New normal, new behaviour: behaviour policy templates for schools after lockdown.

Last week I wrote my suggestions for how schools should approach behaviour when they re-open their gates to a larger cohort of pupils after lockdown (note: NOT re-open. Schools have been open continuously throughout this difficult period, and references to the contrary offend those who have been toiling constantly under the shadow of disease, anxiety and isolation).

These suggestions were by their nature, general, and offered as a lens through which we can understand student and staff behaviour, and what we might need to think about in order to maintain- or create- the standards necessary to help keep us as safe as possible. But general suggestions are only useful up to a point. Schools and classrooms are concrete things, and require concrete strategy. 

Many schools have been thinking about their behaviour policies, and addressing exactly this. What do we tell students to do? What do we tell staff to do? What do we tell parents? How do we communicate this? As there will be 1000s of school nationally, and many hundreds of thousands of schools internationally considering this, I thought it would be useful to provide some examples of what some schools have come up with on this topic. These have been sent to me on the condition that they are anonymised so the schools can't be identified. Many of them are works-in-progress, and are unfinished. 

The link these policies via Dropbox is here. Some of the files are whole policies, some are appendices or addendums, and some are contracts and similar. 

But what they do offer are ideas about the types of systems and details schools are thinking of. If you or your school are attempting to do the same, you may find it useful. These are serving suggestions, and nothing contained within them should be seen as prescriptive or ideal. 

Having said that, there are many, many overlaps between them, which suggests to me that there are similar challenges facing all schools, and many of these will have similar solutions. As I indicated in my previous post, there appear to be 7 main areas that must be systematically and intelligently addressed:

  1. Decide what existing behaviour you want to reinforce
  2. Decide what new behaviour you want to see (especially in response to Covid-19, but not only that)
  3. Design a system for training staff in the systems. 
  4. Design a system for training students in these systems
  5. Design appropriate consequences for staff/ students not following (or being able to follow) these systems. These could be sanctions, rewards, pastoral conversations, retraining, counselling etc. 
  6. Design a system to monitor and maintain these systems
  7. Plan reboots and reinforcement of 1-6: CPD, induction training, reminders, assemblies, etc.

Tip: it would be hugely advantageous to any school that wants students to observe the new behaviour successfully, to consciously and strategically prepare the students in advance of their return as much as possible. This should, wherever possible, involve teaching the new standards to parents and guardians, in order to obtain as much consent and partnership as possible. Remember: successful behaviour needs to be taught, not just told. If time and resources permit, I recommend all schools reach out to parents as proactively as possible and communicate what is required, why, and how they can help. Emails, texts and letters are all useful vehicles. Some schools are sending YouTube videos or similar to parents, detailing and exemplifying the new circumstances, and many families will find this useful. 

I hope you find some of these helpful. Thank you to everyone and to the many schools who have contributed to this. I wish you safety and peace in these difficult times. Schools remain arks for many of our children. I sometimes think they are civilisation's greatest invention, and a reminder of what it means to be human. They remain the places where I have seen human nature at its best, and this crisis has only reinforced that conviction.