Egremont Primary School used to be very behaviour-focused. Behaviour charts in all classrooms, traffic lights, sun and cloud displays and threats of one more warning before a consequence. A lot of effort was going into trying to stem poor behaviour, yet it was having no such impact. Children had little respect for one another or for staff. Adult responses to behaviour were negative and children were not motivated to turn things around.
Under new leadership, Egremont wanted to change things. They have certainly done that. Using approaches that they developed through When The Adults Change training and book study, they have transformed their behaviour strategies, policies and attitudes. Through the training, staff were given the opportunity to really reflect on their environments and how to make a positive change. As a result, they have drastically changed the way they look at behaviour.
Things are now framed positively, with a focus on success and solutions rather than flagging up negatives. Behaviour charts are a thing of the past and have been replaced with recognition boards in all classrooms that are child-led and anonymous. This ensures that every child has a fair chance to be able to succeed. Recognition boards are not static. They are changed half-termly to help them to remain relevant and exciting. What has really worked for Egremont is allowing children to select their own recognition rewards. This has given them a sense of ownership and has encouraged them to go over and beyond. Exciting things they have chosen include film and popcorn afternoons and even an outdoor ‘festival’.
The school rules have been streamlined to ‘Ready, Respectful and Safe’ and they have truly been embraced by staff, pupils and parents. The 3 simple rules feature in assemblies, rewards, banners, signage and even uniform! Everyone understands them and they are inclusive. They help make it easy to de-escalate situations. Pupils are asked ‘Are you ready to learn?’, ‘Are you being respectful?’, ‘Are you safe?’ Then there can be an age-appropriate conversation to turn the behaviour around in a calm and respectful manner. Where there have been occasional issues with parent and carer behaviour they are also referred to ‘Ready, Respectful and Safe’. It is simple, but it has really worked for Egremont.
The school is reaping the rewards of their approach. Behaviour has been improved both during structured and unstructured time. The school is leading in terms of behaviour across the whole of their MAT, amongst the largest in the Wirral. The success of their changed approach was picked up by Ofsted in their recent inspection. Behaviour was identified as outstanding, and rightly so. Some key quotes include:
- “Pupils live up to leaders’ high expectations for their learning and behaviour. They achieve well”.
- “Pupils enjoy their learning. They try their best and are proud of their achievements”.
- “Pupils have positive relationships with each other. They are kind and respectful to each other.”
- “Pupils’ behaviour is exemplary. They fully understand the school rules of ‘ready, respectful, safe’”.
Egremont is ‘now a happy place’. Staff, parents and children are respected and morale is high. Children are excited and motivated to achieve. The school is keen to share its positive approach to behaviour, full of visible consistency, kindness and ‘botheredness’ about their pupils, who clearly mean so much to the adults at the school.