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First draft: March 2022

Updated: August 2023

Written by: Ben Stevens, Music Director

Additional content provided by: Nyree O’Brien, Regional Manager – Dacorum and Hertfordshire Steps trainer.

Ratified by Hertfordshire Music Education Hub Forum: 12 October 2022

Next review date: August 2024

Linked HMS policies:

This behaviour policy forms part of the terms and conditions of all tuition provided by HMS staff and all service users agree to this policy by taking part in any HMS provision. Alongside this full policy, a young person specific version, developed by the HMS Young Music Leaders will be developed and displayed at music centres to ensure students are aware of these expectations.

The Hertfordshire Steps training principles that underpin this policy describe a therapeutic approach to emotional wellbeing, with an emphasis on consistency, on the teaching of internal discipline rather than imposing external discipline, and on care and control, not punishment. It uses techniques to deescalate a situation before a crisis occurs and, when a crisis does occur, it adopts techniques to reduce the risk of harm.

This policy does not replace or override a school’s existing behaviour policy. HMS staff will follow the local behaviour policy in any school where lessons take place, and to this policy in any out of school setting, often a music centre.

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This policy lays out Hertfordshire Music Service’s expectations of behaviour in all its programmes and the process for managing more challenging situations that may arise. ‘Hertfordshire Steps’ is consistent with both HCC overall emotional wellbeing and the model behaviour policy that the Local Authority offers to schools and settings. It is intended that it is used in all educational settings, including HMS tuition settings and therefore HMS has 2 Steps trainers and HMS teachers continue to attend training to become ‘Steps aware’.

The policy is underpinned by the HCC Emotional Wellbeing and Behaviour Strategy and all HMS staff are committed to following the set of principles within this document.

The purpose of the HCC Emotional Wellbeing and Behaviour Strategy is to promote a move away from traditional behaviour management approaches, which place a huge emphasis on rewards and punishments linked to behaviour, towards a more holistic, relational and universal approach, which is inclusive for all, and can benefit the whole school community.

HMS agrees that positive emotional wellbeing is an essential prerequisite to effective learning and enhances children’s outcomes. HMS also acknowledges that most children do not experience difficulties in coping in their setting or school and are able to access the educational opportunities available to them.

Poor emotional wellbeing can be demonstrated through behaviour that challenges but may also reflect challenges of communication or the frustrations faced by students with learning disabilities, autism and/or other conditions. These children must be regarded as vulnerable rather than troublesome, and all stakeholders have a duty to explore this vulnerability and provide appropriate support in a timely manner so that musical progress can be achieved. For the strategy to be effective all relevant partners and stakeholders must engage and commit to the principles underpinning the strategy. This is linked to the Steps aware training on offer from HMS.

Parents and students should be aware of their responsibilities in working with HMS to ensure all its activities are safe, rewarding and enjoyable, and that they make a positive contribution to all children and young people’s musical and social development.

As a last resort, HMS reserves the right to exclude any student from its activities in the event that its policies have not been observed with immediate effect.

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The following principles underpin the aims, expectations and processes within this policy:

  • Each child in Hertfordshire should be able to access high quality musical learning.
  • All HMS staff promote an understanding of behaviour as a communication of emotional need, encouraging a non-judgemental, curious and empathetic attitude towards behaviour from all.
  • HMS teachers and staff know their students well and this allows an informed perspective and insight into the musical learning needs of their students.
  • Early correct identification of need is crucial.
  • Staff must maintain a belief that positive change can be achieved with behaviour challenges and improvements can be secured.
  • Behaviour should be seen, explained and analysed separately from the child in order to better understand and explore what a child may be communicating. An important aim of Hertfordshire Steps is to provide opportunities to support and debrief both children and staff after a crisis.
  • Flexibility and creativity are essential to improving emotional wellbeing and there is no ‘one size fits all’ approach to personalised behaviour management.
  • Youth voice and parent/carer insight should be sought and listened to.
  • Mutual trust and shared commitment are vital to a solution focused approach.
  • This policy should be used to provide consistency and equity in behaviour management across all HMS provision.
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The aims of this policy include:

  • To ensure all children and young people in Hertfordshire can access the high quality music provision HMS provide regardless of any emotional wellbeing or behavioural difficulties they may have.
  • To enable HMS to create a truly inclusive and accessible learning environment in which students can actively participate and where emotional wellbeing can flourish.
  • Create a safe, supportive and musical environment in partnership with schools, partner organisations and music centres in which students enjoy making music together and are able to reach their full musical potential.
  • To work in partnership with parents/carers in supporting children whose emotional wellbeing is affecting their ability to engage in musical learning.
  • Ensure all HMS provision is delivered in a safe and respectful environment.
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General Conduct

Students, their family members and HMS staff will all:

  • Treat everyone with respect and kindness
  • Observe all rules and regulations that are in place for the setting in which their HMS activity takes place (e.g. a school, HMS music centre or community venue)
  • Address all teachers, adults and any peers respectfully and kindly
  • Follow instructions the first time they hear them from any adult with a responsibility for their care or safety
  • Walk quietly and sensibly in corridors
  • Ensure all litter is put in the bins provided
  • Treat all school and HMS equipment and instruments with respect and care

HMS is aware that adults sometimes cause disruptive behaviour. Any type of disruptive, abusive or other type of behaviour that HMS deems to be in contradiction to this policy will not be tolerated. HMS reserves the right to deny entry and to exclude any person, including any associated student (e.g. a child of a parent/carer) from all HMS activities in the event that this HMS behaviour policy has not been observed by any service user with immediate effect.

