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behaviour policy

Issue Date : September 2022

Reviewed By: Full Governing Board

Review Date: February 2025

‘You don’t know me at all. That’s just what you see on the outside. That is not me, I’m inside and no 
one sees inside because inside I’m hurting.’


It is the policy of the school to enhance a child's self-esteem and respect for others and their
environment both within the school and the wider community, based upon strong attachments created
with familiar adults so we can understand what the children are feeling not what they are

Through this shared belief the school aims to promote meaningful and effective learning in a positive and friendly atmosphere. All aspects of this policy apply equally to everyone in the school community regardless of gender, belief, ethnicity or any protected characteristic. Our behaviour policy is aimed at improving educational outcomes for all children by promoting and supporting their engagement with education. We adopt an inclusive approach and adapt our behaviour management strategies to meet the needs of the child.

We believe:


  • All behaviour is communication

  • Everyone in school has the right to feel safe both physically and emotionally

  • Everyone in school has the right to be treated with respect

  • Everyone in school has the right to learn without distraction

  • That we can teach behaviour, not control it

  • Positive experiences create positive feelings. Positive feelings create positive behaviour

  • A clear and consistent approach to behaviour must be supported by all stakeholders.

The school aims to provide children with a voice to articulate their feelings and emotions which will support their understanding to represent themselves. These will be based on knowledge of two key principles and the impact these have on a child’s ability to regulate.

Attachment: A child needs to make a secure attachment with the main significant adult or adults in its life from a very early stage, and then have consistent and warm relationships from there onwards throughout childhood for emotional and psychological good health.

Trauma: Trauma is a term used to describe the challenging emotional consequences that living through
a distressing event can have for an individual. Traumatic events can be difficult to define because the
same event may be more traumatic for some people than for others. However, traumatic events
experienced early in life, such as abuse, neglect and disrupted attachment, can often be devastating.
Equally challenging can be later life experiences that are out of one’s control, such as a serious accident,
being the victim of violence, living through a natural disaster or war, or sudden unexpected loss.


Equity is giving everyone what they need to be successful. Equality is treating everyone the same. Equality aims to promote fairness, but it can only work if everyone starts from the same place and needs the same help. This is absolutely not the case with children in the Early years.


All staff need to know how to promote pro social behaviour and manage difficult or dangerous behaviour, and to have an understanding of what behaviour might be communicating. All staff should focus on de-escalation and preventative strategies rather than focusing solely on reactive strategies.

Actions by staff are based on important principles:


1. It is the inappropriate behaviour that is rejected, not the child

2. Adults should keep the situation calm

3. A child’s success at reducing inappropriate behaviour should be acknowledged

4. Children must be guided to accept responsibility for their actions and their consequences, both intended and unintended It is our professional responsibility to challenge inappropriate behaviour and we should not take or deal with incidents in a personal way.


All staff are committed to challenge the behaviour of any child which involves physical violence or abuse, threats, verbal abuse, theft and damage to personal or school property. This includes all forms of bullying, cyberbullying or incidents of behaviour against any of the protected characteristics, in particular: disability, gender reassignment, race, religion/faith, sex or sexual orientation. Behaviour that is unacceptable, anti-social or dangerous will result in consequence.

Function of Behaviour
  • All behaviour has a function.

  • Function is what the behaviour is communicating.

  • One behaviour may have more than one function

Sensory (meeting a known or unknown need)

  • Provides input to one or more of the senses

  • Likely to happen in different situations, even if there is minimal interaction and engagement on offer.

Examples: Biting, running, tipping out etc where there is high sensory feedback. They are enjoying the sensations of their behaviour. These are often behaviours where there is no build up and it appears to come out of nowhere

Escape or Avoidance

  • The demand may be verbal, physical or related to proximity or environment.

  • Escape: when already in a situation and the behaviour is communicating escape

  • Avoidance: Behaviour happens when being asked to do something and behaviour functions as a way of avoiding

Example: Children who try to run out of the door when they are dropped off or try to escape the EY area or staff members. Hiding under tables is a classic example of this behaviour.

