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Behaviour policy
Caring together
At Ethelred Nursery School and Children’s Centre we aim to make sure that:
  • Everyone feels comfortable, confident and valued.
  • Everyone helps to look after each other.
  • Everyone helps look after the things we have at our nursery school and children’s centre.
  • Everyone respects themselves and respects other people as well.
There are important ways of behaving that will help us achieve these aims.
  • Behaving in a safe way (for yourself and others).
  • Having ownership of, and accepting responsibility for the things you do and say.
  • Behaving in a respectful way towards all others by showing that the feelings of other people count and are very important.
  • Taking care of and having responsibility for all of the things we have in the nursery including the fabric of the building, resources, equipment, displays, machines and tools.
How will this happen at Ethelred?

We will all take responsibility and work together to make sure that this policy is adhered to. Everybody - parents, staff, children, governors, other professionals, visitors and students - will need to understand which types of behaviour are acceptable, as well as the strategies used to support them. We must ensure that:

  • Children and adults are treated with sensitivity and integrity.
  • Children have the freedom to feel ‘OK’ about experimenting and making mistakes (within clearly understood boundaries).
  • Behaviour management strategies are continuously reviewed and developed to make sure that they remain effective.
  • All children are encouraged to learn about being powerful and independent people who have the right to make choices and decisions.  This includes having a developing understanding of the consequences of their own behaviour and learning to take responsibility for their own actions.
  • We involve children in creating golden rules.
  • The policy is shared with parents/carers, children, staff and other adults who work with us.
Our strategies
The role of the effective practitioner

We recognise that all children experience a variety of feelings which may cause them to be cheerful, friendly, upset, angry or aggressive.  Staff will support children through:

  • Using observation and assessment to make decisions about the environment, the curriculum, interactions and the routines in nursery that impact upon children’s behaviour.
  • Always helping the child feel in control by being calm, acknowledging feelings and facilitating independence.
  • Supporting other adults in the classroom by working as a team and sharing information strategies, words and phrases that could be useful.
  • Supporting the child by offering suitable vocabulary to articulate feelings.
  • Engaging parents and drawing on their expertise.
Active listening

Adults will:

  • Be open, approachable and give time to listen to children.
  • Accept all feelings as valid.  When children express their feelings, either verbally or non-verbally, staff will acknowledge this by using phrases such as “I can see that you feel…”
  • Use a tone of voice and body language that conveys understanding and acceptance.
  • Encourage children to solve their own problems, this may include setting limits.
  • Work with children to help them name their feelings.
Setting limits

By setting limits we tell a child:

  • That their behaviour is unacceptable and that they are expected to change it.
  • That we expect a child to act responsibly and learn to take control of their own behaviour.
  • That limits are not negotiable.

We use 5 methods for setting limits.  Staff will use their own assessment of the child and the situation to select the best method/s.  The methods are:

  1. Using “I” messages e.g. “I feel frustrated (adult’s feelings) when there’s so much noise (what’s happening).  I can’t read the story (reason).
  2. Giving information e.g. “You are making a noise. (wait)  Children sit quietly for story.”
  3. Natural and logical consequences e.g. “You are talking, ‘X’ will come and sit by you”.
  4. Contingencies e.g. “When you are quiet, I will read the story.”
  5. Making choices e.g. “You may go out from story or stay and listen quietly”.

If children refuse to change their behaviour, or are out of control, there must be a consequence.  A consequence may be to:

  • Move them to a different activity or area.
  • Remove them from the group.
  • Remove the equipment that is being used inappropriately.
  • Give them time to ‘sit apart’ in the thinking area where they remain until they are ready to take control and change their behaviour.
  • Contacting the parent and arranging a time as soon as possible for the parent, child and practitioner to talk about the situation.
Phrases we avoid and why

The following phrases can take responsibility away from the child:

  • “You need to…” (a command in disguise).
  • “You’re brilliant!”  (Be sincere and specific or praise gets boring and meaningless).
  • “Don’t, or no - avoid saying no too often and always give an explanation” (say what they should do not shouldn’t).
  • “You’re naughty” (too personal – the action is unacceptable not the person).
  • “Good boy!”  (Be specific with praise, comment on the action not the person).

