A Solution Focused Approach to Preventing School Exclusion and Disaffection
Talking about the small achievements of today and being curious about tomorrow is always more attractive to young people than highlighting where they went wrong yesterday.
Used as part of Crisis intervention, Pastoral Care; Classroom Management or at Reviews – the Solution Focused Approach to Preventing School Exclusion and Disaffection has been instrumental in helping pupils to break negative patterns in order to concentrate on the start of new behaviour.
Within 24 hours, I was conscious of language I used with our children. We are setting up training for our Pastoral Team. It completely revolutionised the way I think and deal with our challenging pupils. I have been teaching for 27 years and this was the best training, the most energising, enlightening and inspirational 2 days I have ever spent
Pat Lalley, Assistant Head, St Cuthberts Catholic Community College, St Helens
Enabled me to refocus on my current practice. This course should be mandatory for all practitioners who work with young people regardless of profession.
Lynne Lynch, Senior EWO, Barnsley, South Yorkshire
Often, school structures encourage a system of recording and reporting misdemeanours and pupils are familiar with “being put on Report” of some kind or other. For some schools, the focus is on the “stopping of old behaviour” which is a very hard task and often a waste of energy. Our work with schools is about changing this mindset and encouraging staff to create a watershed – a point of change – and, instead, spend their energy on “catching the pupil doing something right”.
We would encourage schools, as an early intervention, to commit to saying, noting, recording times when all pupils demonstrate considerate, collegiate, supportive behaviour within the school. This ethos alone can reduce disruption and disaffection.
However, this course is about equipping staff with a resource when working with disaffected pupils and those at risk of exclusion. This is not a “positive thinking” model that ignores bad behaviour – accountability is vital and schools work best within a calm and structured ethos for all.
Our framework offers a structure for pastoral staff to implement an initial session with the pupil to highlight and investigate times when the pupil has achieved, has committed, has shown self-discipline and to explore how this was achieved (not why because motivation is fluid) and who did what to help that happen?
Being alert to exceptions to the problem behaviour, times when the pupil commits to learning, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant, in the mode of “strength detective” is more conductive to helping the pupil to do more of what works. The pastoral worker also elicits how, specifically, the teaching staff helped in these times that worked well. With the pastoral staff feeding back to the teaching staff (it is useful for everyone to be aware of how they have helped a pupil in order that they can repeat it) who then commit to “catch” the pupil demonstrating more of these exceptions – real change can be achieved.
Pupils who are disaffected are well used to resisting the warning and cajoling to “stop” and often give up trying to change because it seems such a long process within the traditional school system where a “reputation for disruptive behaviour” makes that journey even longer. Creating a watershed in a whole-school approach to allow for a “start of new behaviour” can bring much better outcomes for all.
1/2/3 day Solution Focused Preventing School Exclusion and Disaffection training courses for staff including Teachers, SENCOs, Learning Mentors, Learning Assistants, Education Welfare and Educational Pyschology staff.
About the Preventing School Exclusion Training:
The course provides staff with Solution Focused language and structures and the resources of the Examine, Repair & Move On Approach (Murphy ’93) including The Change Balloon; Scaling Walk, The Relationship Map, The Silent Session and Monitoring Charts to work with issues including:
- Low-level disruption issues
- Managing Challenging Behaviour
- Engaging the most resistant pupil and family
- Using the Approach over the telephone with attendance/ punctuality issues
- Collaborative Language with parents and pupils
- Developing a whole-school approach for Pastoral Care
- Motivating the Unmotivated Pupil and Family (3 day minimum)
- Crisis Intervention to prevent exclusion
Solution Focused Pupil Parent Support Worker (PPSW) training:
Following the Victoria Climbie enquiry and Lord Laming’s emphasis on Multi-agency working, many schools have identified a gap in their ability to provide family work with families of the local school community. Those schools who have had the benefit of engaging parents via family work have reported a clear shift in the improvement of attendance, behaviour and a reduction in school exclusion and also a better home and school liaison.
Education staff in East Lothian, Scotland, have found the Preventing School Exclusion and Disaffection Programme useful in reducing their exclusion rates The Times Education Supplement reports how Head Teacher, Jim Cassidy, in East Lothian utilised the approach following our training. Read the article here.
The Consultancy were later commissioned to train Probation Teachers in Scotland at the start of their career – these evaluations can be seen on our Evaluations Map.
The Guardian newspaper’s inclusion of our response to a behaviour problem gives an example of how useful this approach can be at Review meetings.
Further courses available for Education Staff:
- Introduction to Solution Focused Approaches:
1 day course for all staff to highlight how they can introduce a strength-based model as a whole school ethos.
- The Solution Focused School training programme:
This training programme is appropriate for schools and EWO Teams who wish to implement a new structure and ethos to improve attendance; help pupils achieve, engage families, and equip staff with positive behaviour strategies to achieve best outcomes for all . The training includes liaison and consultation with the School/Team and advice on small-step changes that can provide a watershed in ethos.
For details about our Courses, please contact us on Tel: 0208 947 8093 or 07779 242 289 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org