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How we support pupils with their behaviour

At Fern House School we recognise that appropriate behaviour and a calm environment is a necessary pre-requisite to effective teaching and learning. Every member of staff strives to develop the whole child/young person, including their spiritual, moral, social and cultural education. This requires us to teach an understanding of:

  • Importance of positive relationships
  • Right and wrong
  • Honesty, truth and fairness
  • Respect for others and self
  • Self-discipline and sense of responsibility

All the pupils who attend Fern House School have Social, Emotional, Mental Health (SEMH) needs. This is likely to affect all areas of their learning and functioning, including communication skills and learning the conventions of society. It is recognised that some pupils require structured support and guidance in order to enable them to live full and valued lives in spite of emotional and / or behavioural difficulties.

At Fern House School we recognise that the learning process is about the quality of relationships and that young people learn better when they have an emotional attachment to the person imparting information, knowledge or who is providing support. At Fern House we teach positive behaviours by role modelling, consistency, routines and rituals, positive phrasing, rewards and positive reinforcement, comfort and repair.


At Fern House School we have the responsibility to use consequences, which have a relation to the unhelpful behaviour and as a result help the young person learn and develop positive coping strategies / behaviour. Consequences act on internal discipline by creating a learning opportunity directly relating to the anti-social behaviour to the harm caused, that then contributes to the situation. Restorative practices form part of our consequences process.

Punishment is seen as a sanction imposed by an adult which does not have a direct relationship with the problem behaviour, as a result punishment can harden and numb the young person, sharpen the sense of alienation and strengthens the power of resistance. Punishment relies on external discipline. Punishment is not used as a sanction at Fern House School.


Our ultimate aim is for pupils to feel motivated by intrinsic feelings. This takes time so we support them to become aware of this positive feeling every time something has happened which makes them feel good. Humans are evidence seeking creatures and we must back up our praise with real life events.

Before our young people get to this, we provide positive reinforcement through rewards. We link rewards to feelings so to constantly reinforce the connection between behaviours and feelings.