Some positive phrases we could use are:-

  • “I like the way you………” (name action or behaviour).
  • “Well done for ………………..”  ( say what is being commended).
  • “Good listening or walking” etc..
Additional strategies that we use to promote appropriate behaviour
  • Ensuring all children receive positive attention every day.
  • Recognising and ‘rewarding’ the behaviour we want, at times using a daily record book.
  • Offer children the vocabulary they need to articulate their feelings and sort out problems.
  • Providing a “Thinking” area for children to reflect on their feelings and emotions.
  • Modelling language, sharing stories, using props and role play to facilitate discussion.
  • Planned therapeutic experiences, e.g. support from CAMHS or the Educational Psychologist for more entrenched behaviour issues.
  • Ask children for ideas and solutions in order to talk about the situation.
  • Individual or small group support from a Teaching Assistant.
  • Trusting children to use their abilities and skills to independently solve problems.
  • Sharing with colleagues.
  • Meeting with parents.
  • Home-school books.
  • Individual Education Plan or Behaviour Plan.
  • Advice from other professionals e.g. educational psychologist.
  • Circle time.
  • Modelling the behaviour we want.
  • Encourage and remind children before a difficult situation occurs.
  • Give notice that an activity is going to end.
  • Implementing group rules.
  • Using effective strategies for managing transition for individuals or groups.
  • Remove the child from witnesses and speak to them quietly telling them how you feel, that we do not use such words at school.
  • Offer alternative words that can be used.
  • Explain that if they continue using them they will have to ‘sit apart’ in the thinking area.
  • If the swearing continues after ‘sitting apart’ explain to the child that you will be speaking to their parents.
  • When speaking to parents do this where possible with the child present so they are both aware of your feelings.

Biting sometimes occurs and children will be taught that it is an unacceptable way of behaving.  The perpetrator will be encouraged to apologise and make amends. Sanctions should be applied as necessary, e.g. sitting apart. The hurt child will receive any necessary support, including first aid treatment and both sets of parents/carers will be informed of the incident.  Circle time activities will include discussions about biting and its effects.


Bullying is persistently hurting someone on purpose by words or actions. 

We do not allow this at Ethelred Nursery School and Children’s Centre.  All forms of bullying are unacceptable.  Staff will apply the following guidelines:

  • Help children to tell a person that they do not like what they are doing by using strong statements such as:
    • “I don’t like it”.
    • “Stop …. (whatever is happening).
    • “If you keep doing this I will tell an adult”.
  • Monitor any concerns about bullying to see if this behaviour is consistent.
  • Speak to the parents concerned to share strategies.

Please refer to our Child Protection Policy for further information on bullying.

Sharing information with parents
Before starting school
  • Our behaviour policy is shared with parents and discussed during the Home Visiting meeting.
After starting school
  • If a child’s behaviour is unacceptable,- the parent will be informed personally, or contacted by telephone or letter, by their keyworker or the Headteacher as soon as possible
  • The behaviour and possible strategies for school and home will be discussed with the parent in private.  A review time will also be arranged
  • If we are seeking further support from outside agencies e.g. the educational psychologist, parents will need to give written consent
  • If we are unable to meet the child’s needs in making progress towards developing appropriate behaviour the child’s place at the school may be withdrawn. This will be in exceptional circumstances
Sharing information with staff

If a parent or carer is concerned about an incident that a child has been involved in, they should talk to the child’s keyworker or the Headteacher so that the concern can be dealt with as soon as possible.

Extreme behaviour

Extreme behaviour will not be accepted.  What is extreme behaviour?

  • Causing serious injury to children or adults.
  • Causing serious damage to equipment.
  • Consistent unacceptable behaviour.

Sanctions for extreme behaviour

If a child displays extreme behaviour the parent will be contacted immediately.  Should this behaviour continue despite appropriate intervention and support, the child may be excluded from school for a specified period of time. Agreed strategies will be put in place to support the child on his/her return.

We are committed to working with other professionals and developing individual Behaviour Plans in order to ensure we meet the needs of children.


This will take place every half term through:

  • Observation by the Headteacher.
  • Noting the amount and frequency of unacceptable incidents.
  • Self-evaluation by staff.
  • Daily review and planning sessions.

This will be carried out at staff meetings every half term or when necessary.


This will be regular and informed by the monitoring and evaluation carried out.  All new staff as part of their induction will be given a copy of our behaviour policy and a chance to discuss it with their line manager.