What do they mean... Behaviour Support Plan

18th June 2004 at 01:00
This is another Department for Education and Skills misnomer. It has nothing to do with supporting behaviour. Very much the opposite, in fact.

Local education authorities have a behaviour support plan (BSP) so that when school pupils are even more badly behaved than usual they can make them do something else instead.

Using its BSP, an education authority can turn truants into timekeepers, persuade bullies to help old ladies across the road, and in general turn murderous psychopaths into model pupils with a burning desire for extra maths classes. It does not work terribly well, but the important thing is that the LEA has tried, and been seen to be trying.

Like so many department requirements a BSP, once you've waded through all the tortuous prose telling you it is a legal requirement, turns out to be a rather vague beast, which basically says work it out for yourself and it is your fault if you get it wrong.

Thus, by law every education authority has a BSP which is coherent, comprehensive and well-understood (and Elizabeth I had a unicorn in her garden). In producing it the authority must consult all relevant interests locally, most of whom will come up with solutions which, while doubtless effective, would not be the sort of things that LEAs can recommend - not in public, anyway.

We at St Jude's have our own personalised BSP, popularly known as "What are we going to do about Maurice?" It is already very long, nowhere near comprehensive, and becomes increasingly incoherent, as its various authors tended to start dribbling and had to be sedated.

After the nasty incident with Mr Parkinson, however, no one is allowed to be alone in the room with it. (Come to that, no one is allowed to be alone in the room with Maurice, either.) Unfortunately, the pupils have now drafted a BSP of their own. This covers what to do with, among other things, persistently disruptive teachers, teachers repeatedly absent without permission and teachers with criminal records.

There is a certain air of tension about St Jude's. Thank goodness the DfES now wants to get rid of the behaviour support plan and replace it with the single education plan. Whatever that is.

Tim Homfray


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