Creating a positive behaviour and behaviour management policy

A behaviour management policy is a great tool to have in your school to support the school comunity's understanding of how to approach behaviour challenges within the school environment

The Positive Behaviour and Behaviour Management Policy should be used in conjunction with a Whole school Behaviour Policy, Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy and an Anti-bullying Policy. The policy should be shared with and understood by all staff at the school.

 Click here for a template of a Positive Behaviour Plan 

Why have a Positive Behaviour Policy?

 A Positive Behaviour Policy can:

  • Emphasize a culture of inclusion, equality and togetherness. It acknowledges that some children experience behavioural difficulties whether due to a disability such as ADHD or a situation they are experiencing such as bereavement and shows that your school is looking at how it can be inclusive of all students.

  • Support staff at school in positively engaging and supporting children who demonstrate behavioural problems to manage their behaviour in a positive way that promotes learning and enjoyment of school.

  • Improve relationships with parents/ carers through demonstrating you are taking a holistic approach to the students and seeking to positively engage each child to enable them to fulfill their potential.


Every child should have the right to achieve their potential, only by teachers working together in partnership with students and their parents/carers and circles of support can we achieve this. This policy provides a piece of the jigsaw in creating an inclusive, child-centred environment that promotes and supports children, of all abilities and needs to fulfill their potential.


The Policy


Your policy should provide:

  1. A summary of your school- Your school ethos, objectives/aims, outcomes for behaviour.

  2. Your approach to managing behaviour

  3. Your strategies to managing behaviour

  4. Framework for problem solving

  5. Managing behaviour procedure


Building your policy

1. School Summary


Here is an example of how a School Summary can be written:

Ethos/values: We believe that all children have the right to an education that supports their academic learning, social, communication and life skills development and spiritual growth.



  • to maintain a happy, secure, calm, orderly environment in which effective learning can take place

  • to support students to become self-disciplined

  • to cultivate an ethos which supports students to accept and recognise responsibility for their own decisions and actions, together with the consequences of these actions

  • to encourage students to develop their own strategies to manage different situations

  • to encourage all students and adults to respect the feelings, needs, interests and opinions of others and develop a positive approach towards everyone involved in the life of our school

  • to recognise the role of all adults in the school in modelling good behaviour

  • to use teaching methods that engage students and are well matched to their needs and provide a curriculum which excites and challenges.



All children are supported to:

  • stay safe

  • be healthy

  • enjoy and achieve

  • achieve economic well-being

  • make a positive contribution


2. A Positive Approach


A Positive Behaviour Policy focuses on how positive behaviour amongst students can be promoted and supported. It takes the view that all children are unique, some may require additional support temporarily or long term due to a situation or condition, to manage their behaviour, but this is not a reflection on the child but rather the need to support them due to a condition or environmental factor. Therefore, the policy avoids certain language such as “challenging behaviour” or language that refers to children negatively.  

Starting with a positive approach is key to developing and implementing a behaviour policy. It is a powerful tool that can positively change lives.

The policy should set high expectations and support students to develop self discipline and a positive self-image. Students who experience difficulties in managing their behaviour can often experience low self-esteem, these students are particularly vulnerable to the responses and support they receive. If interaction at school is negative it could result in additional issues of reduced self-esteem and self-efficacy, disengagement with learning, withdrawal from friends, reduced appetite and participation to falling out of the education system, poor mental health and well-being.

By taking a positive approach to behaviour through reinforcing good behaviour, we provide role models and emphasise our high expectations and encourage achievement.

An example of School rules to reflect positive behaviour:

  • Try to tell the truth

  • Keep our School clean and tidy

  • Walk around School so that we do not disturb others

  • Respects other people’s property by looking after things carefully

  • Look after our own belongings

  • Look smart in our School uniform

  • Play so everyone can enjoy themselves

  • Treat everyone with respect and care


You can simplify your school rules for Pre-school children and early years, for example:

  • Be happy

  • Be kind

  • Be polite

  • Listen

  • Work hard


You can reinforce these in class with games and quizzes about the rules, role playing and supporting the children to make a display about the rules. You can use additional props in class to support children to think about how they can behaviour, for example making a poster with the text below:

  • Think before you speak

  • T   is it true?

  • H   is it helpful?

  • I    is it inspiring?

  •   is it necessary?

  • K    is it kind?


