Behaviour Policy


We have high expectations of everybody's behaviour at Spencer Nursery School, including all adults. Our aim is to promote and encourage a positive attitude to self-discipline in everyone, however young. We aim to encourage everyone to be aware of the consequences of their own actions and/or words on others and to understand the difference between acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and to act appropriately, with or without support.


At Spencer we want to ensure that:

  • Parents/carers are familiar with the Positive Behaviour Policy by giving them a copy of the document when their child starts at the school. We also ask that they support our approach at home and at school. This agreement is recorded as part of the Parents Contract that each family receive on admission to the school.
  • Parents/carers, along with all staff, governors and other adults, will adhere to and positively reflect this policy, at all times.
  • Children are encouraged and supported to explain reasons for their actions.
  • Any reprimands or sanctions given to a child will be explained by an adult.
  • A classroom and outside environment code is introduced/reiterated, following each new intake of children, by all members of staff, based on this policy.
  • Wherever possible adults use the same language to deal with behaviour issues.


  • A copy of this policy will be given to all new parents/carers with the Information Pack before their child is admitted to the school. Parents/carers will be asked to agree to the implementation of this policy to support their child's behaviour and development whilst they are at the school.
  • All staff will support children who are having difficulties with aspects of their behaviour and will work in partnership with parents, to support this at home.
  • Reward systems such as star charts/stickers/bubble comments will be organised to provide a positive support for children who are having difficulties and will also be used as a reward for good behaviour, children's support of each other or good work.
  • As often as possible, staff will acknowledge positive displays of acceptable behaviour by children and hold them up to be an example for other children to copy.


The school expects the following points to be adhered to by all adults including staff, parents, carers, families.

We expect all adults to:

  • Behave in an appropriate, acceptable and respectful manner towards children, parents and other adults in the setting.
  • Use acceptable language and tone when speaking to or in front of children, parents or other members of staff at the school.
  • Respect our codes of practice when on school premises, especially when dealing with conflict or difficult situations.


Positive behaviour is supported by all adults, through encouraging children to:

  • Respond positively to and follow instructions and requests from adults in school.
  • Respond in a positive, appropriate way to "good looking", "good sitting", "good listening" and "show me your hands".
  • Say 'good morning', 'please', 'thank you', 'excuse me', and 'sorry' and use language that is polite and respectful.
  • Be able to say assertively, "Please don't do that, I don't like it", to any child who is showing them any form of unacceptable behaviour.
  • Use "timers" to encourage turn taking and sharing/co-operation with other children.
  • Show respect and consideration for others and their property, work, activities and personal space.
  • Show respect and consideration for others by the way they treat them and speak to them.
  • Show empathy towards others, particularly those with additional needs or differences.
  • Understand an adult's use of "stop and No", accompanied by the 'sign' for stop and No in response to unacceptable behaviour.
  • Show friendship toward others.
  • Listen to others, including their peers.
  • Celebrate other children's achievements and value their effort.
  • Tidy up after them selves.
  • Take responsibility for their belongings.
  • Be honest and truthful and able to accept blame with or without support.
  • Behave at meal times as they would at other times of the day.
  • Be able to say sorry and be prepared to make amends.


Unacceptable behaviour is any behaviour, which involves:

  • Inappropriate attention seeking
  • Constant interrupting
  • Disregard for other children's feelings or belongings
  • Causing a disturbance by irritating others
  • Using unacceptable language or encouraging others to do so
  • Spitting or biting
  • Refusing to comply with reasonable requests
  • Physical harm or abuse of self or others
  • Inappropriate behaviour in the bathroom area
  • Telling a deliberate lie
  • Drawing on walls/furniture/carpet/equipment
  • Playing unsuitable rough games


Everyone can show positive reinforcement of acceptable behaviour through:

  • Praise - when acceptable behaviour is noticed.
  • Use of the faces chart, stickers, star charts etc
  • Praising the child to the parent/carer/family.
  • Praising the child's positive behaviour in front of others.
  • Sharing work achieved with another child, adult or parent/carer.


How unacceptable behaviour is dealt with by the school

All adults at the school understand and will comply with the following points in respect of supporting children to behave in an acceptable way whilst at school:

  • Adults will always listen, take seriously and act on what children have to say.
  • They will be consistent and fair with all children.
  • They will ensure that comments made to and about children, are considered and the language used, is appropriate and supportive.
  • "Time out" will only be used as a sanction with children over 2 years of age if 3 warnings have not had the desired effect of changing the behaviour together with use of the faces chart. Time out is age appropriate, one minute per the age of the child.


Two Year Olds

For children aged two years of age and under, if a child has demonstrated unacceptable behaviour, an adult will talk to the child about what has happened and what they need to do to change the behaviour. They will then be supported to join their peers within the group. Children should be encouraged to say they are "sorry" when they have done something that is unacceptable, but under no circumstances must they be made to say "sorry", if they are not able to do this when asked. Incidents of poor behaviour will only be reported to parents if the child has hurt another child/adult or the child has not responded to these sanctions. In this case, a written record of the incident will be provided for parents that the parent will be asked to sign (signed copy retained by the unit).


