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Why staff are all in this together?

Written by Paul Dix

Reception staff welcome me at the door with a smile that cannot hide their relief. They know that while I ‘do behaviour’ with the teaching staff, the office staff are going to have a quiet day. As the caretaker finishes rearranging the chairs and giving me the unedited inside track on the school she gives me a rye smile, “Good luck with this lot.” Scurrying back to the caretakers hovel for a Woodbine and a crafty gin, she knows that today will be a peaceful one.

Training teachers and TAs to manage and modify behaviour in lesson time can only be part of the plan. If you don’t train your reception, site, midday and business admin staff the same skills as teachers don’t be surprised when cracks start appearing in your consistency. Leave some adults out of the consistent approach and your students soon realise that they can treat them differently. They become lower status, less powerful and much much more playable.


Children gauge the consistency of approach throughout their day not just in lesson time. Consistency in classrooms can be quickly counterbalanced with inconsistency outside of them. Some of the most difficult incidents of misbehaviour occur around the site. Away from the watchful eye of teachers children can take more chances, experiment with riskier, nastier behaviour. This is where bullying can flourish. It is not always the classroom-based staff who come across these incidents. What if the “eyes and ears of the school” were more than very useful observers.

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© Paul Dix

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