3. Strategies for promoting positive behaviour


Here are a few examples:

  • Regular weekly circle times that are timetabled as part of PSED/PSHCE

  • Schedule weekly Personal, Social, Health Education sessions

  • Sensitively and positively challenge unacceptable behaviour. Establish Behaviour Plans with students that need support to manage their behaviour

  • Celebrating positive behaviour, effort and achievement, some examples:

    • Verbal praise, e.g. ‘Well done for...’/ ‘I like that because...’

    • Establishing individual schemes that rewards positive attitudes in work and behaviour e.g. smiley faces, stickers, stamps, positive written comments etc

    • Sharing achievement with another teacher and class

    • Establish a reward scheme that incorporates merits for positive behaviour, kindness, helpfulness, teamwork. You could encourage teamwork at school by dividing children into “houses” e.g. Red, Blue, Yellow and Green. Children are awarded house points for good work and behaviour by their teacher. The house points are added up each term where one house wins the cup. On an individual level, children receive a star for every 10 house points. Children are awarded a Bronze certificate for their first star, Silver for their second and Gold for the third. You can establish this scheme from K4/ pre-school.

    • Merit assemblies

    • Making our disapproval obvious through facial expressions and gestures

    • Talking to students and listening to their explanation

    • Sad faces and Sorry books

    • Ask the child to write a letter of apology or draw a picture, as appropriate

  • Communications books - Share outstanding behaviour with home and encourage parents/ carers to comment on any positive behaviour at home.  

  • Establish a buddy system in school and the playground for children who need additional support to establish friendships, confidence in finding someone to play with.

  • Establish good working relationships with parents and ensure there is regular contact


4. Framework for problem-solving


Primary school example:

In using the Positive behaviour procedure, it is important to consider you have taken into account the following:

  • A realistic view of what it is reasonable to expect of a student’s age, stage, ability and personality

  • The desire to try and see things from the student’s point of view to help us understand the behaviour

  • A realistic sense of time it is likely for things to change

  • A way of managing our own responses to give the student the best possible chance of changing his/her behaviour

  • The support and involvement of other adults to help see his/her behaviour in the context of her/his learning and not a personal vendetta against us.


5. Positive behaviour procedure


Prior to embarking on the Positive Behaviour procedure with a child, it is vital that you have an understanding of the child’s disability or condition to ensure you are concurrently appropriately responding to their needs ensuring you are providing an inclusive environment, appropriate strategies and tools to support the student to actively communicate, participate a learn at school.

Stage 1

Students follow our ‘School Rules’; they respect their rights and the rights of others, work together and demonstrate understanding.  Students are expected to aspire to this, and reward systems are designed to reinforce and promote this.

Stage 2

Minor disruptions such as lack of concentration, talking in an inappropriate voice, running, pushing, showing lack of awareness of others is dealt with in class by the class teacher/teacher assistant using gentle verbal and non-verbal reminders.

If this behaviour continues, the class teacher will follow the traffic light approach.

  1. Verbal or non-verbal reminder- The child’s name is placed on green.

  2. Verbal reminder with details of consequence – The child’s name is placed on orange and it is explained ‘If I have to speak to you a third time you will be on red which means spending two minutes of your playtime in class. I am sure you will make the right choice and stop (add here what the disruption has been)”. It is important to give choice, cause and consequence.

  3. If the behaviour continues, the consequence is carried out and the child is required to articulate:

    1. What they did

    2. Why they did it

    3. What rule they broke

    4. What would be a better choice next time?

    5. What they can do to help


Stage 3

If a student continues with this unacceptable behaviour three times during one week, the class teacher brings the child to the Deputy Head. The child is spoken to by the Assistant Head who logs the incidents and will decide on an appropriate course of action or consequence. Should this unacceptable behaviour occur again during the following week, the class teacher will then ask parents/carers to come and discuss the situation. This highlights another occasion where it is vital to have established a good working relationship with parents/ carers so when you are dealing with difficult situations, you both have agreed expectations and can work positively together to support the student to address their behaviour and achieve a positive outcome for them and the school.

Stage 4

If the student continues to find it difficult to manage their behaviour, the head teacher will become involved. Then, working together with the student, class teacher and parents/ carers an individual behaviour plan is established. All discussions are logged, and the individual behaviour plan monitored carefully and reviewed regularly.


Stage 5

At this stage behaviour is now deemed serious enough to warrant exclusion. The issue is dealt with directly by the Headmaster.

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