Main Street, Lincoln, Lincolnshire LN2 3PF


Hackthorn Church Of England Primary School

A small traditional school with a modern outlook

Behaviour Policy




 The policy is based on the entrenched trust and respect between all members of the school community. This policy should be read in conjunction with the school policies on Anti-Bullying, Pupil Self-esteem, exclusion, safeguarding, complaints, SEND and lunchtime supervision arrangements. This policy is based on the following guidance from the Department for Education (DfE):

Behaviour and discipline in schools

Searching, screening and confiscation at school

The Equalities Act 2010

Use of reasonable force in schools

Supporting pupils with medical conditions

Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND) Code of Practice 2015

Children’s' behaviour, their attitudes and actions, can directly influence:

  • standards of achievement
  • effective learning in the classroom
  • the quality of life in school
  • the functioning of the school as an orderly community

The school aims to create an atmosphere in which pupils' behaviour contributes to these areas of school life.  Positive behaviour is seen as enhancing these areas while negative behaviour is recognised as potentially restricting them. It is recognised that are many factors, outside of a child’s control that will affect their behaviour. This policy also reflects that all children are treated as individuals.



Children should always strive to:

  • be polite to other children and adults
  • respect themselves and others
  • be kind and caring
  • follow instructions and carry out the teacher's reasonable requests
  • take care of property
  • be trusted to carry out tasks set them, where independent work is a reasonable expectation, even when the teacher is not looking over them
  • be truthful
  • not label or deride other children
  • allow other children to turn over a new leaf (forgive and reconcile)
  • treat others as they would like to be treated (Luke 6:31)
  • adhere to the values in ‘the Hackthorn way - published on school web site and brochure
  • understand what is defined as bullying (annual anti-bullying week in November)
  • treat all adult visitors/helpers with the same respect afforded to teachers


All adults will:

  • be polite and courteous to all children and other adults, setting an example of model behaviour
  • be positive
  • recognise every day as a new day – allow children a ‘clean slate’
  • listen to, encourage and value every child
  • promote the self-esteem of every child
  • if a child behaves in a negative way, let them know that it is the behaviour that is disliked, not the child
  • be consistent
  • provide a safe, secure environment where children do not feel intimidated by others
  • deal with any negative behaviour immediately
  • never offer rewards or consequences that will not be carried out
  • ensure the upset party (other child or adult concerned) is given the opportunity to explain to the person who has upset them what it is about their behaviour that has been unacceptable
  • encourage children to put themselves in the other person's shoes – to empathise
  • help children who display negative behaviour to understand why their behaviour is unacceptable in a way that is appropriate to them
  • create opportunities for children to talk about their concerns (i.e. circle time – Harley Bear - small relevant groups)
  • refer to ‘the Hackthorn way’



The school recognises its legal duty under the Equality Act 2010 to prevent pupils with a protected characteristic from being at a disadvantage. Consequently, our approach to negative and challenging behaviour may be differentiated to cater to the needs of the pupil.

The school’s Special Educational Needs Coordinator (SENDCo) will evaluate a pupil who exhibits on-going negative and/or challenging behaviour to determine whether there may be any underlying needs that are not currently being met.

Where necessary support and advice may also be sought from specialist teachers, educational psychologists, medical practitioners and/or others, to identify or support specific needs.

When acute needs are identified in a pupil, we will liaise with external agencies and plan support programmes for the child. This will be done collaboratively with parents.



Rewards are almost always more preferable to consequences.  Adults should strive to enhance the child's self-esteem through praise and encouragement for actions that are commendable.  Children should be reminded of the school's high expectations on a regular basis.  Issues should be raised and reinforced in assembly and PSHE.

When a child's behaviour is considered unacceptable, they should be reminded of what our expectations are and made to amend the situation, with adult support if necessary.  This could take the form of a verbal apology, looking after the injured party or other restorative approach.  If the action is more severe, children should be made aware of the consequences for the injured party of their action.  This could entail the writing of a letter of apology to the injured party, for example.

In the case of disagreements between children during playtime, where both parties are upset and angry, the situation must be resolved and children must acknowledge how they will peaceably spend the remainder of their playtime.  They must do this before they are allowed to leave the supervising adult's presence if a minor upset is not to escalate. Staff will support a restorative approach to these situations.

Negative behaviour could result in the loss of privileges (playtime etc.) - these will vary according to the nature of the incident, the individual children involved and the level of hurt caused. All consequences will be considered on an individual basis and what may be right for one child, will not necessarily be for another.  Children could be asked to reflect on the situation and supported to decide what consequence would be appropriate.

