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Solving challenging behaviour consistently across a trust

Find out how, with help from Scomis, Pencoys school is taking the lead in reengineering its approach to behaviour and achievement so that effective, targeted intervention strategies can now be implemented. 

Jenny Beesley, Pastoral Lead and Alex Craig, Head Teacher, Pencoys School, Crofty MAT. Jane McFall, Education & Product Specialist, Scomis

Overview – Solving challenging behaviour consistently across a trust 

Ever realised you don’t know what you don’t know, but you know there’s something missing? That’s exactly where Jenny and Alex found themselves. Pencoys School is only a small primary school, but it has challenging children with complex needs. Jenny and Alex knew that there was a problem with behaviour and achievement but despite the size of the school, were struggling to pinpoint exactly where the problem lay. 

As pastoral lead, Jenny knew what she wanted to know but was struggling to find the answers. This was largely due to the inconsistent way in which behaviour and achievement was recorded and a lack of knowledge of how the systems the school already had in place could hold the key to success. 

Find out more about the approach they took to addressing this challenge, the benefits they are experiencing and how learnings and best practice are being cascaded and shared across all schools within the trust. 

About Pencoys and Crofty MAT 

Pencoys is one of nine schools within Crofty MAT which serves the communities of Cambourne, Pool and Redruth in West Cornwall.  

By ‘working as one,’ the trust aims to create a culture of shared responsibility for all children in their schools. Sharing resources enables them to maximise opportunities, innovate and pursue equity for their learners. 

Having moved all of their schools to cloud-based SIMS with the Scomis Hosted Application Service and Scomis MIS Support, this session explores the benefits from one school’s perspective of the trusts strategy for standardisation and builds on our session ‘Working as one’ with Crofty MAT. 

Next steps

The challenge we’ve explored here with Pencoys School today, is just one example of the many ways in which Scomis can help you make more effective and efficient use of your Management Information System.  

We aim to help you exploit SIMS to its full potential to ensure that it is fully embedded across your school or multi academy trust. In doing so we help you achieve consistency of use to deliver efficiency gains, reduce staff workload, realise best value, and ultimately drive forward school improvement.  

Find out more about our services that could help you get more out of SIMS:  

For help when you need it most Scomis MIS Support Services 

Anytime, Anywhere, Any device access to SIMS in the Cloud Hosted Application Service 

Improving outcomes through reliable data insights – Managed Reporting Service 

Supporting Improved Outcomes – School Leadership Services 

Tutor-led and Self-directed Digital Learning Courses for SIMS – Training Courses 

If you’d like to find out more, please get in touch. (hyperlink to contact form). 

Other related topics 

Find out how Scomis contributed to delivering Crofty MATs “Working as One” strategy, by transferring all of the trust’s schools to cloud-based SIMS, with Scomis’ Hosted Application Service.

Further reading and reference material

To follow

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Session Transcript

Welcome back to the second part of the journey with Crofty MAT. This morning we heard how standardised management implementation systems are managed and implemented across the schools and within the Trust. They now have a safe, secure and resilient environment of the hosted applications service with Scomis. Martin spoke about how it helped to free up valuable staff time. It is enabling effective and efficient working across the schools and within the central trust team, providing a robust approach to safeguarding and business continuity. This afternoon we are to hear how Pencoys School, a school in the Crofty MAT is taking the lead to reengineer its approach to recording behaviour and achievement so it is more effective. It targets intervention strategies that can be implemented and you can hear how they approach this, the time it took and the outcomes include how learnings and best practice are to be cascaded and shared across all schools within the Trust. I would like to welcome Jenny and Alex to ScomisLive. I hope that they enjoy the session. It is a conversation about how you approach working with Scomis and my colleagues a big thank you to Alex and Jenny for taking the time to be with us this afternoon and I will do my best to smile! My first question, quite an important one is for Jenny in the main. I know the pain she was going through but can you describe and outline how achievement was recorded before you started to consider there must be a more efficient way? 

