Positive Behaviour for Learning: A whole school approach

This post presents an overview of our whole school focus on Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBfL). Our PBfL wheel provides a visual summary of the key behaviours that we wish to highlight, encourage and nurture in our learners.

final_pbfl_stp_mindsetThe foundations for this, including the various plans and resources for implementation, have been developed over a period of time through consultation with a variety of groups, including:

  • Behaviour for Learning group (EV)
  • R&D group (FS)
  • Student Voice (LK)
  • Student Learning Leaders (AM)

All teaching staff have had a variety of opportunities to contribute and to feedback on developments. This has included two CPD briefing sessions, designated department time and open invitations for 1:1 discussions.

Contemporary educational research – not least the work of Ron Berger, Carol Dweck, Doug Lemov, and Guy Claxton – underpins the key principles of this focus. For staff that are unfamiliar with any of this work updated resources are now available in our school library.


Visits to a range of other schools, most notably Thomas Tallis, have also provided very beneficial insights for staff leading this focus. In addition, we are excited that St Peter’s have joined the Excellence & Growth Schools Network, which is bringing together schools that are committed to fostering a Growth Mindset within learners.


Our wheel provides a handy visual overview but (and excuse the pun) it’s how we roll with it that will really count. On one level – whole school – it can provide a broad prompt to help focus students on positive behaviours:

Screen shot 2014-08-27 at 06.56.00Click for full pdf version


But perhaps, rather than a wheel, our PBfL work might be better considered as a stick of rock to run through everything we do; a common core from which subjects and staff can elaborate and build upon, with excellent teaching and learning always being the main priority.

This animation illustrates the ‘stick of rock’ concept explaining the point system for positive behaviours.

Getting started in September 2014

On our return in September a whole staff session will outline the key principles. This input will build on our work from the end of the summer term whilst also recapping for the benefit of new staff.

What to expect:

  • A new Eportal ‘Student Event’ point-based system has been developed. This will enable teachers to easily highlight and record specific positive behaviours of students. Point totals will then inform both termly reporting and also rewarding that will take place via success assemblies.

Screen shot 2014-08-27 at 06.55.22click for pdf version

  • A PBfL tutor group programme will be provided for all year groups to support daily reflections and also regularly promote and encourage a growth mindset in students.
  • Regular year group assemblies will highlight specific positive behaviours for learning.
  • Regular input into CPD Briefings will share and highlight best practices relevant to PBfL.
  • Designated TLC and Department time will enable staff to collaborate on developing consistent approaches and subject specific resources
  • A range of PBfL resources will be available, for optional use, to support teaching and learning. This includes adaptable templates for student self-assessment, class certificates and display resources.

PBfL throughout the year

In this first year, each half term will have a designated ‘whole school’ PBfL focus. This will be most evident in the tutor programme and year group assemblies. (The emphasis placed on specific behaviours in individual classrooms may still vary – at times it might not be an appropriate fit, which, of course, is perfectly fine. PBfL is a ‘stick of rock’ in support of T&L, rather than a stick to hit people over the head with!)


Individual departments (during TLC time) will be challenged to unpick what each behaviour specifically means for their learners. It is within the subject specifics – developed collaboratively -  that the potential for our PBfL focus can really grow wings…

For example, at whole school level PREPARED is summarised with these broad terms:


But what does this mean at department level for teachers and learners? How might this differ between individual year or class groups, or across particular projects or terms? For example, in Art baseline expectations might look like this for different year groups: (which actually are quite wing like too)



Collaborating on these details and making them explicit – across staff and students – should promote greater consistency across a department. Defining what the baseline expectations are, alongside examples of potential ‘above and beyonds’ may also prove beneficial.

PBfL impacting in the classroom

Pinpointing specific qualities to be developed in learners could subsequently support planning (short, medium and long-term) with departments identifying the best times of year for concerted focus on particular behaviours.

Most importantly our focus on PBfL should help improve the quality of feedback provided to learners. For it is in this area – providing the right kind of praise and recognition – that the greatest gains could potentially be made.

Certificates recording specific details of success – that acknowledge the positive behaviours leading to it rather than suggest an innate ability – may help promote a growth mindset. Of course it’s important to remember that any rewarding like this, or via Eportal, comes hand in hand with 1:1 discussion. Student feedback has told us that acknowledgement and praise delivered sincerely – heartfelt with eye contact, from a teacher whose opinion is respected – is always the most valued and motivating.



PBfL: Wider connections?

As the year unfolds there is potential to explore the connections with our PBfL focus wider, not least reflecting on our own modelling of these behaviours. For example, this is how our 10 T&L commandments look aligned with our PBfL agenda:

Screen shot 2014-08-27 at 06.59.15Tenuous links? Possibly, but interesting to to align these behaviours with our own baseline expectations.
This sheet can be used for a quick self-assessment!  (How’s that for some end of holiday fun?) Click for full pdf version

 Alternatively, how might our positive behaviours align with key T&L strands? Could something like this form an alternative framework for informal peer observations?

lesson ob

Of course there are plenty of flaws in such simplifications. These two quick examples are presented here only to promote further discussion and reflection. How far reaching could – or should – our PBfL focus become?

Work led by the R&D group in 2014-15 will certainly cross-over into our PBfL agenda. More information on this, and further developments will follow.

Feedback from all staff is most welcome, via comment boxes or email to FS.

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