Positive attitude towards learning
Your child’s school will have a policy which is designed to help them develop positive learning behaviours. Behaviour for Learning is a term which includes all the actions and attitudes which mean the child is ready and able to learn. It will include being organised and prepared to learn. It will also include having a positive mental attitude to their own work and progress as well as respecting the right of other pupils to learn safely and not be disrupted. The better the parent and school each understand the child’s needs and work positively together, the more likely the behaviour is going to be positive.
It's important that on starting a new school an effective induction process takes place. This can make clear what your child’s needs are and may well include an understanding of some of the challenges they have faced. Where issues of confidentiality and data sharing need to be carefully considered. It may include a clear understanding of what may trigger difficulties for your child which could compromise their behaviour for learning. The sharing of what has worked well in previous settings for example, should be helpful in preventing difficulties. It's also important at this stage that you're aware of the behaviour policy (some schools have decided to call this theirs relationships policy as they understand that the quality of relationships is key to positive behaviour for learning).
Working with your child's school
For a child who's struggling with positive behaviour for learning, it's important for parents to work as closely with school as possible. A high level of communication at an early stage of difficulties with behaviour can help prevent an escalation. It helps the child or young person to feel known and psychologically held when school and home are working together. An ideal situation is when parents feel they can support the school in implementing their policies, for example, with regard to sanctions. A strong relationship between home and school means that parents can also appropriately ask questions about the rationale for school decisions and feel heard. Ideally this is a working partnership.
A school’s behaviour policy will usually show how pupils are rewarded for positive behaviour and what their graduated approach to sanctions looks like. This means for example, that a decision to exclude should be taken at the end of a range of other measures taken to improve behaviour. The DfE publish guidance which headteachers are required to follow regarding exclusions. Fixed Term Exclusions can be given for a period ranging from half a day to five days. A Permanent Exclusion means that the child cannot return to that school. The current DfE guidance (Sept 2017) states that:
‘…permanent exclusion should only be used as a last resort, in response to a serious breach or persistent breaches of the school's behaviour policy; and where allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school.’
Parents have a right to appeal if they feel an exclusion is not warranted and this must be heard by the governing body of the school.
DfE guidance states that, ‘disruptive behaviour can be an indication of unmet needs. Where a school has concerns about a pupil’s behaviour, it should try to identify whether there are any causal factors and intervene early in order to reduce the need for a subsequent exclusion. In this situation, schools should consider whether a multi-agency assessment that goes beyond the pupil’s educational needs is required.’
Should disagreements occur or difficulties persist, parents have a right to ask for support and intervention. The Designated Teacher for previously looked after children (PLAC) should be able to discuss how the Pupil Premium Plus Grant can be used to support positive behaviour for learning.