Behaviour Toolkit

Introduction & Rationale

This document has been written to support the North Lincolnshire Educational Psychology and Specialist Teaching Teams publication: Special Educational Needs Support, The Graduated Approach.

“The SEN support should take the form of a four-part cycle (assess, plan, do, review) through which earlier decisions and actions are revisited, refined and revised with a growing understanding of the pupil’s needs and of what supports the pupil in making good progress and securing good outcomes. This is known as the graduated approach.” (SEN CODE JAN 15 para. 6.44)

The expectation is that two cycles of ‘assess’, ‘plan’, ‘do’ and ‘review’ are completed as part of the ‘graduated approach’. The Behaviour Toolkit is for all teaching and support staff in schools to use as a resource at the point of ‘Universal’ delivery.

The Behaviour Toolkit

  • Provides a clear and structured approach for helping children to access their learning environment.
  • Provides step by step guidance and allows for the systematic gathering of evidence around teaching and learning, the classroom environment and assessments to measure social and emotional well being.
  • Gathers information from a range of adults within school and gives expression to the voice of both parent and child.
  • Creates an expectation that all schools adopt a comprehensive and consistent approach when addressing the needs of pupils, parents and staff.
  • Ensures that ‘high quality teaching, differentiated for individual pupils is the first step in responding to pupils who have or may have SEN’ (SEN Code Jan 15 para 6.37)
  • Ensures that access to support is equitable and based upon a cycle of evidence gathering and review, as set out in the Code of Practice.
  • Can be incorporated within the process of academic progress reviews for individual children
  • Forms part of the ‘Local Offer’ as shown on the North Lincolnshire website with support determined by the graduated interventions indicated at ‘universal level’, ‘targeted level’ and ‘high needs level’.

Challenging behaviour is best understood as a consequence of unmet needs; be those unmet social & emotional needs, unmet communication needs, unmet physical & sensory needs, or unmet learning needs. The following principles are helpful when thinking about any behaviour causing concern:

  • Behaviour is something that people do, and is not what people are
  • Children do well if they can
  • Children behave well if they can
  • Behaviour can change
  • Positive, pro-social behaviour can be learned
  • Behaviour does not occur in a vacuum, and its meaning can only be understood within the context in which it occurs
  • There are always exceptions to challenging behaviour
  • The behaviour of children is often closely linked to the expectations of adults
  • Communication – what is the child communicating through this behaviour?

SEND Code of Practice January 2015

6.9 All schools have duties under the Equality Act 2010 towards individual disabled children and young people. They must make reasonable adjustments, including the provision of auxiliary aids and services for disabled children, to prevent them being put at a substantial disadvantage. These duties are anticipatory – they require thought to be given in advance to what disabled children and young people might require and what adjustments might need to be made to prevent that disadvantage. Schools also have wider duties to prevent discrimination, to promote equality of opportunity and to foster good relations.

6.12 Lessons should be planned to address potential areas of difficulty and to remove barriers to pupil achievement. In many cases, such planning will mean that pupils with SEN and disabilities will be able to study the full national curriculum.

The Behaviour Toolkit: – Guidance for Schools

The Behaviour Toolkit Guidance

Asking teachers to think about their own classroom practice may seem unnecessary, but we know that even small changes in a classroom environment can make a tremendous difference to the learning experiences of young people and can have a positive impact on their behaviour.

The Classroom Environment Audit document is designed to help teachers reflect on their individual classroom practice, whilst acknowledging the constraints that individual teachers may be facing in differing settings.

The information collated from undertaking the audit can:

  • identify where adjustments in classroom practice could be made
  • be used to inform any subsequent discussion with the person with responsibility for behaviour in the school. Depending on the setting this may be the SENCO, Pastoral Manager, Learning Mentor or the Lead Behaviour Teacher.

‘High quality teaching, differentiated for individual pupils, is the first step in responding to pupils who have or may have SEN…..Schools should regularly and carefully review the quality of teaching for all pupils including those at risk of underachievement.’ (SEN Code Jan 15 para 6.37)

‘This should include high quality and accurate formative assessments, using effective tools and early assessment materials.’ (SEN Code Jan 15 para 6.38)

Behaviour For Learning

The Classroom Environment Audit

It is the individual class teacher’s responsibility to manage the learning environment in such a way that enables children to do their best. Therefore, it is sometimes necessary to go back to basics and check the ‘foundations’ of your classroom practice.

The audit tool is designed to support teachers to reflect on their strengths and to help identify positive change and/or areas for future development. The audit may well identify opportunities for continuing professional development and/or the need for additional support.

The outcome of the audit should be the focus of any initial discussions with the SENCo or Pastoral Manager or Lead Behaviour teacher regarding any individual child causing concern.

