Dorothy Trussell is Deputy Head at Flixton Girls’ School near Manchester in the UK. However, she began her career in hospitality before completing a PGCE.
Flixton Girls’ School has been given the rating of ‘Good with Outstanding Features’ so why is it important to have behaviour as a focus at this point?
Dorothy believes that whatever stage a school is at it needs to have effective behaviour management which is appropriate to your student body.
Behaviour management is so much more than whether the children are good or naughty – it’s the whole attitude to learning and the whole culture of the school.
Dorothy wants to see the students bouncing into school, having a positive attitude towards learning and really engaging in school life. This is linked inextricably to behaviour. The school had a very good academic record but Dorothy thought that they could only move forward with a new focus on behaviour.
What were the changes you made this September and what were the early changes you saw?
Dorothy feels that putting in 4 INSET days was ‘a dream’. it gave her the opportunity to get the Pivotal Curriculum off the ground. She led two lengthy sessions – one on culture and the other on safety. This enabled her to set the scene for the development. She included all support staff as well as teaching staff so there were over 100 people involved. Dorothy thinks this was critical in getting the whole school behind the initiative.
To start with the school didn’t have an official launch of the new approach. Instead, they introduced subtle changes:
- positive notes home
- teachers greeting students at the door
- lots of smiles
- quite a few classroom awards systems
- removing ways of making students famous for poor behaviour like displaying lists of those in detention
The reaction to these changes was positive and students fed back that they couldn’t quite work out what was different but:
The school seemed calmer, everyone seemed to be focussing on their learning much more and there was less disruption in lessons.
Parents were also very pleased to be contacted with positive news – particularly those who Dorothy describes as ‘the quiet middle’ – the ones who often go unnoticed.
In addition there were four bigger changes:
1. The school closed its internal exclusion room
This was quite a bold move…
Dorothy on Twitter: @dorothytrussell
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