In Lessons

Students of any age (including adults) engaging in HMS tuition will:

  • Participate fully in the lesson activities
  • Have the correct equipment, including instrument and/or music as required by the teacher or music leader
  • Support good musical progress by behaving well and listening attentively
  • Support other students’ good musical progress by behaving well and listening attentively
  • Always try their best and ask for help when needed Parents and carers

Parents and carers will:

  • Be respectful and supportive towards all HMS staff and other students and their family members at a school, music centre or external venue
  • Share any insight or perspective into the emotional wellbeing and/or learning needs of their child
  • Ensure their child attends regularly and punctually
  • Contact the school or HMS music centre administrator as appropriate if their child cannot attend an HMS activity (lesson, ensemble or choir, holiday course, project, after school or Saturday session)
  • Make sure their child has all necessary equipment
  • Ensure that their child commits to an adequate practice routine at home, and supervise practice as required
  • Discuss the HMS behaviour expectations with their child and talk about their child’s behaviour if there is reason to do so

Teaching staff

Teaching staff will:

  • Proactively find out about, and creatively meet the unique needs and interests of their students
  • Align to the local behaviour policy in any school where lessons take place, and to this policy in any out of school setting, often a music centre
  • Provide a safe and secure learning environment
  • Plan for each lesson and have all of the necessary resources to ensure that all children are appropriately engaged
  • Recognise good behaviour and offer praise and positive reinforcement, also highlighting any particular successes to the school or music centre for further recognition
  • Use a calm, firm voice to address poor behaviour, but never shout
  • Apply any sanctions fairly and consistently, in line with this policy and the HCC Emotional Wellbeing Behaviour Strategy
  • Be responsible, alongside management and administration staff, for monitoring and moderating children’s behaviour, and for safeguarding in accordance with agreed policies and protocols
  • Approach situations openly, creatively and without prejudging what has happened

Management and Administration staff

Management and administration staff members will:

  • Ensure provision of a safe and secure learning environment
  • Communicate with students, parents and carers with respect
  • Be responsible, alongside tutors and tutor teams, for monitoring and moderating children’s behaviour, and for safeguarding in accordance with agreed policies and protocols
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Processes for dealing with behaviour concerns

Behaviour that disrupts students’ learning or musical progress

Examples include:

  • Not participating fully in the lesson or rehearsal
  • Not bringing the correct equipment to the lesson or rehearsal
  • Not listening to instructions or to other members in the group

Outcome: Students will be given de-escalation opportunities surrounding behaviour. This may include the chance to debrief with a member of staff in a way that meets their needs. HMS staff and students will work together to achieve improved outcomes. This gives them the chance to think and to plan how they could behave differently, with support from staff.

Parents/carers may be given a reminder to support their child in their learning.

Behaviour that disrupts the learning or musical progress of others

Examples include:

  • Consistent repetition of the behaviours included above
  • Distracting others in the group
  • Repeatedly talking whilst the teacher is talking
  • Being unsupportive to others in the group
  • Failing to follow a request from a member of staff

Outcome: Report to the school manager (e.g. class teacher or headteacher) or HMS manager (e.g. Regional Manager) who will speak with relevant stakeholders as appropriate before working further with the student to meet any identified emotional wellbeing need.

Although rare, a record about what happened will be made and parents or carers will be informed where this is appropriate. Students will also be asked to talk about what happened and agree what support might be needed to improve behaviour in the future. Although HMS reserves the right to restrict the student from taking part in some activities, this is not the intention of the approach.

More serious incidents

Examples include:

  • Being unkind to another member of the group or music centre
  • Damaging school or HMS property
  • Abusive and/or discriminatory language, either verbal or written to any member of staff or other service user
  • Arguing or acting disrespectfully towards a member of staff
  • Failing to follow instructions, especially those relating to health and safety, or the welfare of other students/staff at the music centre or school
  • Failure to attend sessions
  • Interfering with other people’s possessions
  • Bullying
  • Fighting

Outcome: HMS manager to formally review issues raised by HMS teacher in partnership with a school where appropriate.

If the support put in place isn’t helping a student or family member to change their behaviour, HMS may need to issue a final warning. Again, this will be recorded, and parents or carers will be informed.

Whilst it is recognised that it may, in exceptional circumstances, be necessary for HMS to permanently restrict access to HMS music provision, this decision should take account of any contributing factors that are identified after the incident has occurred. For example, where it comes to light that the pupil has suffered bereavement, has mental health, SEN or has been subject to bullying.

At this point, HMS managers may need to talk with the student and their parents or carers about other services that might be more suitable for the student’s needs.

HMS reserves the right to deny entry and to exclude any person, including any associated student (e.g. a child of a parent/carer) from all HMS activities in the event that this HMS behaviour policy has not been observed by any service user with immediate effect.