(i) Physical environment

It is important to consider even the most basic of things such as lighting levels and temperature.

Visually, the learning environment should be appealing, relate to the learning objective and be accessible to pupils, but not over-whelming.

Furniture positioning is crucial. The class teacher should be able to scan the whole room from their teaching position. Consider the layout of the tables and the seating plan.

Consider the acoustics – in uncarpeted rooms avoid unnecessary movements e.g. have equipment ready and available on the table. Label resources for ease of access.

(ii) Classroom management

It is crucial that the teacher is present as the children arrive in the room in order to manage the movement of the young people. The seating arrangements should be determined by the teacher and used consistently so the children know what is expected of them.

Being able to wait for everyone to be ready is important so that you have everyone’s attention before instructions are given – be prepared to wait! Reinforce and recognise the behaviour you are wanting to see e.g. “Well done Rebecca you put your pen down as asked.”

Use positive language – immediately after observing the desired behaviours. Using minimal use of words, directive expectation, limited choices ie “Don’t run” becomes “Walk- thank you”

If support staff are allocated to the lesson, then they should know ahead of the session what the lesson is about and be clear about their role in that session. It is the class teacher’s responsibility to make provision for all the young people in the group – differentiation is the responsibility of the class teacher.

(iii) Curriculum

Differentiate The SEN Code of Practice is clear that the responsibility for making appropriate provision for the learning of young people with additional needs lies with the class teacher. The match between task and pupil ability is crucial. If the task is too hard pupils will become discouraged and disengaged. If too easy then this provides opportunity for off-task behaviours.

Keep the teaching input at an appropriate length, thinking about the concentration span of your pupils – this is age dependent. Consider the pace of the lesson. Think about short sections of input interwoven with short tasks. Structure the lesson with opportunities for pupils to work both independently and collaboratively with peers. If the lesson is balanced, pupils will be more engaged. Consider the language levels of the pupils and allow pupils time for processing spoken language. Consider styles of learning. Give opportunities for pupils to verbally discuss and rehearse responses before providing written work. (eg Kagan methods)

Time management is important with respect to completing tasks. It is crucial that pupils are given sufficient time to complete the task. Have resources available for those who finish more quickly. Remember to give sufficient time for pupils to record their homework – if it isn’t recorded then the pupil is a lot less likely to complete it.

Regularly bring all the pupils back as a group (teaching points, mini plenary) to collectively check that their learning is progressing as you anticipated. If you’ve misjudged the task (and everyone does at some point) then be flexible and amend the session as it progresses. It is better to change the task away from the lesson plan, rather than pursuing activities which don’t result in learning taking place for the young people.

(iv) RELATIONSHIPS!!! – How will you build up emotional currency with pupils?

Respect is mutual and needs to be earned by both parties. Pupils respect teachers who have clear boundaries, are fair and consistent.

Knowing the young people as individuals is important. Even more so in KS3 and 4 where staff have a significant turnover of young people during their working week. Make sure you are aware of any additional information about the children. Ask the SENDCo / Pastoral manager if you are unsure.

Rewards and sanctions should be determined with the pupils so that they have ownership and responsibility. Rewards are more effective if they are kept varied.
Be explicit about commenting on any desired behaviour you do want to see. This positively reinforces what you want, rewards those achieving it and acts as a role model to others. Ask yourself just what are the rewards for the young person in your class who is consistently on task and compliant?

If a child needs managing then do so discreetly remembering to convey the message that it is the behaviour that is not wanted, rather than the child. Avoid the use of sarcasm or shame, even in jest.
Fewer School Rules – READY, RESPECTFUL, SAFE – all expected behaviours relate to these.

Operate a ‘clean slate’ policy so pupils know that they have the opportunity to do it differently next time. Establish mutual regard and the pupils will be more likely to respond to your efforts to manage their learning.

When concerns persist about an individual pupil

Taking into account the pupil’s perspective

Put yourself in the shoes of the pupil in your class:

  • How does the pupil arrive at school (frightened, worried, hungry, tired upset?) How does this impact on their day?
  • How can you find out about any external factors which might be impacting on their experiences at school?
  • Tune into the pupil – actively listen to what they are saying, respond with interest but also observe non-verbal communication;
  • How do you communicate with everyone involved in this pupil’s life? Build up a clearer picture through conversations and documentation. Use The Assessment Tool p17
  • What support do they have?

What it is like for this pupil in your classroom?

  • Consider the physical environment (noise, light, space, movement);
  • Interactions (between adults and children, peers – relationships are key);
  • Transitions through the day (between adult directed activities).

Considering the pupil’s perspective allows a class teacher to use this information to support managing individual pupils and the whole class dynamic. This will also help inform any subsequent discussions around individual pupils.