JENNY:  First we started with a book, The Red Book that we would do by hand. Each class would have a book and record. We had all sanctions in place and everybody followed that throughout but everybody had to hand write it. Then I would have a weekly meeting, a lengthy weekly meeting to put that all together to make sure that everything was being followed through, and picking up trends and needing support for a particular child having issues, so a lengthy job. It worked but it was very time consuming. Our achievements, well we were recording them on the target track and they were getting a certificate but I could not get a report of it or we could not look at it to see, there seems a lot of that but not that. So we needed to approach it in a different way for achievements. 

>>: But you didn’t know how to go about that particular moment? 

>>: Not at all. Nor to do it. 

>>: That is the thing that bolt of us were feeling. We were aware of time, how time consuming it was, and we had different systems working individually but we looked for a way to bring things tote into one system that, yes … 

>>: We moved on to Excel, yes it was quicker but obviously with Excel it goes on and on, so to get a nice report … yes, that was tricky. 

>>: So my question next, Alex, as the head teacher of a primary school, had you thought of using SIMS? 

>>: Into the all. It was strange as SIMS has been a part of school for a long time. Obviously using it in the past around attendance in particular, the main use for SIMS. But I was limited in my knowledge of what SIMS had to offer. Beyond taking a register or perhaps pulling off an attendance report for the governor’s meeting I didn’t know much beyond that. Like Jenny, we were searching around for something, a way of make things tighter, more succinct and more efficient. 

>>: To get the data you want, to use the data to make the improvements, that obviously that was a little less time consuming. 

>>: I can recall, Jenny, you contacted me in March, would you believe it?! It was to get an attendance report. 

>>: Help! That’s right. 

>>: I think I said at the time, “I think there is a much more efficient way of you getting the attendance data you want when you want it, to put it at your fingertips without relying on a report, you can have it as a visual display. 

You said, “How will I do that?” So I said let’s have an awareness session on configuring the home page. 

>>: It was the start! 

>>: There was a silence but, yes, it was how it started. 

>>: I was a little tiny bit worried! 

(Laughter) 

Not knowing it, it is quite scary. 

>>: Yes. It was only a 30-minute session on configuring the home page. You, then had a eureka moment, leading on to thinking we could do something else. Was it easy for you to configure the home page? 

>>: From not knowing anything, with your support, that changed everything. Having my home page configured with all of the information that I need and that led on to more, didn’t it. It just changed everything. It was just all right there. 

>>: I remember Jenny coming to me to say, “I’ve configured my home page on SIMS, you won’t believe it when you see it.” Then I looked at my home page and from that, the ball was rolling in terms of getting this information out to people as it would make all of our lives easier. 

>>: We focused on attendance to configure for attendance and then you came back to say, “We want to do behaviour and achievement.” 

>>: Because we could see there are other things there, thinking if there is an option for behaviour to be in there, it may be something to explore. 

>>: You were saying you wanted it all in one place. 

>>: So Jenny sorted it out! 

>>: I remember saying to you, “You can have behaviour and achievement but we have to do a bit of a process behind it first, because it is important for you to have in place your, to know what your policies are, and to make sure that the criteria to report on is a line to the policies, is that a fair comment? 

>>: Yes. 

>>: So, can you remember, Jenny, what we did first with behaviour and achievement? 

>>: The very first thing was you showed me where to go and then we made it specific for our school, didn’t we? You showed me how to change the different behaviour types and the action attendant things like that. 

How they could, how they could send it to me so that I cowl see. So, yes, it was starting with just changing it so it suited us. 

>>: Initially, I suppose it is indicative of what I thought about SMS in the first place. That I had felt it was really for secondary schools, almost. But at that stage, when we realised that a lot of the behaviour types in there, didn’t need to remain the same but could be tailored to suit the school, I thought we could make it primary friendly but specifically Pencoys School friendly. That was the thing. So where we have a focus around learning habits, or diamond rules and our celebration certificates and so on, we suddenly discovered that actually we could tailor and change the categories to suit specifically what we were doing in school. That was the first step. We spent time together really unpicking our behaviour policy, what the categories were, thinking about how we wanted it to look. 

