Working with HErtfordshire
Post-pandemic, it is evident that children are displaying different types of distress and displaying a variety of difficulties that impact their ability to engage in learning. Many complex behaviours are being seen at a much younger age and low-level behaviours are far more disruptive to whole school culture than they have been previously.
We see schools that are steeped in kindness and rich in skilled practice. We recognise that many learning environments are steeped in emotional understanding and trauma-educated approaches.
Yet exclusions continue to rise in many areas which suggest current approaches are not reaching and unable to positively impact the most vulnerable and distressed children in our schools.
Relational practice provides a predictable and secure foundation for all children that becomes the bedrock of emotional safety, a sense of belonging and access to learning for all.
We see some schools moving away from a behaviour policy to a relationship policy. This is a positive step and shows the importance of a whole school approach to upping safety cues, building relationships, understanding regulation and the need to reflect. Removing punitive behaviour policies may have led to a gap and some staff confusion about what is the right thing to say or do. The focus on relationships can be enhanced and complemented by clear consistent and simple policies focussing on learning behaviour.
Relational Practice is built on a foundation of well-taught and established routines steeped in a culture of positive noticing. It is the routines and consistencies that enable behaviour to be managed by staff. The positive noticing, and a culture of banking relational currency, as well as an awareness of the importance of staff picking up their own tab, will enable adults to draw on that currency when it is really needed, rather than rely purely on building relationships with individuals.
Developing a deeper understanding what to do and what to say are the essential elements for achieving a compassionate focus on learning that will upgrade behaviours and transform learning environments.
Relational practice is built on a foundation of well-taught and established routines steeped in a culture of positive noticing. It is the routines and consistencies that enable behaviour to be managed by staff. The positive noticing, and a culture of banking relational currency, as well as an awareness of the importance of staff picking up their own tab, will enable adults to draw on that currency when it is really needed, rather than rely purely on building relationships with individuals.
The approach used by When The Adults Change has been used to reach and support the most vulnerable learners whilst upgrading classroom behaviours and positively transforming learning environments for all.
Hertfordshire's Virtual School has commissioned the development of a bespoke version of Paul Dix's Behaviour Change Online Course. The course, which helps develop the skills needed for relational practice, compromises of 7 hours of online learning that is split into 3 main sections; What to say, What to do & How to be.
However you work with When the Adults Change, everything begins with our online courses. They are highly practical, effective and build trust, capacity and commitment to improving practice in schools, colleges and sixth forms.
We recommend consuming the course is bite-size chunks to create an appropriate pace of change and consistency across the whole school. Where possible we recommend working in small groups working for 15-30 minutes at a time. Be mindful that the most learning happens in your day-to-day practice, adapting, trying and developing the skills that we discuss, share and showcase in the course.
There is a discount in place for all Schools in Hertfordshire making the license £37.50 per person rather than £65.
Why it matters
An outstanding school is one that achieves with all children. Inclusion is not optional. It is what makes schools incredible. Relational practice drives exceptional cultures in which children thrive and adults love their work. There are clear boundaries, excellent systems and genuine mutual respect.
The authoritarian approach doesn’t work for the most wobbly children or for the best-behaved. It is unnecessarily harsh, unevidenced and its success built on the lives of the excluded. There is another way.
When The Adults Change the book has been part of the behaviour conversation in thousands of schools worldwide. Schools that live their values every day and strive for a kinder approach. I don’t believe that repeatedly excluding children is a legitimate strategy.
I know that isolating children as a punishment for lengthy periods is damaging. I have experience of so many schools that are pursuing relational practice because it works, brilliantly.
So my work is to create a team of people who can help you with the seismic shifts. To promote the work to as many schools and teachers as I possibly can. To influence the direction of policy and practice at a local and national level. To make sure that children learn in a culture that is relational, restorative and unerringly positive. To speak out against the zero-tolerance nonsense and agitate for those who can’t be heard.
That is what I left the classroom for. That is the mission and I'm glad you are joining us.