Thinking about the Communicative Function of Behaviour

‘All behaviour happens for a reason. It is a form of communication’. When thinking about individual children it is useful to develop an idea, or a working hypothesis, about why this behaviour might be happening. All children and young people function within systems, e.g. home, school, community, which interact and overlap with each other. When thinking about children and young people within the context of school, it is important to consider all the other systems which impact on, and influence, that child or young person. Only by doing this do we begin to fully develop our understanding of their behaviour and so formulate the working hypothesis.

It may often be clear to us why a child or young person is behaving in a certain way. For example, if a youngster has experienced a bereavement we might anticipate the child showing signs of sadness or withdrawal. At other times it is unclear why a child or young person is behaving in a certain way and we may be puzzled or troubled by the behaviour being presented. It is in these situations that we need to develop a working hypothesis. Often, when we ask children and young people about their behaviour they are unable to explain it. This is why adults should develop possible explanations and test these out systematically. If a working hypothesis is correct then the strategies developed and implemented are seen to have a positive effect. Conversely, if no change occurs then a different working hypothesis may need to be considered. The ‘Step by Step Guidance’ flowcharts give a systematic approach to how behavioural concerns are managed (p11-15).


Other related information and resources are available either online or from the ‘Behaviour Support Team’:

  • Pupil Support Plans
  • The Graduated Approach – Assess, Plan, Do and Review – guidance
  • Antecedent, Behaviour, Consequence (ABC) charts for monitoring challenging behaviour
  • Guidance on functional behavioural assessments (SDQ),
  • Executive Functioning
  • Team Teach training on positive behaviour management
  • ADHD Strategies
  • Anger Management Programme resources
  • Five Point Scale Resources
  • Staff Training – ADHD, Attachment, Boxall Profiles, Theraplay Informed Practice
  • Advice around Triage panels (Early Years, School Age, Neurodiversity Pathway) – guidance on referrals, referral forms
  • Behaviour toolkits – ‘Early Years’ and ‘School Age’ versions
  • Contact – Tim Mellors – Lead Teacher BST (Behaviour Support)
  • Referrals for Behaviour Support, ASET, Complex Behaviour Team on a request form to

Five Step School Interventions

(Overview – notional 9-14 weeks intervention)

Step 1: Role of the Class/Subject Teacher

  • Concerns raised by class/subject teacher – Cognition / Social, Emotional Mental Health (SEMH) / Neurodiverse Needs
  • SENDCo / SMT undertakes a classroom observation.
  • Parents & Pupil informed – seek views to inform strategies (EHA considered)
  • Consider Factors – Environmental / Teaching / Communication / Medical
  • Environmental Checklist p25 used in observation visit by SENDCo / SMT
  • Feedback to class teacher – Implement actions from observation.
  • Monitor and Review (1-2 weeks) – Issues resolved or…

Step 2: Information Gathering & Roles

  • Review Meeting with parents (involve pupil at appropriate stage in meeting) – consider Early Help Assessment (EHA)
  • Information Sharing – previous teachers (undertake a Round Robin – see p26-30) support staff, other agency involvement – health services.
  • Consider: Family Hub referral, FaSST,
  • Consider: Boxall, SDQ ’s, Emotional Literacy, Executive Functioning, ASET Checklist, ATTEND Framework, Sensory Toolkit, Attachment needs and Theraplay intervention
  • LAC & Children with Statements (EHCP) – referral to BST (Go to Step 5)

Step 3: Creating a working hypothesis and initial Action Plan (AP)

  • Planning meeting
  • Complete Assessment Tool (pages 17-24)
  • Identify any training needs
  • Include Pupil and Parent ‘voice’
  • Create AP (Action Plan) to include an – IBP (Individual Behaviour Plan)
  • Implement 1ST AP (notional 4-6 weeks)

Step 4: Review and Revise

  • Review and revise Action Plan 1
  • Implement Action Plan 2 (notional 4-6 weeks)

Step 5: Discussion / Referral – BST / External Agencies

(Targeted Intervention)

When concerned about a Pupil’s Progress / Behaviour (1-2 weeks)

  • Class/Subject Teacher refers to the Behaviour for Learning Guidance (p6-9)
  • Parents & SENDCo informed – help inform strategies
  • Pupil views sought – help inform strategies.
  • SENDCo / Senior Teacher observes pupil in class and undertakes the Behaviour for Learning Classroom Environment Audit (p25)
  • Class / Subject Teacher receives feedback (discuss Team Teach strategies for de-escalation / building relationships/ behaviour management strategies).
  • Class/Subject Teacher makes adjustments considering – environment / differentiation /communication/ behaviour strategies
  • Allow 1-2 weeks to assess impact
  • SENDCo / Senior Teacher undertake second classroom observation
  • Feedback and Review with class teacher
  • Parents & Pupil informed and involved in next steps – consider Early Help.