Attention (interaction or reaction)

  • Can be verbal, physical, social or related

  • Can be positive or negative attention


​Self-sabotaging behaviours such as destroying work. The children who constantly seek positive feedback and show you everything they do…constantly.

We should view this behaviour as attention NEEDING not attention SEEKING. They physically or emotionally need this attention to help them feel safe and emotionally regulated.


  • Behaviour occurs as a way of gaining access to an item or activity

Example: If a child is taken outside as a consequence for biting/hitting etc. They then learn that their way of accessing the outside provision is through the antisocial behaviours​


How we will understand behaviour:

  • Tune in: How does the child communicate feelings/wants/needs?

  • Understand context: What are situations/relationships/dynamics that lead to reactions?

  • Explore and make sense of what you see: What is the function of the behaviour? How does it make sense?

  • Be vigilant: Notice how changes (however subtle) in behaviour communicates feelings or needs

  • Seek positive messages: look for ways to engage in the positive



  • Vocabulary used within the setting is positive, child-centred and does not place blame or judgement on individual children

  • We will provide regular praise and feedback for prosocial behaviours. You do not only respond to behaviour when it is antisocial.

  • We support the development of self-regulation skills and children will be taught how to calm, regulate and respond to their feelings

  • De-escalation scripts will be readily available for staff to use when a child is in a heightened state. It is important that all staff use the same script, although it can be in a different order. The de- escalation script should be used repeatedly, with no variation from it, until the child has been persuaded to leave the situation and calm down.

  • Some behaviours will have consequences; limitation of injury or redirection will always be the preferred method of consequence.

  • Where behaviour exhibited may cause harm to themselves or others a risk reduction plans will be created. Risk reduction plans are used to better manage the child, ensure safe outcomes and develop thorough consistent ways of supporting the learners. They are written as such that a stranger would be able to pick them up and follow the plan, to provide consistent responses for the child.

Children will be told to stop if exhibiting dangerous behaviour. This will be reinforced with a visual sign, using PECS. Children will be told no if behaviour is unsafe but not dangerous. This will be reinforced with a visual sign, using PECS.

Behaviour, the understanding, modelling and the consequence


  • Not engaging in group time

    • Child will be allowed to engage themselves within the wider room (if safe to do so) and adult will engage with child during CIL

    • Consequence = None

  • Child stands up from table with food in their mouth

    • Child is reminded that this behaviour is unsafe and will be asked to return to the table. The child will be then told why the behaviour is unsafe.

    • Consequence = None

  • Refusal to follow instruction

    • Escape or avoidance, Re direction or alternate wording to be used. Adult to ascertain and observe reason for refusal to follow instructions If there is a safety reason that may place the child at risk, then adults will use no or stop as appropriate.

    • Consequence- Item maybe removed from child if there is a safety aspect to refusal

  • Child is not tidying up / hiding at tidy up time

    • The adult will say “It’s tidy up time – please help me tidy over here” Staff continue to role model tidying up – providing clear instruction

    • Consequence - Specific praise to be given

  • Child refuses to help or runs away.

    • Point out children who are tidying – give the attention to the expected behaviour Adults to say “At Nursery we all need to help tidy up. Would you like to pick up the bricks or wipe the tables?”

    • Consequence - Talk directly with the child labelling the emotion that has been caused. Discuss what caused the individual to behaviour in that way. Demonstrate alternate coping strategies.

  • Children are upset as they want the same toy as a peer.

    • The adult could say ‘… has the toy now, you can have it when they are finished’ or show/offer/encourage other toys.

    • Consequence - None

  • Child hits or hurts another child

    • Demonstrate that the other child is hurt, attach an emotion to the feeling – sad, hurt, angry.

    • Consequence - Talk directly with the child labelling the emotion that has been caused. Discuss what caused the individual to behaviour in that way. Demonstrate alternate coping strategies.

