Behaviour for Learning
At Alt Bridge, we understand that the way in which individuals behave, often communicates an underlying difficulty or occasionally, a level of emotional distress. We work with students who have complex needs, who often have difficulties processing the world around them. Their experiences and difficulties can have a significant impact on how they interact with others or engage with education.
Our work is focused on understanding the reasons that may be underlying the behaviour whilst also educating our students about how they can achieve positive behaviour for learning. The focus is on achieving good emotional self-regulation, because when individuals are regulated emotionally, they are more able to learn.
Whilst we use a range of whole school strategies to develop the skills our students need in order to demonstrate positive behaviour for learning, we also recognise and reward positive behaviour. We use a range of strategies to give students the support they need in order to understand the impact of their behaviour and to plan a way forward.
- Attend and participate
- Be kind
- Communicate respectfully
- Be ready to learn
- Stay safe
In order to help our students to meet our expectations, we teach knowledge and skills to develop emotional intelligence and self-regulation. We have embedded the Zones of Regulation programme into our curriculum from year 7 and continuously reinforce the learning. Through using self-regulation and restorative practices, we have developed a shared language in addressing behaviour for learning amongst our students.
Whole School Strategies
Teaching self-regulation skills
The Zones of Regulation programme, teaches students to recognise their emotions and to apply an appropriate self-regulation tool to calm themselves so that they may then respond in the most positive ways. The programme is very visual and is based on a Social Thinking approach. Behaviour is explained as expected or unexpected to a given situation. The resources below are just some examples of strategies we teach students.
Restorative practice provides an approach for holding conversations with students about incidents, disagreements or difficulties that they may have been involved in. All staff are trained to use restorative approaches to support students through resolution conversations.
The focus of restorative practice is the place importance on positive relationships and to give students the skills in social problem solving. It is important that they develop these skills so that they may deal with conflict as they progress into adult lives. This is a key approach to building resilience, securing positive relationships and also promoting good mental health and wellbeing.
All staff carry a lanyard to support restorative conversations and remind us about the iceberg model of behaviour.
Rewards and consequences
Our students benefit from the acknowledgement that positive behaviour results in positive outcomes, whilst negative behaviour can have consequences. Some consequences are natural and are explained to students i.e. if you treat someone badly, they make feel uncomfortable around you, which may then make you feel unhappy because a previously positive relationship may have been affected.
Other consequences are imposed in order to develop the understanding within the student that their behaviour is unacceptable and must not be repeated. Imposed consequences are outlined in our behaviour for learning policy. Consequences are determined on an individual basis because we consider the situation, the needs of students and the intentions behind behaviours.
Students who achieve success can also be included in reward activities for year groups. Our merits are inclusive, meaning that all students can be found to demonstrate positive behaviour which warrants recognition.
Our merit system is outlined fully in our behaviour for learning policy.
Many of our students do have difficulties with emotional regulation, due to their special educational needs and disabilities. We accept that sometimes, an emotional crisis may occur. Our staff are highly trained and experienced in dealing with high-level emotional reactions and will intervene to support students, make the situation safe and to protect the dignity, mental health and wellbeing of those involved.
All staff are trained in Team Teach approaches and we now have six members of staff who have undergone higher level training. They are able to train other staff and continually refresh their knowledge and expertise in these approaches. Team Teach focuses strongly on de-escalation strategies such as calm talk, open body language, resolution and distraction options and health and safety. Team Teach also provides staff with the knowledge and experience of how to provide safe physical intervention, should it be required in order to prevent serious harm.
Whilst physical interventions are rarely necessary, they are only used where there are serious concerns about health and safety. We recognise, as an attachment and trauma aware school, that physical interventions, whilst necessary, can also be traumatic for both staff and students. We therefore focus strongly on positive relationships, de-briefing staff and holding restorative conversations with students, at the appropriate time following on from an incident. If any student has been engaged in a physical intervention, parents/carers will be informed and the incident will be recorded in full.
Calm and sensory spaces
We have fitted three new sensory rooms in school, all of which have sensory lighting, soft seating and self-regulation tools within them. One of our rooms also benefits from a ceiling projector which provides sensory activities for students and another has a sound system and light projector.
These rooms are often used on a planned basis to support sensory regulation, quiet activities or opportunities to calm. The use of the rooms and guidance has been developed in collaboration with our Occupational Therapist. The rooms may also be used if a student experiences an emotional crisis and needs somewhere in order to express themselves safely but also with support. Our calm rooms are offered to students as a place they may wish to go if they feel dysregulated. We also have our wellbeing hub with calm spaces and a further sensory room within our Pegasus class base.
In addition to these spaces, we also have four therapy spaces for our various therapeutic interventions to take place in. Our wellbeing hub provision is outlined in the wellbeing hub section of our website and our therapeutic interventions are outlined in our unique offer section.