  • Concern resolved
  • Concern remains – go to Step two
  • Create a ‘Team Around Child’ (TAC). Class Teacher, SENDCo, Pastoral Lead, Learning Mentor, Support Staff, Senior Teacher, Round Robin
  • Review Meeting with TAC – discuss outcomes of the 2nd classroom observation and the concerns that remain – discuss strengths / issues
  • TAC initiates information gathering process
  • Parents and pupil informed and involved in determining next steps.
  • Collate academic data and identify any learning / physical / communication / medical / social emotional mental health / developmental needs
  • Identify any IEP targets / strategies for learning and behaviour
  • Consider Assessments (eg SDQ’s, Emotional Literacy, Sensory Toolkit, Boxall Profile, Communication Toolkit, Executive Functioning)
  • Pastoral Lead / SENDCo / Lead Behaviour Teacher collates the views of staff who have worked with the young person (support staff, previous class teacher etc. Use Round Robin if appropriate (p26-30)
  • Views of any other services involved
  • Evaluate results from assessments and identify areas to target
  • TAC – Complete ‘Assessment Tool’ (p17-23).
  • Identify needs in relation to training or resources eg attachment, behaviour management, ADHD
  • Further pupil views are ascertained by a familiar adult (consider Person Centred Review (PCR)
  • Structured conversation with the parents / carers (and with the young person present if appropriate) to discuss the concerns (communicative function of the behaviour)
  • Identify strategies to move forward.
  • Information gathered – move to Step 3.
  • Creation and implementation of Action Plan (AP), to include some of the following elements:
  • Use of Assessment Tool (p17-23)
  • Ideas generated by Assessments eg Boxall Profile, SDQ’s, ASET checklist, GLS Emotional Literacy Assessment, Academic data, Sensory Toolkit
  • Discuss ideas from Team Teach positive Behaviour Management approaches
  • Successes and difficulties identified from the ‘Round Robin’ (p26)
  • Information from Person Centred Review (PCR) or equivalent – ‘pupil’ & ‘parent’ voice
  • Interventions considered eg – ‘Talking and Drawing’ ‘Lego Therapy’ ‘Theraplay’
  • SMART Targets, Strategies and Resources, ADHD strategy sheet
  • Consider advice from Locality Provisions (Scunthorpe C of E or Coritani).
  • Meeting to create Individual Behaviour Plan
  • Parent and pupil involved
  • Identify a key adult who will lead on implementing Action Plan
  • Set a date to review the Action Plan.
  • Action Plan is shared with the pupil / parents / staff
  • AP is implemented over agreed time frame (notional 4-6 weeks).
  • AP is monitored through observation / staff & pupil feedback.
  • TAC Review AP
  • Parent & pupil involved
  • Concerns resolved – no further action required
  • Concern improved – maintain actions
  • Concern remains– move to Step 4.
  • Concerns ongoing after a cycle of intervention
  • Additional adult will observe the pupil
    (Pastoral Manager / SENDCo or Behaviour Lead)
  • Second TAC meeting with Parent/Carers and pupil (as appropriate)
  • Review, Revise and create 2nd AP
  • Implement new AP (notional 4-6 weeks)
  • Continue EHA
  • Identify further opportunities for support / training e.g. teacher coaching,
  • Identify SEN costs
  • Set date to Review 2nd Action Plan
  • Review 2nd Action Plan.
  • Concern resolved – no further action required
  • Concern improved, maintain current actions.
  • Takes you to step 5
  • Referral to the BST (Behaviour Support Team)
  • SENDAP EHCP Assessment
  • Families Support Services – Children’s Centre – FASST
  • School Nurse
  • TAMNET – Tuition & Medical Needs Education Team
  • Early Help Assessment (EHA)
  • Educational Psychology Service (EPS)
  • SALT (Speech & Lang)
  • Child/Adult Mental Health Service (CAMHS)
  • Other agency (determined by other assessments)

The Assessment Tool


This tool would be an appropriate first step as part of a graduated response to a newly identified need.

This tool is designed to be used by SENCOs, Pastoral Managers or Lead Behaviour Teachers to gather information around a young person where there are emerging concerns about their learning and behaviour.

It is anticipated that this document would be completed via a collaborative discussion between people who know the pupil best. It is intended to be an assessment over time and there may be a need to undertake further data collection to answer certain sections. The information can then help to determine the way forward at a meeting between staff and parents/carers.

The timescale for the completion of this assessment tool is dependent on the availability of prerequisite information such as parent and pupil views. It should take approximately 1 hour once this information has been received.  Download the Assessment Tool [DOC, 23 Kb].

Useful resources

Last modified: January 22, 2024