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Relational Approach

The Hill View School Relational Behaviour Approach fosters a shift from reward-and-punishment systems to building positive relationships that benefit everyone in our school community. Hill View School incorporates Attachment Aware and Trauma Responsive principles ensuring that our Relational Behaviour Policy translates into whole school practice.


Hill View School Ethos and Approach to behaviour;

  • Being ‘fair’ is not about everyone getting the same (equality) but about everyone getting what they need (equity).
  • Behaviour is a form of communication. Understanding this, helps to promote a shift towards viewing behaviour as a communication of an emotional need (whether conscious or unconscious), and responding accordingly.
  • Taking a non-judgmental, curious and empathic attitude towards behaviour. We encourage all adults at Hill View School to respond in a way that focuses on the feelings and emotions that might drive certain behaviour, rather than the behaviour itself.
  • Learners that communicate through challenging behaviour need to be regarded as vulnerable rather than troublesome, and we all have a duty to explore this vulnerability and provide appropriate support.
  • Putting relationships first. Hill View School’s ethos promotes strong relationships between staff, learners and their parent carers.
  • Maintaining clear boundaries and expectations around behaviour. Changing how we respond to behaviour does not mean having no expectations, routines or structure, but rather creating an educational environment that helps learners feel safe. This means that their educational environment needs to be high in both nurture and structure. Learners need predictable routines, expectations and responses to behaviour. These must be in place and modelled appropriately, within the context of a safe and caring school environment.
  • Not all behaviours are a matter of ‘choice’ and not all factors linked to the behaviour of learners are within their control. Therefore, the language of choice (e.g. ‘good choice/bad choice’) is not always helpful. Making a ‘positive choice’ usually requires being in a calm or ‘thoughtful’ frame of mind to do so. ‘Bad choices’ (i.e. often meaning ‘inappropriate behaviours’) are usually the result of feeling very emotionally dysregulated – i.e. a signal of ‘flipping your lid’. With support to co and self-regulate, learners (and adults) can be helped to behave in more socially acceptable/appropriate ways and to make better ‘choices’.
  • Behaviour must always be viewed systemically and within the context of important relationships (i.e. a relational communication pattern rather than an internal problem).
  • Encouraging parent carer engagement and involvement is absolutely crucial when addressing and planning support for learners.