BEd (Hons) Primary – Yr3 Extended Project
PROJECT PROPOSAL (Part A)
Use Part A to demonstrate that you have considered the necessary issues under each section to ensure a robust and ethical project.
Student Name: Jessica
A study of current and potential behaviour support systems and its relationship to supporting positive relationships and progress for neurodivergent children.
Positive relationships in school are about individuals accepting and having respect for one another. The latest Ofsted report for the focus school highlighted the importance of relationships between staff and students as a quality the school held. I believe that it is vital to find out whether what I do as an education practitioner makes a positive difference for children and their learning and progression. Much of the research suggests that managing behaviour is a widely discussed topic. Every school has a behaviour policy and these vary from school to school. However, from my experience, working in several schools since 2014 in Worcester, Devon and Cornwall, and from talking to various educational professionals, something that seems to appear consistent amongst the majority of schools in regard to “managing” behaviour in the classroom and around school is the use of extrinsic rewards, sanctions and the use of public behaviour tools. In the 2021 Ofsted report for the school, the school were rated as ‘outstanding’ in “personal development, behaviour and welfare”. Pupils expressed that they felt the teachers understand them more than in previous schools. The school records show that children rarely miss a day of school and that having highly positive relationships with the children enables staff to support behaviour effectively. The DfE (2017) ran a small-scale case study, findings suggested that schools that spent more time understanding children’s triggers were better able to support the children. This was found to be particularly common when supporting children with SEN, however, easily transferable to mainstream. Conversely, the behaviour policy from the school, and observations, have shown that the school and staff rely heavily on extrinsic motivators such as rewards and sanctions to ‘manage’ behaviour. The well-respected, Jen Foster, who is a well respected teacher,proclaimed passionate educator,with 40.2k followers on Instagram and founder of her own research-based educational training program and behaviour approach,suggests that sanctions and rewards may be more damaging to the relationships in the classroom. One challenge the 2017 report found, is that strategies that included unpicking children’s triggers, whilst are effective, required higher staff ratios and more time. At the school, there are 46 members of staff for 36 pupils.
This study looks at the process of implementing a therapeutic and supportive behaviour approach in one small SEN school, and is part of a review of professional practice in the school following an inspection by the Office for Standards in Education (OFSTED) in September 2021. The school has only been open for just over a year and is very much in it’s development stages. Children who join the school often present as very scared and this can show in a variety of ways. Many of our children have barriers to learning that are potentially caused by their various diagnosis , these include but are not limited to autism, adhd, and anxiety. The lasted Ofsted report was rated overall as good, with behaviour achieving good rating. Despite this, since I’ve began working at the school I have observed “behaviour management” that I tentatively believe may impede on the pupil’s progress and building positive relationships and respect within the school. The report in September 2021 found that “pupils’ attendance, behaviour and attitudes to learning begin to improve once they join” however, at the end of the last half term, the staff were informed that the had been over £10,000 worth of damages to the school including broken technology, books and the physical appearance of the school damaged. I am also aware that there have been several serious injuries from students to staff, including a broken nose and other broken bones. Since, I’ve had several informal conversations with various members of staff, including two members of the SLT, the EP’s at the school and various teachers, it’s been identified that behaviour support needs to be improved and it may be the case that rewards and sanctions are less likely to support children’s behaviour than emotional coaching . The post-OFSTED action plan included that the school’s outstanding contribution to pupils’ personal development is built upon secure, trusting relationships with staff. This article reviews if sanction and rewards supports this process.
Research Question: What is the question that lies at the heart of your investigation? This overarching research question will help you maintain a clear focus throughout your project.
What does the current literature say about supporting behaviour, particularly behaviour models.
How is this and could this be applied in the case study school to achieve “best practice”.
Questions that ill break down my research:
How can we improve behaviour in school, whilst promoting pupil autonomy and student-teacher relationships?
Does the credit system support good choices and student teacher relationships?
In a school where the model is based on class sizes of 6 pupils, with at least two trained teaching assistants. What the benefit and risks are to students of a behaviour management system that publicly rewards and sanctions pupils. Themes included shame, pupil autonomy. motivators, risk and benefit.
What strategies of behaviour support do teachers within the school engage in?
How far and in what ways would the implementation of a staff development programme influence attitudes to using or alternative methods to supporting behaviour (rather than extrinsic sanction and rewards)?
How far and in what ways would the implementation of a staff development programme influence the practice of emotional coaching to support behaviour and positive relationships ?
Methodology/Research Design: How are you going to try and answer your research question? Which of the main research design frames will you use to help guide you? (e.g. literature review, case study, action research, lesson study, ethnography?)
This will be a small scale, time-limited piece of research. The research will include a review of the current literature specifically surrounding past, present and potential behaviour support models and there relation to neurodivergent pupils. The researcher’s own professional experiences supporting children and with their communication challenges/ behaviour . It will compare and contrast behaviour policies and involve a review of the current literature surrounding behaviour. In addition to collecting a representation from the staff and students.
Data Generating: Thinking about the time and resources available to you what methods/research tools will you use to generate data? (e.g. interviews, focus groups, diaries, questionnaires, observations or texts?)
December 6th send letter/ email to the head/ SLT requesting permission guidance and support with the study.
December 7th write up observations of the credit system being used
December 8th Follow up email for permissions (if needed).
December 9th send out questionnaire to staff and students.
