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Achieving Consistency and Labelling Learners

Peter Hawtin: Client Director

I am coming up to my first year anniversary at Pivotal Education. It’s been great working with hundreds of schools, and our superb office team to help tailor behaviour management packages to meet schools’ needs. For us, it all starts with getting the culture and environment right to maximise both learning outcomes, and to build both adults and young people’s relationships.

I wish my son’s school had used the Pivotal approach when he was in secondary education. Having trained and up-skilled staff to help manage low level disruption would have meant that Senior Management would have more time to help the more challenging learners- those who are often excluded and labelled as ‘problem students’. For my son, this certainly was the case. This links back into the Pivotal approach and I think that had the school taken a more restorative approach and had a conversation about his behaviour together, they would have realised that his occasional behaviour issues were down to the fact that he rightly felt unfairly treated compared to other students who did not have special needs, and were not sanctioned for same behaviour issues.

Consistency is Key

This highlights why consistency is so important in schools, and why schools should keep the behaviour policy simple for all staff and learners to understand. Labelling has a cumulative effect on learners and that’s why creating an environment where staff and students build relationships and trust is more effective than short sharp inconsistent sanctions, which don’t resolve issues.

A positive, consistent, inclusive and challenging culture is the best way forward- as we say, culture eats strategy for breakfast. Behaviour improvement and change takes hard work and effort from all parties; there is never a quick easy fix. Getting it right starts with the foundations. Create an environment where all staff and learners feel valued, supported, accept responsibility for their behaviours, are recognised and rewarded proportionately and you’re there. Students need to be helped and supported on the occasions that they fall short of expectations.

The Real Heroes

During my first year here, I have learnt from speaking to many schools how much they really value the help we provide. For many, behaviour is generally good; they just need to refine policy and practice through more visible and audible consistency across staff. We help provide a framework to achieve this. Some schools are facing crisis and need a complete culture change. Our expertise in helping define, train and sustain whole school behaviour improvement that has helped deliver fantastic results for our schools.

The real heroes though, are the staff and students who work together each day. It’s not always easy, but to get it right collectively is both rewarding and uplifting.

Interested in learning how Pivotal can support you? Click here for more information. 

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