>>: Yes. We had our sessions you showed us the things and you sent me the big hand book, good book and every now and then there was a little email! Saying … mm? And then we sorted it out so now it is tailored for us, so when the teachers use it is there for them.   It is great. That is how we started. 

>>: Picking up on that, the teachers are now using it, so it is a more efficient use of time and getting it recorded so that you have it recorded immediately and you can pick up on the trends quicker than you were before. 

I know that we started this back in March last year. I guess because we were in that state of pandemic and schools closing and having to close and absences in staff and pupils, that maybe the process took longer but it was good to be able to have that time to monitor and to review each stage, wasn’t it? 

>>: Absolutely. For me it was great having it. There was the pressure, it was off as we wanted to start it but we knew we had to learn, to develop and to change it to how we wanted it. So it gave us a window to do all of that and to slowly introduce it to the teachers. And to configure their home page, et cetera, like that, so to the September, we were ready to go for the September. So, yes, it was, it did take a little longer but I don’t think it was a particularly bad thing. The attendance was tricky, like you said with COVID and everything. 

>>: So, your target, Alex, then became September? 

>>: It did. We, I think because we were able to put the leg work in beforehand and to identify some of the things we thought were going to be stumbling blocks and to drip feed the information to staff about what we were planning for September, it gave a chance for everyone to have a little go, to not feel the threat of now we have transferred over to a new system that may or may not work and any of the pupils that we can thrash out in the early days within the summer term with niggles, then with a view to leaping into the September to remove the red books and the Excel to say: This is what we are using. As everyone had been on the journey with us, they were at a point in time to just give this a go. So, yes! 

>>: We had a session with all the teachers in the summer before, well, I did, we checked all the home pages and then we went through the whole process so right at the very end of that academic year they had the whole process going through. Even though we had a trial we went over it again so everybody was ready for September. So, yes, it definitely, it would not have taken so long if it had not been the situation that we were all in but it was quite good in the tact that it gave us a gradual approach which was better for the teachers. 

>>: Always good when you are bringing about change. 

>>: For the audience, how many classes do you have in Pencoys School? 

>>: Seven across the school. 

>>: And you were not restricting to recording and behaving achievement down to the teachers, do the teachers, the TAs do anything? 

>>: They have had the training as well. I did a session with the TAs and made a step-by-step route to do it all. Like a flow chart. So if they have not done it for a week, they can’t remember, they can grab their script and go and do it. So everybody has access to it. 

>>: Excellent! We may borrow it from you for our FAQs! 

>>: It is our work together from when you were helping me to do it! 

>>: So, all the staff that access SIMS have a home page configured that you think is really important? It is helping? 

>>: Yes. Yes. Also, when they have the information, they stopped doing so many trips to the office as some of the information that they need they can get right there, and they don’t have to go to the office to get certain information, as they have it all there about their children. So it is really useful. 

>>: Useful if another member of staff is having a conversation with a parent. Sometimes if I have a parent on the phone or a member of staff who is speaking to a parent on the phone, you can pull up the information about that child in front of you. It is all there in one place. I can see what the achievements are, what some of the behaviours have been. I don’t have to go searching for it before having the conversations. So, it is really helpful. 

 

>>: I think the clever thing about the home page is it is configured according to the user, so yours can look different to Alex and vice versa. 

>>: Yes. And it is brilliant! I’ve got all the information for everything on my home page for everybody, so even if they need it to ask me something, I can get to it really quickly and easily. 

>>: The key thing has been as the staff populate it, if they put in some behaviour or put in an achievement for a child then it sends, when they click send, they can send a message and they can choose who it goes to, so I might receive it or any other staff that needed it, that message pops up on your configured page and I can see the messages, click on them to see who has achieved this or that, or if someone has had a behaviour incident that I have to look into. It is all there in one place. 

>>: All the teacher send me the behaviour as I’m deal with that. They send you the achievements. 

>>: Yes, I get the achievements you get the behaviour. Perfect! 

>>: Something is not quite right here! 

>>: Fast forward to September, you have the implementation going, I can remember, Jenny, you contacting me to say, “I need to get the information out now.” I said but you have not put that much in to make it that realistic. So we allowed a couple of weeks. 