In the case of persistent negative or challenging behaviour, the child's parents should be notified of our concerns and an individual home/school support plan will be created.  If the desired change in behaviour is not achieved as a result of this process or where a child's behaviour is felt to endanger other children or seriously affect the educational standards of themselves or others, a referral to the Lincolnshire Behaviour Support Service (BOSS) will be made.



Initially teachers discuss issues/concerns in a low-key manner with parents by phone or in person.  This discussion will be useful in gaining additional information such as any recent changes at home or in the child’s out of school life.

If concerns continue or escalate, a formal appointment will be made to discuss possible resolutions, inform parents of support available. This could be with the class teacher, SENDCo or Headteacher.



Key Points:

  • Teachers have statutory authority to discipline pupils whose behaviour is unacceptable, who break the school rules or who fail to follow a reasonable instruction (Section 91 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006).
  • The power also applies to all paid staff (unless the head teacher says otherwise) with responsibility for pupils, such as teaching assistants.
  • Teachers can discipline pupils at any time the pupil is in school or elsewhere under the charge of a teacher, including on school visits.
  • Teachers can also discipline pupils for negative behaviour outside school.
  • Teachers can confiscate pupils’ property.

To be lawful, the consequence must satisfy the following three conditions:

  1. The decision to punish a pupil must be made by a paid member of school staff or a member of staff authorised by the head teacher;
  2. The decision to punish the pupil and the consequence itself must be made on the school premises or while the pupil is under the charge of the member of staff; and
  3. It must not breach any other legislation (for example in respect of disability, Special Educational Needs, race and other equalities and human rights) and it must be reasonable in all the circumstances.

A consequence must be reasonable.  In determining whether a consequence is reasonable, section 91 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 says the penalty must be proportionate in the circumstances and that account must be taken of the pupil’s age, any special educational needs or disability they may have, and any religious requirements affecting them.

The teacher may discipline a pupil for any negative behaviour when the child is:

  • taking part in any school-organised or school-related activity or
  • travelling to or from school or
  • wearing school uniform or
  • in some other way identifiable as a pupil at the school.

…or for negative behaviour at any time, whether or not the conditions above apply, that:

  • could have repercussions for the orderly running of the school or
  • poses a threat to another pupil or member of the public or
  • could adversely affect the reputation of the school.


Confiscation of Inappropriate Items

There are two sets of legal provisions which enable school staff to confiscate items from pupils:

  1. The general power to discipline enables a member of staff to confiscate, retain or dispose of a pupil’s property as a consequence and protects them from liability for damage to, or loss of, any confiscated items. It will be usual procedure in our school to return the property to the pupil or return it to the parent of the pupil with an explanation as to why it was confiscated.  (The legislation does not describe what must be done with the confiscated item but that the school behaviour policy may set this out).
  2. Power to search without consent for weapons, knives, alcohol, illegal drugs and stolen items. Legislation sets out what must be done with prohibited items found as a result of a search.

The Head teacher or a member of school staff and authorised by the Headteacher may carry out a search if there are reasonable grounds for suspecting that a pupil is in possession of a prohibited item under the following rules:

  • the searcher must be the same sex as the pupil being searched (where possible); and
  • there must be a witness (also a staff member) and, if at all possible, they should be the same gender as the pupil being searched.


Extent of the search – clothes, possessions, desks and lockers

What the Law Says

The person conducting the search may not require the pupil to remove any clothing other than outer clothing.  ‘Outer clothing’ means clothing that is not worn next to the skin or immediately over a garment that is being worn as underwear but ‘outer clothing’ includes hats; shoes; boots; gloves and scarves.

‘Possessions’ means any goods over which the pupil has or appears to have control - this includes desks, lockers and bags.  A pupil’s possessions can only be searched in the presence of the pupil and another member of staff.

Lockers and Desks

Under common law powers, schools are able to search lockers and desks for any item provided the pupil agrees.  It is a condition of having a desk (KS2) that the pupil consents to have these searched for any item whether or not the pupil is present.

If a pupil does not consent to a search, then it is possible to conduct a search without consent but only for the “prohibited items” listed above.

The power to seize and confiscate items - general

Schools’ general power to discipline, as set out in Section 91 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006, enables a member of staff to confiscate, retain or dispose of a pupil’s property as a disciplinary penalty, where reasonable to do so.

  • The member of staff can use their discretion to confiscate, retain and/or destroy any item found as a result of a ‘with consent’ search so long as it is reasonable in the circumstances. Where any article is thought to be a weapon it must be passed to the police.
  • Staff have a defence to any complaint or other action brought against them. The law protects members of staff from liability in any proceedings brought against them for any loss of, or damage to, any item they have confiscated, provided they acted lawfully.

