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Positive Behaviour Support

Ivel Valley School has adopted a school and college wide model of Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) to assess children and young people’s challenging behaviour and develop strategies to support them more effectively. 

The aim is to help reduce the incidence and prevalence of challenging behaviours of concern impacting the child or young person’s capacity for engagement and learning in and around the classroom environment. The targeted behaviours of concern are not just those where children and young people are explicitly challenging; but also those behaviours where pupils are quieter and present with anxieties that are less overt.

Dr Tej Kondel-Laws

Dr Tej Kondel-Laws is a Consultant Clinical Psychologist with many years of experience in working with young people with special needs.  Dr Kondel-Laws provides expert clinical advice to parents, specialised training to Ivel Valley staff and an integrated approach with other agencies, to facilitate a joint working approach to reduce challenging behaviour.

Dr Tej Kondel-Laws’ approach to school-wide psychological wellbeing is theoretically underpinned by trauma informed care.  She considers a brain-based formulation of each child or young person’s cognitive, social, emotional and overall psychological wellbeing with a view to understanding what factors impair access to the curriculum, learning and future trajectory towards independence.  As a result of their special needs, some children and young people can exhibit difficulties with anxiety, low self-esteem and low morale; leading to challenging behaviours in and around the classroom.  Building relationships can be tricky as a result, leading to a sense of isolation. 

The principles of Dr Kondel-Laws’ trauma informed PBS model insists on the following;

  1. All behaviour happens for a reason; if staff and carers share a brain-based way of relating to the world, we can develop more effective strategies to meet need and behaviours of concern will reduce and active engagement in the classroom would increase.
  2. The assessment, development of the strategies and implementation are all carried out with the children and young people themselves (where they are able to) and the adults and carers around the child or young person, including family members, staff teams and other professionals.
  3. The strategies developed need to increase quality of life and skill set, attending to any trauma aspects (e.g., separation anxiety) underpinning the behaviours (as assessed and formulated by our psychologist) such that they reduce as a side effect of this.
  4. Once strategies are developed our Consultant uses a coaching/skills teaching model to support staff and/or family members to implement the strategies consistently. Without this it is unlikely that strategies will be implemented well, and this will fundamentally impact on their effectiveness. Home school partnership is critical to success.
  5. The school decision making around levels of support for pupils will always be based on data as to what ‘tier’ of support they need. This includes the development and monitoring of strategies. If the strategies are not working the Consultant will work with staff well known to the pupil to alter and refine the strategies.

Ultimately, the approach is to enable children and young people to flourish and be the best that they can be.

The overall PBS approach developed for Ivel Valley works within a tiered model outlined below:

What does School Wide PBS look like?

The model is broken into three tiers, the first tier builds the foundation and ensures that there is consistent implementation of school values along with praise when the values are followed and clear and consistent methods of discipline when they are broken. The second tier addresses the support of pupils who break the school values to ensure that they have additional support to follow them. The final tier is for a small selection of pupils who do not follow school values and where tier two methods have not addressed the breaking values (i.e. the pupil continues to break the rules). Systems that are used in tier three include comprehensive functional assessment to develop a behaviour support plan. All staff working with that pupil will then receive training based on the behaviour skills training approach to enable them to follow the behaviour support plan comprehensively.  

How do the tiers of the PBS model work?

Overall, school wide PBS is broken into three tiers. Prior to implementing the model all staff are provided with training on what school wide PBS is but this will be couched within a clinical understanding of attachment, trauma and impact on the brain.