Physical Intervention


There are occasions when staff will have cause to have physical contact with children for a variety of reasons, for example:

  • to comfort a child in distress (so long as this is appropriate to their age);

  • to gently direct a child

  • in an emergency to avert danger to the child or others

In all situations where physical contact between staff and children takes place, staff must consider the following:

  • the child’s age and level of understanding

  • the child’s individual characteristics and history;

  • the location where the contact takes place (it should not take place in private without others present

Physical contact is never made as a punishment, or to inflict pain. All forms of corporal punishment are prohibited.


We use physical restraint, only to prevent physical injury to the child themselves, other children or adults and/or serious damage to property. Details of such an event (what happened, what action was taken and by whom, and the names of witnesses) are brought to the attention of the Headteacher immediately. When physical restraint is required an open hand/mitten will be used to ensure that a child can remove themselves if they choose.


Open hand:

  • Fingers together

  • Thumb away from fingers

  • Palms parallel to floor

  • The hand should remain in a mitten to avoid the possibility of gripping


Monitoring and evaluation

The effectiveness of this policy will be monitored by the Headteacher and members of SLT through incident reports. This will be reported to the Governors through the Headteacher’s report presented to FGB.


The policy will be reviewed by SLT and Governor

Governors statement of behaviour principles

We are a UNICEF Rights Respecting School. These principles relate to Articles 3,4,5,6,12,13,14,15,16, 18,19,23,28,29,30,31,39

Rationale and Purpose


This Statement has been drawn up in accordance with the Education and Inspections Act 2006, and DfE guidance (The school behaviour policy: the role of the governing body) and the Equality Act 2010.


The purpose of this statement is to provide guidance for the headteachers in drawing up the Behaviour Policy so it reflects the shared aspirations and beliefs of governors, staff, parents and carers for the children in the school, as well as taking full account of law and guidance on behaviour matters. Staff should be confident that they have the governor’s support when following this guidance.


This is a statement of principles, not practice: it is the responsibility of the headteachers to draw up the Behaviour Policies at Roots Federation, though they must take account of these principles when formulating this.


The headteachers are also asked to take account of the guidance in DfE publication Behaviour and Discipline in Schools: a guide for headteachers and school staff (September 2022).


The Behaviour Policies must be publicised, in writing, to staff, parents/carers and children each year. It must also appear on the school’s website.


Our Behaviour Principles


Our principles reflect our school values, our commitment to the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child and our curriculum drivers.

  • All schools within Roots Federation are inclusive schools. Everyone should be free from discrimination, harassment, victimisation of any sort. Equity is when everyone gets what they need to achieve.

  • Everyone has the right to feel safe all of the time.

  • Bullying or harassment of any description is unacceptable even if it occurs outside normal school hours.

  • Every pupil should be educated in an environment where they feel valued, listened to and respected

  • Children should be encouraged to be accountable for their actions and the potential impact on themselves and others

  • Consequences should enable a pupil to reflect on, and learn from a situation and to make reparation wherever possible.

  • Children should be supported to build self-discipline, empathy and emotional resilience through the development of strong self-regulation systems.

  • Adults in school should model, maintain, encourage and promote positive behaviour and the principles of fairness and justice.

  • High expectations for positive behaviours and attitudes towards learning provide the foundations for our children to become confident, resilient and self-assured learners.

  • All schools should work in partnership with parents/carers to develop and promote positive behaviours - and seek advice from appropriate outside agencies wherever necessary.

  • Exclusion from school is a last resort. Any exclusion should be issued in accordance with guidance from the Local Authority.

This written statement and the policies that are influenced by it apply to all pupils when in school, when engaged in extra-curricular activities such as educational trips and visits (residential and non residential) and when travelling to and from school.


The governors wish to emphasise that violence, threatening behaviour or abuse by pupils or parents, towards the school’s staff, will not be tolerated

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