A Team Approach to Behaviour Management: A Training Guide for Sencos Working with Teaching Assistants


Chris Derrington & Barry Groom

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    This training guide is based on courses that the authors have developed and delivered as part of University College Northampton's programme of continued professional development for teaching assistants (TAs) and special educational needs co-ordinators (SENCOs) in Northamptonshire and surrounding authorities. The materials have been revised and updated over a number of years, largely as a result of the helpful feedback we receive from those people for whom this training is targeted – the teaching assistants and SENCOs themselves. We would like to thank these individuals for their boundless enthusiasm and dedication, which never ceases to amaze us!

    Chris Derrington would also like to acknowledge colleagues from Northamptonshire Local Education Authority including Jan Martin, Dave Stott, Alison Cuthill, Maggie Lyndsey, Tim Bunn, Judy Jennings, Clarissa Prior-Jones, Owen Walker, Mandy Owen and Marian Keenaghan for their contributions in the early stages of course development.

    Finally, the authors would like to express their sincere gratitude to colleagues at CeSNER (Centre for Special Needs Education and Research) University College Northampton for their support in this project. In particular, we would like to thank Professor Richard Rose for his continued encouragement and guidance.


    This training guide has been developed and written primarily for SENCOs in primary, secondary and special schools who manage the work of teaching assistants. It will also be of interest to other senior teachers or advisory staff who lead training in the area of behaviour management.

    There has been a substantial increase in the use of teaching assistants across all phases over recent years and although off-site training opportunities for them have steadily developed, our experience shows that it is training in behaviour management that schools and teaching assistants themselves believe to be a high priority. Special Educational Needs Co-ordinators are now becoming the lead managers of teaching assistants within their schools and are taking increasing responsibility for areas of inhouse training on special educational needs (SEN) and whole-school issues.

    This book is designed to provide a structure for the SENCO to deliver team-training sessions with their teaching assistants in the area of behaviour management. The emphasis is on a planned team approach to problem-solving and mutual support within the context of whole-school development. Each unit is designed to promote a reflective approach in understanding pupil behaviour and in the development of personal and professional skills.

    The book has been designed to provide the SENCO with all the training materials, photocopy resources, activities, tasks and discussion topics they need to deliver the programme. Each unit follows the same structure and format, and contains suggestions for further reading. In addition, each unit provides materials and ideas for follow-up work including reflective logs and planning sheets.

    The units in this training guide can be used in a flexible way and in any order of preference. Users may wish to follow the format exactly as it appears in the book or select units in a different order. The training can be delivered in small chunks (suitable for twilight sessions or team meetings) or over a longer period (for example, on staff training days).

    From our experience of delivering courses based on these materials, we have found that teaching assistants have gained considerably in confidence and knowledge, and have built a firm base for their personal and professional development in supporting the positive management of behaviour across the school.

  • Additional Resources

    Further useful information may be obtained from the following web sites and journals. (It should be noted that the views and recommendations contained in these resources are not necessarily endorsed by the authors)


    Additional Needs Net




    Anti-Bullying Network


    Antidote – Campaign for Emotional Literacy


    Association of Workers for Children with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties


    Becta Ebd Forum


    Behaviour Change Consultancy – UK


    Citizenship Foundation


    Database of initiatives for working with EBD children in the mainstream classroom


    Department for Education and Skills


    Framework for Intervention (Birmingham City Council)


    Inclusion – catalogue of resources


    Jenny Mosley's Quality Circle Time




    Kids Online


    The Mental Health Foundation


    The National Association for Special Educational Needs


    National Children's Bureau


    National Emotional Literacy Interest Group


    National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children


    The Nurture Group Network


    Self Esteem Advisory Service


    School of Emotional Literacy


    Talking Teaching – best practice forum


    TeacherNet (DfES)


    Team-Teach – training provider



    Behavioural Disorders

    Beyond Behaviour

    British Journal of Educational Psychology

    British Journal of Special Education

    Child and Adolescent Mental Health

    Educational Psychology Review

    Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties

    European Journal of Special Educational Needs

    Exceptional Children

    Focus on Exceptional Children

    International Journal of Inclusive Education

    Journal of Behavioural Education

    Journal of Educational Psychology

    Journal of Emotional and Behavioural Disorders

    Journal of Positive Behaviour Interventions

    Special Children

    Support for Learning

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    Kate WallCanterbury Christ Church University College

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    • current issues and suggestions for the future

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    Encouraging Positive Behaviour in the Early Years

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