Three Years and Over

For 3 year olds the staff will use the faces chart first with the child to try and support a change in behaviour. If the child's face has moved on to the sad face they will be supported to try to move back up the chart - to the happy face - by showing "acceptable" behaviour. If the faces chart has been unsuccessful, a 3 minute timer will be used as a last resort following use of the faces chart. They will then be supported to understand why their behaviour is unacceptable and how they need to change this. They will then be supported to join their peers within the group. Children should be encouraged to say they are "sorry" when they have done something that is unacceptable, but under no circumstances must they be made to say "sorry", if they are not able to do this when asked. Incidents of poor behaviour will only be reported to parents if the child has hurt another child as a result or the child has not responded to these sanctions. A written record of the incident will be provided for parents that the parent will be asked to sign (signed copy retained by the unit).

  • If necessary, a behaviour action plan will be put in place and will be monitored by everyone involved on a regular basis. The child will be involved at this stage if appropriate.
  • The behaviour and not the child will be seen as negative.
  • Adults will ensure that there is consistency of approach and that the children know that all adults in the setting will do the same.
  • Any incident, which is racially motivated, will be dealt with according to guidance within the 'Racial Equalities Policy'.


Use of physical intervention/positive handling

  • Under no circumstances should the use of corporal punishment/negative handling be used by any member of staff against a pupil - this is an offence.However, with reference to the guidance in Section 550A of the Education Act, 1996 in certain circumstances, necessary physical intervention may be used as a control or restraint to prevent a child from hurting themselves or others or causing damage to property.
  • Appropriate action will be taken if it is deemed necessary. If a child is pulling away they will be allowed to fall in a controlled way.
  • When deemed to be appropriate the child will be carried to a place of safety if this is necessary to their well being or to the well being of others.
  • A child who is upset will be cuddled and comforted, if they normally respond positively to this action. However, children over 3 will not be carried by an adult unless they have hurt themselves and are unable to walk.
  • An adult will talk to a child who prefers no physical contact, until they regain their composure.
  • If the child becomes hysterical the adult may need to use their voice firmly to give instructions to the child - "Stop and No" with their name. At no time will the adult shout at the child.
  • Any incident involving the use of physical restraint will be recorded in the confidential book, which is kept in the office, using the Physical Restraint form.
  • The incident will be reported to parents/carers as a note (classroom accident book), which details the incident and the outcome of the incident and will be signed and dated by the member of staff involved. The parent/carer will also be asked to sign the note in the book to ensure the school has a copy.
  • All incidents will be immediately reported to the head teacher or in her absence the Bursar.


Use of the Positive Behaviour Chart/s Under Two's

  • For any child requiring additional support with their behaviour visual behaviour charts will be used with individual children to reinforce acceptable behaviour displayed by the child.
  • In all circumstances this has to be undertaken in partnership with the child's family so that this can be used at home as well as in the setting and managed in an agreed way.
  • The chart can be designed using a character chosen by the child (see Sandra for help with this) and stickers of the character printed off on adhesive paper for use as rewards.
  • The award for good behaviour is agreed with the family as should be in the form of an extra story at bedtime, a visit to the park, playing football with the child, making cakes etc. It should not involve money - buying a new toy, clothes or food treats.
  • Any example of positive behaviour/achievement can be rewarded by bringing the child to the office to receive a head teacher's sticker, including toileting achievements, getting rid of bottles, dummies etc, walking unaided etc.


Three to Four Year Olds

  • All children will be introduced to the Positive Behaviour Faces which are displayed on the wall in the classroom in the carpeted area. As children are admitted to the school the office will supply a small photograph that is to be used with the Faces Charts.
  • The Chart consists of 3 faces; a happy face, a sad face and a sad face with tears.
  • All children start their day on the happy face. Any infringement of accepted behaviour (being kind and helpful, being polite, looking-after each other and equipment/spaces) may mean that the child's photo is moved to the next face down. Staff will warn a child first that this may happen and then if the behaviour is repeated, the child's photo will be moved down. Any movement of the child's face will be clearly explained by the adult to the child in a calm way, including an explanation of how they can move back to the happy face.
  • Behaviour that includes hurting others by biting, kicking, hitting, Pushing-over etc or damaging property will instantly mean a move to the crying face.
  • Arriving on the crying face will always trigger "time out" which is referred to by staff as "Thinking Time", as the expectation is that the child will sit with a timer (1 or 3 minute depending on their age) and think about what they have done and how they can put this right. The child is supported by an adult at the end of their thinking time to talk about what has happened and how they are going to make this right. They are told that the adults will watch them and if their behaviour improves then their photo will be moved back to the happy face.
  • Any child whose photo is moved will be supported by all adults to get back to the happy face as soon as possible by spotting good behaviour and by having this clearly explained before the photo is moved back.