Sunday 7 November 2021

Behaviour Management

Tēnā koutou to the significant number of staff members, board members, and parents and whānau who contributed to this term's behaviour management review. It's clear that school communities feel a shared responsibility to ensure a safe and supportive school environment. Your feedback shows the commitment to this outcome, and the importance of working collaboratively to maintain it.

This term’s review focussed on behaviour management, as well as subtopics covering school values, stand-down and suspension, and bullying. As subject matter that strongly impacts the school experience, we hoped to integrate as much community feedback as possible. The team was tasked with reflecting a range of approaches that schools take towards behaviour management. We also aimed to address how these topics reflect an evolving educational environment.

In writing policies to suit a range of schools, our aim is to provide a sound framework while encouraging school-specific detail. Behaviour management feedback showed us schools want to see more detail about their processes. Because of this, we’ve emphasised areas where schools can tell us about their approach, with a reminder to provide us with an up-to-date behaviour plan. Feedback shows that schools are taking up innovative approaches to conflict resolution, acknowledging the impact on all parties, and integrating their values throughout the behaviour management process. If there’s further detail you’d like to see included in your policies, let us know.

Reviewers noted the line between behaviour management and school values is not always defined. We’ve updated our school values content to show how schools can outline their guiding principles or provide a mission statement. We’ve updated our sample wording to be more widely applicable, but we encourage schools to check how their content aligns with current values. Schools can tell us how their values form a part of their behaviour management plan. We’ve seen that schools are weaving these approaches together to support a more cohesive strategy.

A major change that we’ve made is integrating our cyberbullying subtopic into a comprehensive bullying topic. Reviewers noted that online bullying is one of the most important formats to consider when talking about bullying in today’s world. Many of the prevention and response strategies for online bullying apply to a range of other types as well. Prevention is central to many schools’ approaches, and forms part of the main goal voiced by many of our reviewers – to create a safe, positive, proactive learning environment. 

Topics that we’re removing as part of this review are no longer aligned with the process that most schools describe. Our older topics of Formal Discipline Plan and School Rules take a prescriptive approach that no longer suits the majority of schools. We’re also reviewing terminology throughout SchoolDocs sites to ensure we comply with Ministry guidance concerning school rules. School boards are now required to consult with their school communities (with sampling at the discretion of the board) when making bylaws. This applies to making new school rules and updating pre-existing rules. We’ll continue to consider this in future. In the past, we’ve asked if schools would like to remove School Rules and Formal Discipline Plan topics from their sites, and we’ll be removing them by default from the small number of school sites where they remain.

Read through our changes to the behaviour management section on the Demo site. Thank you for your feedback, and for helping us make policies more sound for all schools.