A Staffordshire school is to help lead national efforts to improve pupil behaviour in classrooms.
Painsley Catholic College, in Cheadle, is one of 22 schools designated as ‘behaviour hubs’ as part of a £10 million Government programme.
Over the next three years, it will be offering mentoring, training and one-to-one support to other schools facing challenges.
It could include tips for preventing low-level disruption in lessons, school-wide approaches on maintaining discipline and keeping staff up-to-date on behaviour management techniques.
On the back of the new behaviour drive, the Government also wants to see more schools ban mobile phones in classrooms and adopt policies such as ‘quiet corridors’.
But Rachel Waugh, principal of Painsley, stressed the work would be about helping schools to find their own solutions rather than imposing a set behaviour model.
She said: “It will allow teachers to teach and young people to flourish. It is exciting to be part of the programme.”
The behaviour hub will offer different levels of support, with two ‘extended partner’ schools getting more intensive help over the next year. There will be a number of other schools who benefit from training and resources.
Painsley is also planning to hold ‘open days’ to show good practice in action.
The partner schools have yet to be identified, but could include those marked down by Ofsted for pupil behaviour. Staffordshire and Stoke-on-Trent high schools will be among those who can ‘self-refer’ for the extra help.
Mrs Waugh said one of the most successful approaches at Painsley has been introducing pastoral leaders instead of having heads of year.
“Each pastoral leader is responsible for 50 or 60 students. They can really get to know them and work in partnership with home,” she added.
Senior leaders are also very visible around school at break-times and at the start and end of the day.
The school sets clear expectations for pupil behaviour. To help motivate students, there are rewards such as certificates, prize draws, vouchers, praise letters sent to parents and celebration events.
But those who flout the rules also know they face sanctions, ranging from detentions and verbal warnings through to possible exclusions.
The Government’s behaviour hub programme follows growing concerns nationally over behaviour in schools.
A recent NASUWT survey found more than one in 20 teachers have been subjected to physical violence at the hands of pupils in the past year.
During the pandemic, there have also been fears that some pupils will struggle to cope in the classroom after spending months at home.
At Painsley, staff have introduced a ‘back to basics’ approach to help them settle back in.
Mrs Waugh said: “We’ve had to remind students of the expectations for things like uniforms and equipment. But they have also really missed that routine.”
The Moorlands school applied to become a behaviour hub so it could share ideas with other schools. Across the country, around 500 schools are due to receive support over the next three years.
Painsley’s own staff will also have training from the Government’s national behaviour adviser, Tom Bennett, as part of the programme.
Mr Bennett said: “This has the capacity to make a real and substantial difference to the lives of many thousands of children and families and I cannot wait to see it develop.”