STUDENT BEHAVIOUR, DISCIPLINE & EXCLUSION POLICY
Woodcote House School aims to encourage pupils to adopt the highest standards of behaviour, principles and moral standards. We aim to promote trust and mutual respect for everyone. We believe that good relations, good manners and a secure learning environment play a crucial part in the development of intellectually curious pupils, who are motivated to become life-long learners. We develop qualities of team-work and leadership through our extensive programme of extra-curricular activities. In developing this policy, the school has taken due regard to the DfE document ‘Behaviour and Discipline in Schools 2016’.
Woodcote House School is an inclusive community. We welcome pupils from a wide variety of ethnic and social backgrounds and faiths. We treat everyone as an individual, and aim to develop the whole person, equipped to take his place in the modern world.
At Woodcote we promote and reward good behaviour by:
verbal and written praise for good work
academic merits for both effort and achievement
annual subject and year group prizes
posting examples of excellent work on notice boards/website/etc.
DISCIPLINE AND REWARDS
The school fully recognizes the need to balance promoting good behavior amongst pupils as well as the sanctions adopted, therefore, Woodcote has adopted a system of plus and minus marks as detailed below.
For a comparatively trivial offence, the system of ‘Minuses’ is used. It is split into 5 different categories – manners, insolence, lateness, kit and disobedience – thus covering most misdemeanours. Minuses operate on a daily basis. If a boy receives a minus in one given period, he will do a detention with a senior member of staff at 12:35 the following day. One minus is equal to 10 minutes detention. The Director of Studies keeps a record via Engage which serves as a record of all minuses given.
For misbehaviour in lessons or during Games, particularly if hampering the progress of other boys, a boy can certainly be sent to explain himself to the Headmaster.
More serious examples of bad behaviour should always be reported to the Headmaster and are described below.
It is very important that staff recognise the value of praising good behaviour, privately or publicly, and rewards throughout the school in terms of plus marks, extra tuck, special privileges or public congratulation are certainly in order.
Woodcote recognizes the need to manage pupils transition through the school and that a minor offence committed by a new 7 year old might warrant different handling to that if it had been committed by a 12 year old who had been at the school for several years. All punishments and rewards are discussed regularly at staff meetings and it is through these discussions that they are moderated to ensure they are appropriate for the age and experience of the boy.
CODE OF BEHAVIOUR
Woodcote House School community of staff, parents and pupils adhere to a code of behaviour. We see education as a partnership. Our staff are committed to excellence, aiming to achieve a spirit of trust and cooperation. We expect the highest values and standards of behaviour, both inside and outside the classroom, as well as outside the school and in any written or electronic communication concerning the school.
We expect pupils to treat staff and each other with consideration and good manners and to respond positively to the opportunities and demands of school life. They should follow the school’s Code of Behaviour.
Everyone has a right to feel secure and to be treated with respect, particularly the vulnerable. Harassment and bullying will not be tolerated. The school is strongly committed to promoting equal opportunities for all, regardless of race, gender, gender orientation or physical disability.
Woodcote takes its duties under the Equality Act 2010 seriously and makes appropriate reasonable adjustments for pupils with special educational needs/disabilities. All the protected characteristics outlined in said Equality Act are just that – protected.
We expect pupils to be ready to learn and to participate in school activities. They should attend school and lessons punctually. They should care for the buildings, equipment and furniture. We expect pupils to behave at all times in a manner that reflects the best interests of the whole community.
INVOLVEMENT OF PARENTS AND GUARDIANS
Parents and Guardians who accept a place for their child at Woodcote House undertake to uphold the school’s policies and regulations, including this policy. They will support the school’s values in matters such as attendance and punctuality, behaviour, uniform/dress and appearance, standards of academic work, extra-curricular activities and homework/private study.
We will always telephone the home on the first day of an unexplained absence in order to make sure that your child has not suffered an accident. Please note that it is the school policy usually not to allow holiday to be taken during term.
In the event of any behaviour management issue the school will liaise closely with parents and, if relevant, other support agencies. This will include consultation/access to the school counsellor and educational psychologist as appropriate to set up an appropriate support system for individual pupils.
