Before embracing relational practice as a whole school approach, Bannerman High School faced numerous challenges that hindered its progress as they contended with a high number of behaviour referrals and exclusions. In the 2016-2017 academic year alone they had 87 exclusions and lost 303 openings (half days), earning it the title of the highest excluding school in the local authority. While in 2018-2019, the number of behaviour referrals reached 2250.
These circumstances fueled a collective desire to create an inclusive school where exceptional relationships would form the bedrock of academic, individual, and social development. The goal was to include and engage every young person while fostering better behaviour, reducing referrals, eliminating detentions, minimising exclusions, and having active participation and buy-in of all stakeholders.
To achieve this vision, Bannerman High School implemented a range of strategies. A “Meet and Greet” routine set the tone for positive interactions, while the “Ready to Learn” routine ensured students were prepared for academic engagement. The staff placed emphasis on acknowledging positive behaviour first, followed by private and reinforced reminders.
The school established clear values of Respect, Responsibility, and Ambition, along with concise rules and key phrases like “I’ve noticed that,” “It’s our rule about,” “I need you to,” and “Thank you” instead of “please.” A well-defined corridor code and consistent presence of adults added to the positive atmosphere.
The results of their commitment to providing children with the support they need have been remarkable. Exclusions were drastically reduced, with only one exclusion recorded in the 2022-2023 academic year. Similarly, the number of lost openings dropped to a mere two half days and behaviour referrals saw a substantial decline, with only 402 referrals from August to March of the same year.
As a When the Adults Change partner school Bannerman High School serves as an inspiring example, reminding us all that fostering strong relationships is at the heart of creating a thriving educational environment.