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For Parents and Carers

Behaviour and Relationships at Yarborough Academy – Frequency Asked Questions


A New Approach

Yarborough Academy has embarked on a new approach to behaviour and wellbeing. This shift is based on the idea that behaviour is a form of communication. When children lack the skills to communicate their needs and emotions, these are often played out through distressed behaviour. Our approach recognises the stresses that children and families experience and the impact that these can have on behaviour. We have decided to use a restorative approach which is based on healthy relationships. Relationships change the structure of the brain and healthy relationships help us manage stresses more effectively. Children are unlikely to misbehave if they feel liked and like the adults in school and feel safe in their company. Simply, people do not want to hurt the people that they love. If a child struggles with learning we would teach them, when a child struggles to regulate their behaviour, our new approach will teach the skills to help them regulate their behaviour.

Why have we changed our approach?

  • Shouting and punishments have not worked. Parents and staff identify the same children that repeatedly struggle to meet behavioural expectations. Over the years this has been managed at home and at school through a range of traditional behaviour management techniques, including punishments and shouting and yet the same children struggle with distressed behaviour in the classroom and beyond.
  • Children repeat behaviours that they have experienced. For example, we punish children for doing exactly as the grownups in their life have done to them, shouting, intimidating and punishing others. These types of behaviour management are contagious. The grownups in a child’s life set a template for behaviour and it seems silly to think we might shout at a child for shouting. Simply, if we shout at a child and scare them into behaving better, the child is more likely to go on to shout and scare others.
  • Children cannot make better choices by being made to feel bad. Instead children are now encouraged to find ways to restore relationships and repair harm caused by distressed behaviour. Lots of children expected to be shouted at and then the problem is fixed, in the grownup world, being shouted at does not fix problems, we must find a way to put the problem right. We want to teach children that being shouted at or punished does not fix the harm that has been caused and instead the child must think of a way to repair the damage they have caused whether that is to a person or property.
  • To show love, children must feel loved. Punishment based approached create resentment and children demonstrate that towards staff. If children feel supported and understood, they can develop the capacity to show kindness and understanding towards others too.
  • We no longer use rewards to bribe children to behave in a desirable way. We want children to want to behave in a safe and respectful way because it is the right thing to do, not because they will get something for it. We feel that this will set them up for life.
  • Parents may ask ‘what will happen at secondary school if they don’t have the same approach as Yarborough Academy?’ Our approach aims to give children the skills to be able to manage in secondary schools that use compliance-based systems. Children that struggle to regulate their behaviour in primary school usually struggle with the behavioural expectations of secondary school, falling foul of behaviour systems, receiving detentions and not enjoying school. This approach gives children the skills to manage these expectations in a way that doesn’t trigger fight or flight behaviours.