INVOLVEMENT OF PUPILS
Our experience shows that the ethos of and respect for the school is enhanced by listening to our pupils and by encouraging constructive suggestions from them, e.g. via the School Council, Food, and Boarding Committees which meet regularly.
SCHOOL RULES AND REGULATIONS
The school’s Rules and Regulations (our Code of Behaviour) are designed to encourage positive behaviour. Its sanctions are to help us to manage challenging behaviour. Copies of the Code of Behaviour are set out in the termly calendar given to pupils, parents, guardians and staff. They may change from time to time. Parents and Guardians undertake to support the authority of the Headmaster in enforcing them in a fair manner that is designed to safeguard the welfare of the community as a whole.
The Head for his part undertakes to apply any sanctions fairly, and, where appropriate, after due investigative action has taken place. Sanctions may undergo reasonable change from time to time but will not involve any form of unlawful or degrading activity. Corporal punishment is illegal and Woodcote’s staff will never threaten, or use, any form of corporal punishment when setting out its sanctions for poor behaviour amongst pupils. Examples of sanctions include:
- Withdrawal of privileges;
- Confiscation of property that is being used inappropriately or without consideration;
- Withdrawal from a lesson, school trip or team event; or
- Suspension for a specified period, removal or exclusion.
The school’s policy on exclusion is set out below and all parents and pupils should be aware of the more serious sanctions, including suspension and exclusion,that the Head Master can impose for serious breaches of the School Rules, including but not limited to criminal behaviour. Examples of serious breaches (non-exhaustive) of the School Rules which may result in serious sanctions include
- Drug abuse;
- Alcohol and tobacco abuse;
- Physical assault/ threatening behaviour against pupils or adults;
- Verbal abuse/threatening behavior against pupils or adults;
- Sexual harassment;
- Racist, religious or sexist abuse;
- Abuse on grounds of disability, Special Educational Needs(tec);
- Sexual misconduct;
- Damage to property;
- Making malicious false accusations against staff;
- Persistent disruptive behaviour; or
- Parental behaviour.
Serious sanctions may also be imposed where unsatisfactory behaviour has continued despite previous disciplinary sanctions and/ or warnings or as a sanction for a series of minor misdemeanours.
In applying sanctions, especially those with serious consequences, we undertake to take reasonable steps to avoid placing children with a disability at a disadvantage compared to children who are not disabled.
Sanctions for breaches of discipline that do not merit exclusion
When poor behaviour is identified a range of disciplinary measures may be applied which could include:
- A verbal reprimand from a member of school staff;
- Reports to parents (which are always worded to be as constructive as possible);
- Additional school work or repeating unsatisfactory work until it meets the required standard;
- The setting of written tasks as punishments, such as writing lines or essays;
- Loss of privileges;
- Missing break time;
- School detention
- Regular reporting, including early morning reporting; scheduled uniform and other behaviour checks; or being identified for behaviour monitoring; and
The teacher is responsible in the first instance for dealing with minor infringements, such as lateness, casual rudeness or disruption in class, and late or poorly completed work. He/she may impose any of the sanctions above such as the setting of additional work or the pupil may be required to re-do unsatisfactory work. Repetition of this behaviour will be reported to the Headmaster to the pupil’s Tutor and may lead to detention.
Minor indiscipline in class or other minor misdemeanours are reported to the pupil’s Tutor and may lead to a pupil being set a task for a designated time.
More serious misdemeanours are reported to the pupil’s Tutor and Headmaster and may lead to the withdrawal of privileges for a designated period.
Persistent lateness to lessons will be reported to the pupil’s Tutor and Headmaster and may lead to a supervised detention.
Persistent lateness to bed, disrupting other members of the boarding house, etc. may result in the Duty Master/Matron requiring the pupil to attend a detention.
Breaches of discipline outside of the school grounds
The school takes the conduct of its pupils outside of school grounds extremely seriously. A pupil’s misbehaviour outside of school can be damaging to the reputation of both the pupil and the school. Where an incident is reported to the school of a pupil/s’ poor behaviour outside of the school grounds and the incident has not been witnessed by school staff, the school will take an evidence-based approach and/or talk to witnesses before identifying further action and any sanctions required for such behaviour.
