Eastfield Primary in Wolverhampton has always taken a positive approach to behaviour. However, if you’d taken a snapshot of the school in 2017, you would have seen staff that were overlooking the 95% of children who were doing the right thing all of the time and were approaching a small number of children with consequences, last chances and an increasing amount of negativity.
In 2018/2019 the leadership team agreed that they wanted their school to be a ‘relationships-driven’ school and committed to building a strong universal offer that would extend beyond the academic.
‘We knew that social and emotional skills were essential for our children’s development and learning, however, we also knew that social and emotional skills would need teaching if our aim for all of our children to have positive outcomes in later life was to come true!’
In the months that followed, 15 rules got striped back to 3. Recognition boards and emotion coaching were introduced and adults began to look at behaviour as the expression of an unmet need. The school introduced zones of regulation and had some intensive training in Restorative Practice. Staff and key members of the leadership team received intensive training and support from Hannah Hall.
Sarah and the Eastfield team looked at the development of relational practice as a 5-year plan and haven’t yet wavered from their focus despite behaviour incidents increasing initially and the effort that has been required to maintain whole school staff engagement and adult consistency,
‘It was hard to see behaviour incidents increase initially, however, it was also necessary for the children who were struggling, it enabled us to work more holistically and to get them the support they needed, this included EHCPs and also specialist provision, where necessary.’
As we approach the end of the 22/23 academic year, Eastfield Primary have firmly established ‘How we do it here’. The staff continue to reset and revisit the school culture in the wake of the pandemic and staffing changes. SLT have gone back to their beginnings with the support of the online course and are continually working to develop skills, provisions and understanding of relational practice.
Although the journey is ongoing and the work is hard, Eastfield has been delighted to have been recognised as a When the Adults Change partner school and received some wonderful comments in their 2023 OFSTED inspection. These included an acknowledgement of their consistent rules and the effective use of recognition; effective teaching and modelling of behaviour, a sense of safety and belonging for all pupils and a deep understanding of what safe and healthy relationships look like.