>>: We did. That was quite funny. Obviously, we, I don’t know why, wanted to see what a report would look like. I was jumping the gun, too keen! So, we waited and people were using it, putting it in, and then obviously … 

>>: Once populated with the data … 

>>: Then we were able to get the data from it. 

>>: We got to the point, almost at half-term and you started to notice you did have some trends? 

>>: Yes, oh, yes! And a particular year group. And a particular gender! 

(Laughter) 

 

>>: How long would that have taken you? You may have had it in your head in the past but how long would it have taken to find the evidence? 

>>: It would have taken a long time. But we knew, you would know, that there is issue but having the resource that we have now, we have the data to show that we are correct. 

But, it actually, even narrows it down even more to the fact at that that it will give us the area of behaviour, whereas before, that would take a long time to collate, whereas now, yes, we might know it was that year group, that we know it was the boys but actually, getting the area of the behaviour, it would have taken a long time. And maybe not always having the time to do that. Now … you have a graph and we know exactly what to target. 

And this information is obviously what I eventually learned, when I could get the information, it is exactly what we need to then use for class assemblies, teachers to do work with in the class, in PSHE or circle time. Also, if it is certain particular children, that is also an area where I would then see them. 

>>: So, targeted intervention can happen. So I suppose that it is all well and good having information about behaviour and achievements but it is what you do with the data. That is the bit that helped us with the most.   It is clear for us as a school, that if there is something that I needed to address as a whole school, we can identify that quickly to address it. And then echoing what Jenny said there, very much, it can be targeted to either a year group or even particular groups of children within a class and sometimes, as it is the case, one-to-one intervention or support from Jenny in her pastoral role. 

>>: Obviously our angsts that we have in place with our behaviour policy, there are certain, there is a route that we take. If one particular child has met that criteria, then they come to me and I work with them one-to-one. That is really helpful. 

Whereas before, you can imagine, I was doing it manually, counting along. Now, it is just right in front of me on the reports. 

>>: I think in one of our conversations, you noticed a vast improvement or the reduction of number of lates? 

>>: Because they know it is being recorded, and it is not in a book. It is on SIMS … that they have sat up a little bit, thinking, oh, I can’t get away with this! Yes! I think that they feel it is more official. But generally, everything’s improved, hasn’t it? Behaviour, lates, obviously attendance is still a bit tricky because of the situation. 

But definitely, it has had a very positive effect. 

>>: Yes. Definitely. 

>>: That’s good. So, by the second half of term you had done away with maintaining spreadsheets and bits of paper and different coloured books and things like that … how easy was it to get the analysis of the data out of SMS? 

>>: Once I had my training with you, and your support, which has been so, so helpful and so good, very, very patient, because unfortunately, I’m the type of person that does need to do step by step and I think whenever it is something new you do need that kind of support and your support has been amazing, that I have been able to do that and to have all of these reports at my finger tips and you have also shown me how to put some of the reports that I do very regularly in my favourites, so I don’t even have to go through the process of getting them. Obviously, I am learning more, aren’t I, as I’m still learning, I’m using the discovery bit. That has given me a wealth of information. Once you have this support and training, it is, it’s really easy and it is quite fun! 

>>: Don’t do yourself down, you trained all the staff in the school to do attendance and to configure their home pages, I only showed you and Alex how to do it. 

>>: It was really easy, wasn’t it? I can’t remember the gentleman’s name, sorry, Gary, he came and spoke with our staff. Obviously, they had been busy populating it with all the information about the children and for them there was still a feeling of … so what? Why? But they knew why we were doing it but what was the impact? Was it worthwhile to continue to do this? A useful thing was when Gary came into the school to provide the session with the staff looking at the discovery package, which is part of SIMS, if I am saying that correctly? 

>>: It is called SIMS Discover. 

>>: Once the staff could then see how the data was manipulated, how they could use it and what the trends where he is within particular classes or children and across the school, they were absolutely sold. 

That, then, it was a real motivation for them to think, this is really important. 

