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Covid 19 Behaviour policy addendum



This addendum has been created following DfE guidance Actions for schools during the coronavirus outbreak and Planning Guide for Primary Schools and Planning Guide for Secondary Schools and applies to all schools, whether maintained, non-maintained or independent (including academies, academy trusts, free schools and alternative provision), maintained nursery schools and pupil referral units.  It is an addendum to the School’s Behaviour Policy and must be read in conjunction with the Whole School Behaviour Policy and (for staff and other adults) the Code of Conduct for Staff and Other Adults (including the Addendum to this).  The school’s Behaviour Policy is published in the school website along with this Addendum or on request and must be read and understood by all those individuals who come into contact with children and young people in the school.

All staff have a responsibility to be aware of systems within their school which support safeguarding and any temporary amendment to these will be explained to them by senior managers.  This includes the school’s Child Protection Policy and procedures, the school Code of Conduct or Staff Behaviour Policy, the Online Safety Policy, SEN Policy and Anti-Bullying Policy.


From 20 March 2020 parents were asked to keep their children at home, wherever possible, and for schools to remain open only for those children of workers critical to the COVID-19 response - who absolutely need to attend.  Schools and all childcare providers were asked to provide care for a limited number of children - children who are vulnerable and children whose parents are critical to the COVID-19 response and cannot be safely cared for at home.

From 01 June 2020, schools are being asked to open to more pupils in addition to the children of key workers and those who are deemed vulnerable:


  • Secondary schools - to begin some face to face support with least a quarter of year 10 and 12 pupils from 15 June.
  • ALL schools and childcare providers - to continue to offer places to the priority groups of children.

Despite the changes, the school’s Behaviour Policy is fundamentally the same with this addendum setting out some of the adjustments we are making in line with the changed arrangements in the school and following advice from government and local agencies.




Staff are accountable for the way in which they exercise authority, manage risk, use resources and safeguard children.

All staff and other adults have a responsibility to keep pupils safe and protect them from abuse (sexual, physical and emotional) and neglect.  Pupils have a right to be safe and to be treated with respect and dignity.  It follows that trusted adults are expected to take reasonable steps to ensure their safety and wellbeing. 

In light of the need for children to behave differently when they return to school, and any new systems we have put in place to support that, the changes within this Addendum will need to be communicated to pupils, parents and staff.  Best practice suggests this includes:

  • proactively teaching new rules to staff, pupils and parents;
  • regularly and rigorously reinforcing behaviour throughout every day;
  • consistently imposing sanctions when rules are broken, in line with the Policy, as well as positively reinforcing well-executed rules through encouragement and rewards.

In addition to the responsibilities of individuals in the school outlined in the Whole School Behaviour Policy, the following additional responsibilities apply during the COVID-19 outbreak.

Governing Body will:

  • promote the use of this Addendum throughout their discussions with staff and parents in order to ensure that it is accurately and consistently enforced throughout the COVID-19 pandemic;
  • support the Head teacher and other staff in implementing this Addendum

Staff and other adults

In addition to the general expectations laid out in the school’s current Behaviour Policy, staff and other adults are expected to:

  • not to come to work if they have coronavirus symptoms, or go home as soon as these develop (informing their manager), and access a test as soon as possible (Coronavirus (Covid-19) Getting tested- Essential Workers);
  • ensure their classrooms or work areas are de-cluttered so as to allow for better and easier cleaning throughout the day;
  • regularly reinforce with parents the arrangements for the start and end of the school day including, staggered start and finishing times and the need for social distancing outside the school;
  • supervise any queuing system following a process for staff to greet each child, ensuring they wash their hands immediately on arrival, and then go straight to their classroom;
  • clean their own hands more often than usual - with running water and liquid soap and dry them thoroughly or use alcohol hand rub or sanitiser ensuring that all parts of the hands are covered;
  • use and promote the ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ approach;
  • avoid touching their mouth, nose and eyes;
  • clean frequently touched surfaces often using standard products such as detergents and bleach;
  • think about ways to modify their teaching approach to keep a distance from children in their class/group as much as possible, particularly close face to face support (noting that it’s understood that this is not possible at all times, which is why hygiene and hand cleaning is so important);
  • consider avoiding calling pupils to the front of the class or going to their desk to check on their work if this is not necessary;
  • explicitly teach and supervise health and hygiene arrangements, helping their class to follow the rules on hand cleaning, not touching their faces, ‘catch it, bin it, kill it’ etc. including by updating their classroom displays with posters.
  • apply consistently any sanctions required to pupils who deliberately or intentionally disobey the new rules, whilst emphasising the importance of them in an age-appropriate manner;
  • prevent their group/bubble from sharing equipment and resources (like stationery) with other groups/bubbles;
  • keep their classroom door and windows open if possible for air flow;
  • limit the number of children from their group/bubble using the toilet at any one time;
  • limit their contact with other staff members, and not congregate in shared spaces, especially if they are small rooms;
  • identify any reasonable adjustments that need to be made for pupils with more challenging behaviour and update Behaviour Management Plans/EHCP Plans as necessary;
  • ensure they read the school’s Behaviour Policy Addendum and know what role in it they are being asked to take.


