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Introduction

At Ashley High School we actively work towards creating a safe and caring, positive environment where pupils, parents and staff are valued and respected.

Our School Behaviour Policy acknowledges the differences that are typical of people with autistic spectrum disorders and social communication needs, and the effects that these may have on behaviour and self-management of behaviour.

Considerable sensory issues, difficulties with communication, social interaction and social imagination, and differences in perception and thought processes mean that it is difficult for our pupils to make decisions, plan, predict, reflect or evaluate. These difficulties can sometimes give rise to anxiety, frustration, confusion and distress. This in turn can give rise to some ‘inappropriate’ and/or ‘challenging behaviour’. We are aware that in these incidences pupils may not have the necessary self-control to maintain a safe and positive environment and as adults we need to be prepared to positively intervene. Our message to our pupils is that:

"We care enough not to see you out of control."

A structured environment where consistency is deemed to be of paramount importance enables us to promote positive self-management skills. A wide range of pupil-specific, pro-active methods are in place that acknowledge and respect individual abilities; difficulties and differences. Together these help to lessen the incidences of 'inappropriate' or 'challenging behaviour'.

However, these incidences do and will still occur and consistent, systematic responses to 'inappropriate' or 'challenging' behaviours presented by individual pupils are planned and implemented to manage the immediate situation before and while pro-active strategies take effect. This may as a final resort involve physical restraint. This is undertaken using positive handling strategies, (Team-Teach) and are as effective, safe, respectful and as non-obtrusive as we can make them. Only the minimum force necessary to prevent injury or damage is used and is gradually removed as soon as it is safe for the pupil and others to do so. (See Physical Restraint Policy). Serious incidents are recorded, reported, monitored and evaluated.

All staff members are aware of the provisions set out in DfE: Use of Reasonable Force (July 2011).

Definition of 'Inappropriate Behaviour'

'Culturally abnormal behaviours of such intensity, frequency or duration that the physical safety of the person or others is likely to be placed in serious jeopardy, or behaviour which is likely to seriously limit or deny access to and the use of ordinary community facilities.' (Emerson 1995)

Zarkowska and Clements (1998) suggest that behaviour is ‘challenging’ if:

  • The behaviour itself is inappropriate given a person’s age and level of development.
  • The behaviour is dangerous either to the person him/herself or to others.
  • The behaviour constitutes a significant additional difficulty for the person by interfering with the learning of new skills or be excluding the person from important learning opportunities.
  • The behaviour causes significant issues for those who live and work with the person.
  • The behaviour is contrary to accepted social norms.

'Inappropriate' and 'challenging' behaviours can, and do, take many forms within our school environment. These include passive and unresponsive behaviours, intolerance of items, occasions, people or direction, avoidance behaviours, repetitive or stereotypic behaviours, damage to property, violence directed towards other people, self-injury or reckless disregard for their own or others safety.

Structures and procedures in place for creating a safe, caring environment. People with autism spectrum disorders and social communication needs benefit from the security that routine, structure and predictable consequences can offer. At Ashley High School we have a highly structured day and sessions within it. Clear physical zones dedicated to specific activities, the use of schedules and colour-coded workbaskets provide structure, routine and visual aids for pupils that help them to understand their environment and the expectations of them, (TEACCH). Classroom settings can be adapted to take into account differences in the tolerance of certain sensory stimuli and the likelihood of distraction by such stimuli. Teacher and teaching assistants (TAs) work in complementary ways to ensure that each pupils needs are met, difficulties addressed and thereby recourse to ‘challenging’ behaviour alleviated.

Unstructured times, e.g. playtimes and dinnertimes, can be difficult for many children. At Ashley High School playtimes and dinnertimes are supervised. Two different play areas are used. A high staff/pupil ratio is maintained with staff members that are most familiar with the pupils on duty. Responsibility for supervising and interacting with the pupils is shared and consistency of approach and response to behaviour is maintained. Midday supervisors are with the pupils during lunchtime. This involves time in class, in the play area and in the dining hall. As valued team members they work collaboratively with teachers and TA's. This continuity again facilitates the continuity of approach and response. The midday supervisors are informed of the Behaviour Support Plans. They have also received training in autism spectrum.

We believe that appropriate relationships between staff members and pupils are a major contribution towards behaviour management in the school. However, as in many establishments, staff members are at times unavoidably absent from school. In order for the consistency of management to continue we use our specialist TA's to cover lessons. A high staffing ratio that remains consistent means that our pupils experience minimum disruption and 'change'

Some pupils have little understanding of their own safety or that of others - e.g. they climb or run. The school environment has been adapted to take account of these behaviours and the pupil’s safety. For this reason the play areas are fenced off and security key pads are in place.