>>: The good thing with Gary, he is one of our School Improvement Consultants but with a wealth of knowledge and experience within the education sector, he was an Assistant Head Teacher in a secondary school. So, he is a great practitioner of SIMS and knows how to get the best out of the system for analysis. I know he enjoyed the sessions you and colleagues down at the school. I know that you enjoyed his delivery as well. So, … 

>>: It was great. He made us feel that if we had a question, there was no question that was too daft, silly or little, and also some of the things raised in the session, including us to be able to design our celebration certificates specifically for Pencoys School, away of that being a part of the process to cut down on photo copying and going backwards and forwards so we were able to send him our design of the celebration assembly and he was able to put it together for us for us to use. 

>>: That is our latest new thing. Is being able to do the certificates. 

Of 

>>: Roughly how much time would that take for the office to produce the certificates? Just curious? 

>>: Uh … it varies as you know anyone working in the office would start a job … then get taken off to do something else. But now it is the click of a button and it is done. 

So, I could not quantify the time as it can take anything from half an hour to a whole day, depending on when you start and finish and what you are caught up doing in the meantime. 

>>: For me, I personally think because of the way in which we are doing it now, that we are going to be able to monitor it. So, as I said to Alex, I don’t mean to be a bore but if we are doing lots of that one, why aren’t we doing something on that? Maybe we have to push that area. 

>>: We are celebrating one area of the school that is always the part that is celebrated or that achievement that is highlighted, so let’s have a look at another area in the school to promote or push that. 

>>: What I like, it is not just about behaviour. It is about how we are achieving, making sure that we are covering lots of different areas of achievement. So … 

>>: It is like the whole pupil. Not just little bits. You can see the whole picture, as it were. 

Those certificates are recorded or maintained in SIMS so when you look at the pupil’s record you can see what they have been getting? 

>>: Yep. 

>>: And the staff are creating the certificates? The teaching staff? 

>>: That is our new thing! 

>>: We are gradually doing that. 

>>: So I’m coming up to the last question, believe it or not, we have nearly done half an hour, so, it is a bit of a challenge but can you provide a summary, Alex and Jenny, of the key benefits you perceived for using SIMS for a good term-and-a-half, almost, to record behaviour and achievement automatically on a day-by-day basis. What do you think are the significant benefits? 

>>: The most significant is time. 

For me, the next is obviously all of the information that you gain from it. 

And the analysis that you can do. It is forensic analysis now. But not, what often comes with forensic analysis is a huge amount of time. But it slashed that amount of time to enable to us dig beneath the surface in terms of behaviour and achievement, and the impact of that is then to put it into targeted intervention really early. 

>>: It is all the information that we can gain. All the different areas to access, as in for behaviour and achievements and attendance, it is all in one area. So, we all go straight to that area. 

>>: It is good for reporting. For example to governors. Jenny has been before a governor’s meeting to print off graphs from different classes and we’ve been able to share that information which is useful for them. 

>>: It is also keeping a record of everything. So when you put it in there, and we have our information, then we have targeted that bit this time, the next time we can to this one. So we have all of that information to keep moving forward rather than repeating or that sort of thing. We keep moving. So, hopefully, targeting all areas of behaviour, all areas of achievement and being able to have the information in your hands to say “yes, we did that then”, if you know what I mean as it is there. I find that they are the most significant changes and obviously the biggest one is time, isn’t it? 

>>: Yes. 

>>: By giving you the time, Jenny, what is it freeing you up to do more importantly. 

>>: Seeing the children. I can see more children. And that’s my main role. 

It is working with children throughout the school, one-to-ones, group sessions, just, even just a quick chat but it does give you that time. So my time for this sort of thing has reduced hugely. I know can put it in a slot and the rest is for actually seeing the children, which is great. 

>>: Excellent. Moving on to the last question now. One, Crofty is passionate to work as a multi-academy Trust to improve outcomes for all the children and to have standardisation. I understand having spoken to Martin that you are now intending, Alex, to cascade the information to your colleagues, is that correct? 

