Case study

Whole school approach: managing poor behaviour

Approaches to managing behaviour throughout the whole school at both a primary and secondary school.


Mendlesham Community Primary School (Suffolk)

A small rural school in a middle school system. Nearly all pupils come from a white British background and the proportion of pupils eligible for the pupil premium is below average. In 2010 the behaviour at the school was rated as ‘requires improvement’. At the most recent inspection in 2012, behaviour was rated ‘outstanding’.

Staff response to misbehaviour

The school developed a clear response route for teachers to follow to ensure a consistent approach across the school when dealing with poor behaviour in the classroom. The pupil:

  • is gently reminded that their behaviour is breaking the school rules
  • receives a warning and their name is written on the board
  • receives a yellow card, which means the child has to stay behind for five minutes at playtime
  • receives a red card, which means they are sent to the headteacher’s office and a letter is sent home to their parents

Golden rules and tickets

To help teachers implement this response to poor behaviour, the school introduced Jenny Mosley’s Golden Rules which cover all aspects of behaviour. This helps staff to explain to pupils which rule they broke and why their behaviour was unacceptable. The rules are:

  • we are gentle - we don’t hurt others
  • we are kind and helpful - we don’t hurt anybody’s feelings
  • we listen - we don’t interrupt
  • we are honest - we don’t cover up the truth
  • we work hard - we don’t waste our own or other’s time
  • we look after property - we don’t waste or damage things

Alongside the golden rules, the school also introduced Golden Tickets and Golden Certificates. Children earn golden tickets for good behaviour (eg helpfulness or politeness) and these are put in a special box in each classroom. At the end of the week the golden tickets are added up and the pupil with the most in the year group receives a golden certificate. The golden certificates are given out at Friday’s celebration assembly which is popular with the children and provides a real incentive to behave well.

Collective staff responsibility

It is made clear that all staff have a responsibility for the behaviour of all children in the school and not just the pupils in their class. For example, any teacher who sees a pupil running in the school is expected to positively remind them that they need to walk. Teachers will say ‘walk please’ rather than ‘stop running’.

St Peter’s Catholic High School (Gloucester)

A secondary inner-city Catholic comprehensive for 11- to 18-year-olds, that caters for a range of abilities. Around a third of pupils come from ethnic minorities, and the school has a lower-than-average proportion of pupils eligible for the pupil premium. There are 1,700 pupils on the school roll. In November 2012, the school was rated by Ofsted as outstanding in behaviour.

School ethos

The school has developed a positive and supportive environment in which teachers and pupils respect each other. To help create this atmosphere, the school refers to each form group, including the teacher, as a ‘family’ with responsibility, respect and care for each other.


The school uses the Schools Information Management System (SIMS) to record and manage behaviour. The school records both good and bad behaviour, and this allows staff to monitor trends and patterns.

The school uses SIMS to place pupils on e-report. This means that teachers monitor and report on the behaviour of the pupil. This report is used by the school to track progress and is automatically sent home to parents.

Where a pupil continues to be disruptive, the form tutor is able to create an individual behaviour support programme. Parents are invited to be involved with this process and together they set short-term, achievable targets for the pupil to help improve their behaviour.

Inclusion unit

When pupils continually behave inappropriately they will be taken out of lessons and placed in the inclusion unit for a day. The inclusion unit is supervised by senior staff, with a separate timetable, and class teachers provide the pupil with their work for the day. The separate timetable means pupils are not able to socialise with their friends for the entire day and, at least in part because of this, it is an effective deterrent against poor behaviour.

Published 25 March 2014