Items found as a result of a ‘without consent’ search

What the Law Says

  • A person carrying out a search can seize anything they have reasonable grounds for suspecting is a prohibited item (that is a weapon/knife; alcohol; illegal drugs or stolen items) or is evidence in relation to an offence.
  • Where a person conducting a search finds alcohol, they may retain or dispose of it.
  • Where they find controlled drugs, these must be delivered to the police as soon as possible unless there is a good reason not to do so - in which case the drugs must be disposed of.
  • Where they find other substances which are not believed to be controlled drugs these can be confiscated where a teacher believes them to be harmful or detrimental to good order and discipline. This would include, for example, so called ‘legal highs’.  Where staff suspect a substance may be controlled they should treat them as controlled drugs as outlined above.
  • Where they find stolen items, these must be delivered to the police unless there is a good reason not to do so - in which case the stolen item should be returned to the owner. These stolen items may be retained or disposed of if returning them to their owner is not practicable.
  • In determining what is a “good reason” for not delivering controlled drugs or stolen items to the police the member of staff must have regard to guidance issued by the Secretary of State.
  • Any weapons or items which are evidence of an offence must be passed to the police as soon as possible.
  • It is up to teachers to decide whether there is a good reason not to deliver stolen items or controlled drugs to the police.

With regard to stolen items, it would not be reasonable or desirable to involve the police in dealing with low value items such as pencil cases.  However, we may judge it appropriate to contact the police if the items are valuable (iPods/laptops) or illegal (alcohol/fireworks).

Weapons and knives must always be handed over to the police otherwise it is for the teacher to decide when and if to return a confiscated item.

Telling parents and dealing with complaints

Schools are not required to inform parents before a search takes place or to seek their consent to search their child.

  • There is no legal requirement to make or keep a record of a search.
  • Schools should inform the individual pupil’s parents or guardians where alcohol, illegal drugs or potentially harmful substances are found, though there is no legal requirement to do so.
  • Complaints about searching should be dealt with through the normal school complaints procedure.

Use of force to control or restrain pupils

There is no legal definition of 'reasonable force' - adults should only use any degree of force in those situations which clearly cannot be resolved otherwise.  Force should only be used as a last resort.  Common sense and professional judgement should be applied to each set of individual circumstances.

Reasonable force may be used by authorised staff (teachers and midday supervisors) in situations described in these three broad categories:

  • where action is necessary in self-defence or because there is an imminent risk of injury (pupil attacking other pupils or staff, fighting, pupil causing risk or injury by rough play etc.)
  • where there is a developing risk of injury, or significant damage to property (pupil engaged in deliberate damage to property, pupil causing risk or injury by rough play etc.)
  • where a pupil is behaving in a way that is compromising good order and discipline (pupil persistently refuses to obey an order, pupil is behaving in a way this is seriously disrupting a lesson/playtime)

Physical intervention can take several forms: blocking a pupil's path, holding, leading by the arm, shepherding a pupil away by placing hand in centre of back etc.  Physical intervention should not be in a form that might reasonably be expected to cause injury.

If there is a pupil on roll who is likely to pose a significant physical threat, staff will receive specific training to ensure the latest up to date methods and legal positions are known and understood.

Other physical contact

Teachers should use their professional judgement if making physical contact with any pupil i.e. support in PE, demonstrating techniques, giving praise or prompts, comforting pupils in distress etc.  This kind of support is appropriate within the ethos of a caring school however adults should follow all the safeguarding procedures within our safeguarding and child protection policies.

Examples of where touching a pupil might be proper or necessary:

  • Holding the hand of the child at the front/back of the line when going to assembly or when walking together around the school;
  • When comforting a distressed pupil;
  • When a pupil is being congratulated or praised;
  • To demonstrate how to use a musical instrument;
  • To demonstrate exercises or techniques during PE lessons or sports coaching;
  • To give first aid.

Malicious accusations against school staff

Disciplinary action will be taken against pupils who are found to have made malicious accusations against school staff.  The level of disciplinary action will be determined by the intensity of the individual case which could range from an appropriate apology to exclusion.


Record keeping aspects

Where a situation, requiring more than 'minor' or relatively 'trivial' intervention, has occurred, the incident should be recorded in the incident book - names of those involved, reason for force to be necessary, how the incident progressed, pupil’s response and outcome, details of any injury to any participant (including staff).


Sudden changes in a child’s behaviour

Teachers should also note any significant change in a pupil's behaviour patterns particularly any sudden and marked deterioration in behaviour.  This should be shared with the school safeguarding lead (DSL)

Legislative Links


Policy Last Updated:  Sept 2022