The school will report to the police any activity which it believes may amount to a criminal activity which takes place either within the school grounds or outside of its grounds. Drugs and weapons will be confiscated immediately and held for the police as potential evidence. If the school believes a pupil may have taken drugs then the school will seek immediate medical advice and may involve the police.
Sexual offences will generally be reported to the police immediately, including in cases where a pupil is only suspected or alleged to have committed such an offence provided a reasonable amount of evidence is available. The alleged victim’s parents will also be informed immediately of the incident and told that the police have been informed. Whether the victim and parents then speak to the police is a matter for them.
Appeals against exclusion
The school will always offer the right of appeal to any pupil excluded from the school. Any appeal against exclusion will be dealt with under this Policy rather than under the school’s Complaints Policy, and should be made in writing to the Head Master within one week of the pupil’s exclusion.
An appeal meeting will follow as soon as practicable, to which the parent may be accompanied by a friend or relative if they wish (although legal representation is not appropriate). The appeal will usually be heard by at least two of the school’s Advisory Board.
The school will accept the appeal decision as final.
Like all schools, we reserve the right for our staff to use reasonable force to control or restrain a pupil in specific circumstances. The Education and Inspections Act 2006 enables school staff to use “such force as is reasonable in the circumstances to prevent a pupil from doing or continuing to do” any of the following:
- “Committing any offence (or, for a pupil under the age of criminal responsibility, what would be an offence for an older pupil)”
- “Causing personal injury to any person (including the pupil themselves)”
- “Causing damage to the property of any person (including the pupil themselves)”
- “Prejudicing the maintenance of good order and discipline at the school, and among any pupils receiving education at the school, whether during a teaching session or otherwise”
The Act also defines to whom the power applies as follows:
- “Any teacher who works at the school”
- “Any other person whom the head teacher has authorised to have control or charge of pupils”
All of our staff are trained in the circumstances in which reasonable minimum force may be used, both as part of their induction and regular refresher training on managing pupil behaviour. In particular, they are advised always to use their voices first and to use the minimum force necessary to restrain a child for the shortest possible period. Their training deals with the factors that must be considered in reaching a judgement as to whether the use of physical restraint is appropriate that are set out in the ATL’s Guidance “Restraint,” that include:
- “The seriousness of the incident, assessed by the effect of the injury, damage or disorder that is likely to result if force is not used”
- “The chances of achieving the desired result by other means”
- “The relative risks associated with physical intervention compared with using other strategies”
The school reserves the right to search pupils and their possessions without consent if there is justified cause to do so. Knives or weapons, alcohol, illegal drugs, stolen items, tobacco and cigarette papers, fireworks and pornographic images can be searched for according to law along with any article that the member of staff reasonably suspects has been, or is likely to be, used to commit an offence, or to cause personal injury to, or damage to property. A search may also be undertaken for any item banned by School Rules which has been identified in the rules as an item which may be searched for.
The Head or staff authorised by them may search a pupil, provided that the staff member is the same sex as the pupil being searched and there is another staff member as witness. The school may carry out a search of a pupil of the opposite sex to the staff member conducting the search and without a witness present but only where the school “reasonably believes that there is a risk that serious harm will be caused to a person if you do not conduct the search immediately and where it is practical not to summon another member of staff” (‘Searching, Screening and Confiscation: Advice for Headteachers, School Staff and Governing Bodies’, DfE February 2014).
TEACHING AND LEARNING
Woodcote House School aims to raise the aspirations of all its pupils and to help them to appreciate that there are no barriers to their potential achievements both inside and outside the classroom. Pupils are encouraged to take responsibility for their own learning. We celebrate success, emphasise the positive and deal with the negative in a sensitive and tactful way. Our teaching staff offer every child a high level of individual attention, together with consistent and helpful advice. In return, we expect every pupil to cooperate and to work hard. With particular regard to promoting good behavior there are lessons in morality and manners for boys in the bottom of the school and this is reinforced through tutor sessions, assemblies and chapel services throughout each term. The boys also have a copy of the code of behavior in the back of the school booklet.
We hope that you and your child do not have any complaints about the operation of our behaviour policy; but copies of the School’s complaints procedure can be sent to you on request.