. We believe that education, strengthened by our faith, is the vehicle with which children can achieve their full potential.

School Culture

At the Deanery we aim to provide opportunities and experiences for everyone to learn and develop their social, creative and academic skills within a motivating and stimulating environment.

What triggered the change?

Our original behaviour policy was due for review and we wanted to revamp our approach based on a number of reasons:

  • Focus more on relational behaviour approaches rather than public naming and shaming
  • A change to our reward system as housepoints had lost their appeal. Children admitted that they weren’t particularly bothered by housepoints or certificates at the end of term in KS2 and KS1 did not have a consistent housepoint or rewards system.
  • An increased focus on attachment theory-driven approaches
  • A positive approach to behaviour management
  • A realisation that we had school rules but no-one knew what they were and different rules in different classrooms thus creating confusion and inconsistencies

Covid lockdown allowed us some space to reevaluate our approaches and research alternative behaviour approaches.

We also had new staff who had previously implemented elements of Paul Dix’s relational approach to behaviour and who were great advocates.

What were the expectations/hopes?

We expect all children to consistently make the right choices. This behaviour is underpinned by our school values, and our three school rules.

Our school values are:

  • Love
  • Joy
  • Peace
  • Grace
  • Faith
  • Hope

Our School Rules are:

Ready (having equipment organised, appropriate behaviour in class and assemblies)

Respectful (to be polite, to consider others’ feelings, to wait their turn, to accept a solution or a consequence, to care for school equipment, to value each other’s work)

Safe (walk around school calmly and quietly, work and play co-operatively, tell the truth)

These keywords are prominently displayed in our school hall, classrooms and corridors. Assemblies frequently explore what each value entails, so that there is a mutual understanding of what it means to ‘Behave the Deanery Way’ and what, as a school community, we can do to uphold the expectations.

These expectations are achieved by:

  • Encouraging students to develop positive behaviour for learning in recognition of its importance as a lifelong skill.
  • Providing a safe, happy and friendly environment which encourages each individual to achieve their own potential through a desire for excellence, using challenging, active and creative personalised learning.
  • Enabling staff to support children with their behaviour through providing students with strategies to manage their own behaviour.
  • Maintaining a calm and purposeful working atmosphere.
  • Ensuring that all children and adults have a sense of belonging, feeling safe, secure and valued.
  • Providing a clear, fair and consistent approach to behaviour.
  • Fostering, nurture and value strong and healthy relationships.
  • Ensuring that our children are intrinsically motivated to do the right thing because it is the right thing to do.
  • Ensuring that there is complete consistency from staff in the implementation of the policy.

We expect children to:

  • Follow the three school rules: Be ready, Be respectful, Be safe.
  • Be respectful to one another, speak calmly and courteously.
  • To respect the feelings of others and to treat everyone as they would like to be treated.
  • Do the simple things right – arrive in school on time, wear our school uniform with pride, bring the correct equipment for learning.
  • Speak to an adult if they have any concerns.
  • Work restoratively to avoid conflict and respect the right of others to be different.
  • Listen to the views of others and accept their rights to hold those views.
  • Respect the school building, facilities and equipment.

The principle behind our behaviour system is that we want children to make positive behaviour choices because it is the right thing to do not because of the promise of a reward or the threat of a punishment. After all, no one rewards us as adults for sticking to the speed limit! We want children to recognise that we need to follow rules for the greater good i.e. stick to the speed limit because it keep us and others safe.

What happened – what have you done, how did it pan out?

Recognition boards:

Each class has a focus related to one of the school

rules and the aim is for all children to demonstrate this and get onto the recognition board. Once this happens, the class are rewarded although they will not be rewarded with non-learning time i.e. Golden Time as this sends the wrong message about learning.


Staff send physical postcards home, virtual emailed postcards home or make a phone call to share positive praise about children.

Great work:

Children are given a sticker as positive recognition and then invited to take their great pieces of work to the subject lead for positive praise. This gives children praise from a range of staff across school.


We wish to give recognition to pupils who go ‘above and beyond’. ‘Above and Beyond’ behaviours include exceeding our school values, impacting the wider school community and showing initiative. For this we award tokens.

  • Children are invited to donate their token to their chosen charity as a way of seeing themselves as citizens that can make a difference and can work for the greater good.
  • In order to increase the role and responsibility of our head boys, head girls and house captains, we have tasked them to choose the 3 charities per term (local one term, national another and international in the 3rd) and to run assemblies each term to explain to the school which charities we are supporting and why.
  • Each term we run a fundraising event to raise money for the charities e.g. non-uniform, enterprise activity, art gallery, family quiz etc
  • The 3 charities receive a proportion of the profits raised depending on the number of votes/tokens gained for each charity.

Fabulous Fridays:

Juice and a biscuit with the Head Teacher to be given to 2 pupils per year group each Friday.

This can be given to 2 pupils from one class or 1 from each.

This is to recognise pupils who continually do the right things and are always making good choices.

What was easy, what was hard?


The majority of our staff embraced the new approach and were eager to implement change.

  • Getting the children on board
  • Covid almost gave us a ‘natural break’ so the change to a new system was relatively easy
  • Setting up a behaviour steering committee meant that we could gain opinions from across the school and the implementation didn’t fall to one person


We have encountered some resistance from a few staff

  • Getting the wider school on board and all doing the same thing – ie before and after school club, lunchtimes
  • Keeping the momentum going with recognition boards.
  • Some of the older children who remembered ‘golden time’ were quite vocal in our Children’s SEF about wanting this back!
  • Knowing where to go next.

Where are you now?

Visible consistencies –

Staff meet and greet children at the door in the mornings.

Relentless routines are agreed and carried out by all staff in that year group including lunchtimes.

Each class has a recognition board.

Recognition focus is agreed and visible in each classroom.

Staff notice and respond to good behaviour exhibited by children across the school.

The 3 school rules are visible and reinforced by all.

All staff challenge children who are not keeping the school rules in a non-confrontational way using the 3 school rules as an anchor.

At Deanery, we encourage positive behaviour which reflects our values. Our behaviour management approach is based upon building strong relationships between adults and children. The use of positive reinforcement strategies will always be our default approach.

However, we understand that occasionally children will behave inappropriately for a variety of reasons. As practitioners, we should always thinking ‘all behaviour is communication’ and what is the child trying to communicate. We realise that sometimes this can be different for every child who has their own packet of needs so may look different in each individual case. The context of the situation is to be always taken into account. When children display this behaviour, there are several layers of consequences in place to encourage them to self-regulate their behaviour in a positive way.

We employ a four-tier intervention behavioural management system:

  1. Verbal Reminder
  2. Warning
  3. Second Warning
  4. Consequence – Action Warning or Action Consequence

What advice would they give to others?

Go for it!!

This approach puts consistency but most of all relationships and CHILDREN at the heart.

Remember that it will take time to embed the new routines and systems, we were told it would take 3-5 years.