Systems are in place for recoding monitoring and evaluating behaviour.

At Ashley High School we recognise that each pupil is an individual and as such unique. We respect and value this individuality.

We strive to draw upon good practice from a range of approaches when working with people on the autistic spectrum and use many strategies that respect pupil’s needs and differences. In this way we feel that we recognise, and work with, each child’s strengths and difficulties in a caring and supportive manner, thus reducing anxiety, frustration, confusion or distress.

Pupils who display challenging behaviours have a Behaviour Support Plans. This is written in collaboration with parents, teachers, appropriate professionals who work on a daily basis with the pupils. It details the behaviours exhibited, trigger behaviours and de-escalation strategies used by or with the individual pupil. If some of the challenging behaviours are happening frequently they are recorded in the Incident Book so that staff can monitor and analyse behaviour patterns and effectiveness of strategies put in place. The Behaviour Support and Intervention Plan are reviewed at least each term and updated if needed. They are also updated if a pupil regularly displays a new behaviour.

Behaviour Support Plans are completed for pupils who display behaviours that require physical intervention at an early stage for their and others safety. The Behaviour Support Plan details trigger behaviours, types of behaviour, support and intervention strategies and preferred handling strategies. The handling strategies used are those recommended by Team-Teach.

If Positive Handling Strategies are used with pupils who do not have a Behaviour Support Plan to prevent them injuring themselves or others, committing an offence, damaging property, causing disruption or absconding a Positive Handling Incident Form is completed, photocopied and given to the Headteacher/Parents.

Parent/Carer Involvement

At Ashley High School we recognise the critical role played, and exclusive knowledge and experiences that parent/carers have of their children. We aim to work in partnership with parent/carers to gain mutual support, exchange information and share consistent approaches to children in our joint care. This is achieved through the home-school link books, telephone calls and scheduled meetings, unless important issues arise in the meantime. Parents are reminded through the home-school agreement that they should let the school know of any concerns or problems that may affect their child’s behaviour.

Procedures in place for promoting a positive environment

At Ashley High School we respect and acknowledge the rights, feelings, needs and wishes of each pupil. We strive to maintain a positive environment that is conducive to the development of personal values and respect for self and others, that promotes positive images of self and others and that develops co-operation, tolerance, responsibility to self and others, confidence and independence. This is achieved through:

  • Having high but realistic expectations of our pupils.
  • Providing opportunities for pupils to work and play independently; 1:1 with adults or in pairs and groups.
  • Participation in whole school daily ‘collective worship’ and participation in whole school multi-cultural, multi-faith ‘themes’.
  • Providing opportunities to share and celebrate their completed work and achievements.
  • Providing appropriate responses and modelling of acceptable behaviour.
  • Individual Plan/Core Curriculum Key Learning Targets and short-term targets that promote self-awareness, responsibility, tolerance and co-operation.
  • Provision of opportunities throughout the day in different settings for individuals to make choices and decisions.
  • Visits into the local community.

Staff Training

It is our intention that all staff members at Ashley High School are trained in the holistic, graded behaviour supports and interventions offered by Team-Teach.

All staff members have been involved in a two day Team-Teach training course and new members of staff will be expected to undergo this training. One member of staff is a Team Teach Tutor who provides regular refresher sessions particularly practice in the holds that can form the Positive Handling Strategies.

Bullying

'Bullying is defined as premeditated aggression that continues over time and generally forms a pattern of behaviour (rather than an isolated incident).'

(Circular 8/94 Pupil Behaviour and Discipline).

At Ashley High School we recognise the right of our pupils to develop with confidence in an environment that is safe and free from the emotional and physical distress that can be seen as a result of bullying. It is the responsibility of the school to ensure that incidences of bullying are monitored and addressed. It is, however, due to the nature of autism spectrum disorder, unusual that our pupils would understand the concepts of premeditated and sustained bullying behaviours. However, we do recognise that some of our pupils behaviours can be perceived as bullying and potentially have that impact on others.

Appropriate levels of supervision and a high staffing ratio mean that such behaviours are quickly recognised and managed.

Safeguarding

At Ashley High School we have Safeguarding Policy and Procedures that are available to all. The designated Senior People for Safeguarding (Headteacher/Assistant Headteacher) review and update the policy and procedures in-line with any new legislation or recommendations annually. Staff members are expected to read and record that they have read this policy.

Equal Opportunities

Everyone has the right to work in a safe, healthy and happy environment. We strive to enable all our pupils and staff, regardless of ability, ethnicity, religion, gender or orientation to participate fully and happily in the life of the school.

We believe that our behaviour management policy upholds the dignity and maintains the safety and well-being of all.