At Holme Court School our approach is to emphasise the positive rather than focus on failures. We believe that positive reinforcement has a motivational role helping pupils to see that good behaviour and positive attitude are valued.
Both verbal and written feedback
Positive reinforcement takes place throughout the day in both formal and informal settings. Pupils are praised when ever positive words or actions are observed by the adults around them. Similarly, pupils are encouraged to do the same.
Before completing work pupils are made aware of the criteria against which their work will be marked. Successes are highlighted through the use of positive comments which are written in green in accordance with the school presentation and marking policy. While an area for development is written when appropriate this relates to the original marking criteria. Pupils will not be penalised for spelling errors ( unless specific subject vocabulary has been provided to the child in advance ) or words written are completely illegible. Similarly, pupils will not be criticised for not including something which was not included in the original criteria. Praise / comments will be given for various reasons including effort, perseverance and creativity in addition to the quality of the final outcome.
Individual pupils are rewarded by the merit point system. Adults award ‘merits’ to pupils for good work, effort or improvement, courteous behaviour, assisting an adult or classmate and kindness. In each case, when awarding the merit the adult will explain the reason for the award and will record this on the merit sheet in the back of the pupil’s diary.
When a record sheet has been filled i.e. 30 merits have been collected, the pupil is presented with a red star award during assembly where the pupil’s accomplishments are applauded.
Pupils continue to fill their sheets and when 3 sheets have been completed, the pupil is awarded a gold star in addition to receiving a £15 voucher.
On entry to the school all pupils are allocated a house. There are 3 houses Walt Disney, Muhammad Ali and Lewis Carroll. Individual merit points also count as house points which are totalled at the end of each week with the winning house announced in assembly.
The school is in agreement with the principle that “good behaviour is a necessary condition for effective teaching to take place” and seeks to create an environment which encourages and reinforces good behaviour. Furthermore, it acknowledges that society expects good behaviour as an important outcome of education.
Although rewards are central to the encouragement of good behaviour, realistically there is a need for warnings and sanctions to register the disapproval of unacceptable behaviour and to protect the security and stability of the school community. In an environment where respect is central, loss of respect, or disapproval, is a powerful punishment.
We positively encourage good behaviour and manners at Holme Court School.
Expectations in terms of attitude and behaviour are discussed with all pupils at the beginning of each academic year and summarised in the behaviour and anti bullying charters.
In most cases a simple reminder of expectations is enough.
In class adults are expected to clarify the manner in which pupils will be required to work following instruction i.e. individually, pairs or in groups and the 5 point scale displayed in all rooms will be referred to in relation to the noise level expected.
Pupils who disrupt the learning of others through their behaviour will be informed as to how their behaviour is unacceptable and what we wish them to do instead. This is considered a first warning.
Should a pupil continue with the unwanted behaviour the pupil will be informed that they will be required to discuss their behaviour with an adult and a reflection sheet will be completed. This will be done during the nearest break-time. The aim of this is to support the pupil to understand how their behaviour impacts themselves and those around them including the adults and provides them with the opportunity to consider how they could behave differently / make better choices in the future. This is considered to be a positive strategy to support the pupil.
The use of punishment is avoided where possible at Holme Court School. Where this is used it should be characterised by certain features: It must be clear why the sanction is being applied. It must be made clear what changes in behaviour are required to avoid future punishment. Group punishment should be avoided as this can breed resentment. There should be a clear distinction between minor and major offences. It should be the behaviour rather than the person that is punished.
Sanctions range from expressions of disapproval (being told off), through withdrawal of privileges (time outs, losing part of playtime), to referral to the Head Teacher, letters to parents and ultimately in the last resort, exclusion.
If poor behaviour continues or in the unlikely event the behaviour is putting the safety of others at risk the pupil will be removed from the situation and parents informed.
If the situation arose that a pupil displayed anti-social, disruptive or aggressive behaviour frequently, sanctions alone would be ineffective. In such cases there would need to be a careful evaluation of the curriculum on offer, classroom organisation and management, and whole school procedures in order to eliminate any contributory factors. Additional specialist help and advice from an educational psychologist or child guidance service may be necessary. This possibility should be discussed with the Senior Management Team.
A serious offence, for example involving violence, could by itself justify a pupil’s exclusion. Otherwise exclusion would be applicable only when alternative strategies have been tried and have failed e.g. at least two individual plans reviewed over half a term. Exclusions may be fixed (suspension) or permanent (expulsion) or may be for the duration of lunchtime break.
Only the Head Teacher has the power to exclude a pupil from school. This power may not be delegated. The Head Teacher may exclude a pupil permanently. In all cases the Head Teacher will promptly inform the pupil’s parents of the period of the exclusion, or that the exclusion is permanent, and give the reasons for the exclusion.