Oldham Sixth Form College

Louise Astbury is Associate Director of Teaching & Learning at Oldham Sixth Form College and a Pivotal Instructor.

The college are less that a term into introducing the programme but the change in approach has already produced dramatic results.

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The college held a Pivotal Whoosh! training session in September 2016 to introduce the whole staff to the concept of the Pivotal approach. Louise and her fellow Instructor, Doug King, then delivered Unit 1 of the Pivotal Curriculum to 120 teaching staff.

The feedback evaluations showed the majority of staff are highly engaged and impressed by the programme. Louise and Doug will deliver the remaining units through the coming academic year.

The college have introduced “meet and greet” to the start of lessons and already the staff feel there is an overwhelmingly different atmosphere, a much more positive atmosphere and less silliness in the corridor as there are adults present.

The only training the support staff have had so far is the Whoosh, but even that has brought about a significant change. Unlike in a school setting, learners are free to come and go as they please, so there are always learners outside of lessons. Support staff needed training on how to deal with learners who may look like adults, but are still developing emotionally. Louise believes that the focus on adult behaviour holds the key; support staff are now better equipped to deal with confrontation and able to use de-escalation techniques.

The learning resource centre staff have also adjusted their approach which has had a positive impact on the atmosphere of the place. It had become quite mono-cultural and was a place of meeting but not much learning. Staff support for their “customers” has developed a more focussed learning atmosphere by looking for opportunities to “catch students in” for appropriate behaviour. Louise awarded a post card to a learner who she had not previously met after seeing her preparing some revision index cards in the first three weeks of term. The learner later knocked on her office door to thank her and to let her know how much she appreciated it.

Referrals of behaviour incidents to SLT are down and attendance is up.









There is an increase in positivity and recognition for ‘above and beyond’ behaviour. Staff give postcards directly to their learners rather than sending them home and “it has made a real difference”.

Louise has been teaching 22 years and says that without doubt this is the best behaviour management course she has ever been on and she recommends it to everyone.

She says it is a huge benefit to have two instructors in such a big setting, they can support one another in implementation and deliver the units together, which when presenting to 120 colleagues is a bonus.

Louise is delighted with the impact of the programme so far and is confident that they will see improvements in academic outcomes: “The teachers who get the best results are the ones with the best relationships and you cannot build those relationships without effective behaviour management”.


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