>>: Yes, what has been important for us as a school and for anybody that is looking to adopt something new it was to be able to try it out for ourselves first before we start. The last thing we want to do is to get excited by or recommending something to other schools before having a go at it ourselves but certainly from our point of view having been on the journey and having implemented it since September, the next step for us is, absolutely, we feel confident and more than happy to cascade that information and share it with other schools within the Crofty MAT to say about our positive experience of this and the impact of it, what that has been. So it is not just that we had the early stages or ideas around what it looks like but we have implemented it and seeing the effects and the impacts of it, which have been positive. 

>>: Getting across how helpful it is to make it specific for your school. So it works. You can make it work, so tailored to your own school to follow all of your policies and procedures. 

>>: It is not just a package that you adopt. It is very much about an individual school. It will take time. It is not a magic wand that solves all at the touch of a button, if you are prepared to invest the time an put the stamp of your school on it, it will work brilliantly. 

>>: Also at the beginning, it was a step by step, Jenny. As long as people appreciate that there is a process to it, and they go with it, they will see the benefits at the end. 

>>: Definitely. 

>>: It is very important to get the step by steps right. To get the procedures and processes and to bring the staff with you, rather than … say this is how it will be. If you have the staff with you, it makes a huge difference. 

I would just like to say when we spoke a couple of weeks ago you gave me positive feedback about your experience, would you be prepared to share that today? 

>>: Yes! 

>>: I will read it out as you did say this: The transition in saving achievement and behaviour in SIMS went from a time-consuming manual process has been brilliant and exciting. Not many people expect a primary school to be saying that about SIMS! I think it is important that schools understand that there is a great deal of flexibility within the system. 

But they don’t necessarily know it is there as they don’t know how to get it. But because we did it over a period of time, you were able to see the benefits, and work through it, that is how you got to the phrase “brilliant and exciting! “. 

>>: Yep, I’m afraid so. It is true! I really think because of your help and support, you have been so understanding, that, it is so important as well. 

It has just been a really … it has, hasn’t it? It has been a good process. So the words, we mean it. It is great. It is really, really good. 

>>: I think you will be able to share your recording with your colleagues, Jenny, as your enthusiasm comes along and Alex, on the whole process so, when you have your head teacher’s meeting and doing this, you will value a recording to refer back to. 

>>: That will be great. 

>>: I would like to bring this to a close to say thank you to Jenny and to Alex. But we have questions coming in. We really only have time to answer one. 

The question is: How do you identify trends of behaviour now that you are using SI MS to record data? 

>>: That is using the SIMS Discovery. I say “discovery” but it is Discover. 

>>: Each of the behaviours has a particular category that we have chosen to suit the needs of our school. So we have Diamond Rules. And so on. Say for example some behaviour is category iced under swearing as an example, that will be identified as use of bad language and when you then call a look and discover … it will show you on a lovely graph the whole school. All of the incidents, of each individual behaviour. Then you can break it down to a year group. Then to gender. You can do lots and lots of things. Then it gives the information of the whole school. The individual year groups. If it is a boy thing, a girl thing. 

It gives you so much information that you then can support that class with that target. It may not be an individual, it may be a whole class. 

>>: It can be general unkindness between peers, and the other thing we did not mention is that you can assign a grading to the types of behaviour. So for example bullying is maybe 3 points because of the severity of the incidence. And at the same time you don’t have to have any points. It is up to you to decide. Then you can get a report of the children that have been recorded for behaviour and what they have done. So you can look at the individual children as well. 

>>: If there is a trend, bullying in a particular year group, cohort, key stage, then you can, in addition to what you do, provide more support, either through targeted circle time or what have you. 

>>: Or team building, social skills. Whatever. 

>>: I think you are great advocate of SIMS, very, very good! The area that we explored today is behave, recording, behaviour and achievement but I think that we picked up on other areas. Saving time. Improving how information is recorded. You and I will cascade it to your colleagues. I would like to say to the delegates watching this, if you feel that there is more information that you want to find out, please contact Scomis to see how you can get more information, better value, with better use of your SIMS and contact Scomis for further advice and please attend the Genius Bar that is going in ScomisLive. 

A very, very big thank you to Jenny and Alex. Thank you very much. Nice to see you 

>>: Nice to see you. Thank you.