December 10th Compare and contrast behaviour policy of the school with another
December 14th interview EP, SLT, teacher and student
December 16th begin literature review (see book marked policy’s and research papers)
December 17th Chase up and remind staff of questionnaires.
December 20th questionnaire deadline.
Project Management: Make a plan here as to how you are going to timescale the different elements of your project (including for example when will you undertake data gathering, analysis and writing up your project). Be aware of other commitments alongside your Extended Project, is your time plan realistic?
Background reading to inform my project – Make notes on reading a key pieces of literature November/December
Project proposal and development of questionnaires and interview questions – 8th December
Data Gathering – December 16th
Write Up of Research Project – From December 20th
2022 Project Due – Mid January.
Submission mode: In the light of the nature of your project how are you going to present your work? (e.g. research project report, literature based essay or exhibition with commentary?).
I will present my work as a written research project report.
Module requirement: You should email completed Parts A and B to your project supervisor by Thursday 29th October – do not upload this to Moodle. You will receive formative feedback (not a summative mark) to support you as you develop your proposal during the year into a completed project to submit in the summer term.
ETHICS PROPOSAL (Part B)
Use Part B to demonstrate that you have understood the importance of maintaining an ethical approach to your project.
Your supervisor must sign-off Part B of this form before you begin any work with participants that you intend to include as data with your Extended Project.
Informed Consent: How will you ensure that your participants are aware of what they are agreeing to? Your project supervisor will need to see your letters to gatekeepers, consent forms, etc.
Before undertaking research in the school I shall send an email with a letter attached to headteacher requesting her permission to carry out research in the school.
I will also set up a meeting with members on SLT to discuss the research project.
Openness and Honesty: How will you maintain a transparent approach when working with your participants? Your project supervisor will need to see your research brief for participants, etc.
My project supervisor will see the research brief before I conduct research. I will maintain a constant dialogue with staff at the school regarding the project. Particularly the senior leadership team and educational psychologists.
I also intend to continue to re-share views that are aligned with educational morals and ethics my own on social media (of which over half of the school staff follow).
Protection from Harm: How will you reassure your participants that they will not be subject to any risk of physical, emotional or psychological harm? What steps will you take to address any risks?
For this study I do not plan to change anything that the children do not currently already do at the school. I shall will continue my work as a TA which may form participation bias to my research however risk due to my research directly is very low as data will be collected without change to the day.
However, as most of the children have been through trauma, and all children have a social, emotional, mental health or communication need, to ensure participants are not exposed to any risk of physical, emotional or psychological harm I shall be aware and therefor I shall use “the pupil voice” data previously collected by the welfare department as part of the schools separate research to support the ongoing wellbeing of the children.
I’ll will also collect the views of the student through observation.
I’ll seek support and guidance from the Educational Psychologists who I work closely with within the school..
Participants of all ages are aware that they have the right to withdraw and have breaks at all time. They will also be encouraged to have a trusted companion if they wish.
Reflective practice and conversations about how we can improve the wellbeing and education of the children is encouraged within the school and amongst school staff. Every day the school meet in the morning and at 3pm to discuss any safe guarding concerns, negative behaviours (sleuths), positive behaviours, pupil progress and more. Each week on a Friday the school has a whole school assembly where the pupils behaviour is rewarded via an assembly which celebrates all the success in the school. Children are recognised through certificates for subjects English (reading) and Science. The whole schools “credits” and “lucky tickets” are displayed and people who score highest on the charts are rewarded. If any members of staff at the school, or children feel that school life has caused them harm in any way then SLT at the school can direct the participant to support. However, as the whole school approach will not change whilst I am there then there is no risk of harm from the study.
All data shall be anonymised and secured on my personal devices which are password protected and not shared with other persons.
Participants names will not be included, and when discussing individual pupils within the main body of my project write up, I shall replace with pseudonyms.
I shall only use my Plymouth university email for all information concerning the study.
All data collected will be deleted and destroyed after the project hand in, other than that found on the schools own staff shared area which is locked to staff only viewing and password protected. This data belongs to the school and therefore will be there discretion how they manage it.
Right to Withdraw:
All participants have the right to withdraw their participation in the research project up until February 1st where I will have finished collecting data and responses, therefore will be processing the findings to draw a conclusion and recommendations.
I will read this disclaimer to all participants, and it will be in writing for the participants to read.
To ensure I am respecting the children’s right to withdraw I’ll consider any sign of withdrawal, distress or objection to the study as a wish to cease participation. However this would not differ from a usual day where I aim to support the child, their communication/ behaviours and needs regardless.
All participants are remined that there are no consequences for withdrawing or refusing to participate.
Debriefing: How and when will you feedback the results of your project to any participants? How will you make a copy of your finished work to those that request to see it?
My completed project will be handed in for marking. Once it is returned and graded, I plan to give the findings to a member of SLT along with the recommendations from the projects.
Participants will receive my contact details, and they retain the right to a copy of the final research report.
Other Ethical Issues: Are there any other ethical issues (particular to your project) that your project supervisor should be aware of at this stage?
I have reviewed Part A and Part B and seen copies of all necessary supporting material for the student’s project. I approve the student’s request for ethics approval and give permission for the student to begin work with any necessary participant(s) in support of their project.
Extended Project supervisor’s name:
A signed copy of this form must accompany your Extended Project when submitted for assessment.