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Our School Story:
Brindle Gregson Lane Primary School

At Brindle Gregson Lane, a change in Headteacher brought about a change of pedagogy and practice across the school. The new Headteacher brought across ideas and strategies from ‘When The Adults Change’ as she had seen its success in her last school. Before this, extrinsic motivation had been relied on a lot, with ‘star of the week’ rotated through the children and the continuous use of certificates and stickers. The children were becoming reliant on these, yet did not have a strong knowledge of why they needed to do the right thing, other than to earn a certificate or sticker. Traffic lights for behaviour were also used with golden time rewards given on a Friday.


The school redrew its Behaviour Policy, replacing it with a Relationship Policy. Their Relationship Policy is not primarily concerned with rule enforcement but is a tool used to promote positive relationships with peers and adults, with the common purpose of helping everyone learn in a nurturing, empathetic and respectful environment. The Relationship Policy is utilised by everyone, staff have embraced it and supply staff and pupils are provided with a condensed and user-friendly version of it. There is a strong focus on staff leading from the front and a clear understanding that adults need to set high standards themselves and model the behaviour they want to see.


The school’s focus is now on intrinsic motivation with a move away from weekly certificates. Recognition boards, both for each class and whole-school boards, are used as a way of recognising children who are going above and beyond the three school rules. There is an emphasis on going over and above rather than rewarding minimum standards. There is no limit to the number of times learners can be recognised. Instead, importance is placed on it being sincere to keep its value. The school frames these proud moments by telephoning parents, sending them a note or using the digital recognition board so parents can see pictures or videos. There are also ‘behaviour characters’ to help show expectations and children can be rewarded with ‘Blooming at BGL Garlands’.


All members of staff are trained in the key principles of restorative practice. Staff are supported with scripts and prompts, such as a ‘wellbeing crib sheet’ that they can use, giving them options to consider when children are struggling with regulation both during learning times and at break times, e.g. use of a mindful basket, breathing exercises, access to ‘The Retreat’. ‘Mountain Rescue’ is a needs-responsive pastoral team that has been introduced. Teachers and support staff can refer dysregulated learners to these specially trained staff, as well as learners with medical or safeguarding needs.


Support facilities are excellent at Brindleson Gregson Lane. There is ‘The Burrow Room’, where pupils can spend time with a Learning Mentor, discussing feelings and emotions. There also is ‘The Retreat’, a sensory room for children to use throughout the day to help aid regulation on an ad-hoc basis. It is also timetabled for more regular use of those with additional needs.


This was not an easy process. Everyone had to be brought on board. Staff required training, governors received a workshop to help with their understanding, and parents were invited into school to learn about the changes and see the behaviour policy in action.


The writing of the policy and delivering training was easy to complete. What was hard was shifting mindsets from external rewards to the benefits of intrinsic motivation. Change needed to be monitored to ensure consistency and this took lots of time and effort. This still takes place even now to ensure that staff remain a ‘tight team’. The process is ongoing. What helped was keeping the process collaborative with all stakeholders and not something that should be ‘done’ to them. Continued monitoring and requesting stakeholder feedback has helped make improvements to practice. Training and policy are revisited annually with all staff, as well as in bitesize form throughout the year, and training is made available for any new staff members who join.


Ofsted visited the school in February 2023 and could see that “Policies and procedures have been written with pupil relationships at the heart of them”. They also noted that pupils “know how to have good relationships with everyone”. Brindle Gregson Lane School really does seem to stand out in terms of its focus on relationships. Well done!

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