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Our School Story:
Whittington CE Primary School

Whittington CE Primary School serves a student population of 230. Despite not being situated in an area of significant social deprivation, they face the challenge of managing a large number of high-needs children with complex and diverse needs who come from a range of socio-economic backgrounds. During the 2016-2017 academic year, the school encountered 34 serious incidents.


In 2018, under the leadership of Carl Rogers, and drawing inspiration from the book and framework provided by When The Adults Change, Whittington embarked on a journey of transformative change to address low-level disruption and inconsistent discipline.


“We engaged with Paul’s work with the intention of creating a more consistent and relational approach to behaviour management and, ultimately, to raising standards.”


Staff received continuous comprehensive professional development for implementing relational approaches, and a new behaviour policy was introduced to ensure consistency in the implementation of relational practice throughout the school. 


The staff have embraced techniques such as meet and greets, check-ins, positive notes, recognition systems, scripted conversations and swift impositions. Dog-eared copies of ‘When the Adults Change…’ can even be found throughout the school serving as a constant reminder of their shared vision.


“Over time, standards of behaviour have improved and staff are considerably more skilled and empowered to manage behaviour.”


The transformation has been so remarkable that Whittington now welcomes visitors regularly, inviting them to witness #TheWhittingtonWay relational approach in action.


Quotes from the children show how much they enjoy the approach that the school takes:

  • “teachers don’t shout”

  • “I get lots of hugs at this school”

  • “I feel that I can tell an adult if I think I’ve been unfairly treated. They will always listen to what you have to say”

  • “the teachers in our school smile all the time”

  • “my teacher this year has stopped the arguments that used to happen all the time. He knows when we need to be told to get on with it”


Importantly, quotes from the staff show that it is mutual:

  • “we celebrate and reward all children, not just focus on those children whose behaviour we are looking to improve”

  • “we have the right to treat every child as an individual and know that we will be backed by SLT”

  • “we live our values and Paul Dix’s work has been a breath of fresh air. I’m so proud of our school”

  • “I think it is brilliant that behaviour management is not a spectator sport at this school”


As a recognised When The Adults Change Partner School, Whittington CE Primary continues to reaffirm its commitment to consistent and nurturing behaviour management. The school serves as a powerful example of the transformative potential of adopting relational practice.

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