In addition to the general expectations laid out in the school’s current Behaviour Policy, pupils are expected to:

  • ensure that where they travel to and from school independently on public transport they are aware of the precautions they must take in order to reduce the risk of transmission to themselves and others.  Where this is totally necessary, this should not be during peak times.  PUPILS SHOULD CYCLE OR WALK TO SCHOOL WHEREVER POSSIBLE.
  • ensure that they practice social distancing when walking or cycling to school independently.
  • follow any altered routines for arrival or departure, arriving at school at the advised allotted time, and entering the school via their designated route.  At the end of the day, pupils will leave the building from their designated exit.  (For Primary age pupils, they will leave one at a time when their parent has come to collect them, again keeping their distance using the markers on the floors as a guide;
  • follow school instructions on hygiene such as handwashing and sanitising.  Hands must be washed on arrival at school, after using the toilet facilities, before and after eating, before and after break times and before they leave for home;
  • socially distance (where they are old enough/able to understand) from their peers and adults in school and on the playground/field at all times.  Pupils in EYFS, Y1 and Y6 will have their own table with chairs spaced 2m apart.  When children enter their classroom or space, they will be expected to go straight to their table and nowhere else in the room.  Children will put their hand up if they need an adult’s support;
  • follow instructions on who they can socialise with at school, but must remain in their group/cohort/bubble at all times;
  • move around the school as per specific instructions (for example, one-way systems, out of bounds areas, queuing);
  • follow instructions and expectations in relation to sneezing, coughing, tissues and disposal (‘catch it, bin it, kill it’, sneeze into the crook of your arm) and avoid touching their mouth, nose and eyes with hands prior to proper hand washing;
  • tell a member of staff/adult if they are experiencing symptoms of coronavirus or feeling unwell generally;
  • follow rules about sharing any equipment or other items including drinking bottles;
  • follow new rules in relation to breaks or play times, including where they may or may not play/socialise;
  • follow rules regarding the use of toilet and handwashing facilities;
  • follow the clear rules about intentionally coughing or spitting at or towards any other person;
  • follow the clear rules for pupils at home regarding conduct in relation to remote education;
  • understand the rewards and sanction system particularly in relation to breaking the amended school rules;
  • ensure that they do not socialise out of school with each other in groups unless this is with members of their own household
  • It is  understood socially distancing may be more difficult for younger children; they will be encouraged wherever possible to keep a distance from peers and adults, however, we understand this may not always be possible.


In addition to the general expectations laid out in the school’s current Behaviour Policy, parents are expected to:

  • not to come to school if they or any member of their household have coronavirus symptoms, not to send their child to school if they have symptoms, and access a test as soon as possible (NHS: Ask for a test to check if you have coronavirus);
  • send children to school in clean, fresh clothes daily
  • provide the school with at least 2 emergency contact details;
  • not to come into school buildings unless strictly necessary, by appointment, and ideally alone (unless for example, an interpreter or other support is required) following strict social distancing rules;
  • follow school instructions on hygiene such as handwashing and sanitising if they do need to enter the building;
  • reinforce good hand and respiratory hygiene with their children at home in relation to sneezing, coughing, tissues and disposal (‘catch it, bin it, kill it’, sneeze into the crook of your arm) and avoid touching their mouth, nose and eyes with hands;
  • follow the clear rules about coughing or spitting at or towards any other person and reinforce this rule to their child;
  • follow the clear rules for pupils at home regarding conduct in relation to remote education;
  • discourage their child from gathering in groups outside of school unless the group is made up of others who live in the same household;
  • understand the rewards and sanction system particularly in relation to breaking the amended school rules;
  • ensure their child understands the behaviour school expects in relation to home learning;
  • ensure they read the school’s updated behaviour policy and know what role in it they are being asked to take.

Pupils with Special Educational Needs

We acknowledge that children will have had a range of different experiences during the lockdown period which may have an impact on their behaviour presentation upon return to school.  Some may present with frustration as a result of being isolated from friends or having missed a significant event or experience; e.g. end of term treats, school trip, etc.

Some children will return to school having been exposed to a range of adversity including bereavement and long term anxiety.  This may lead to an increase in social, emotional and mental health (SEMH) concerns.  Additionally, where children have special educational needs and disabilities (SEND), their provision may have been disrupted during partial school closure and there may be an impact on their behaviour.  For children and young people with SEND, it will be especially important to teach new norms and routines around protective measures and personal hygiene clearly and accessibly.

As a result of these varied experiences children may present with behaviour that is not usual, this may include:

  • anxiety; lack of confidence;
  • challenging behaviour; fight or flight response;
  • anger; shouting, crying;
  • hyperactivity and difficulties maintaining attention.

For some children, including those with attachment concerns or SEN, and especially those with autism, the change in routines and lack of familiarity will require additional adjustment.  We recognise that behaviour could be a sign that for some individual children there is an unfulfilled need and that the behaviour is communicating that there is a problem.  We will undertake an individual risk assessment for the child and use reasonable endeavours to make the necessary adjustments to reduce the stimulus that may be triggering the challenging response.

Children with SEN are recognised as being particularly vulnerable and therefore have an urgent need to be re-integrated back into school as soon as reasonably possible.  We will work closely with parents to implement supportive strategies that will inform an appropriate response.  Some children will need additional support and access to external services such as Educational Psychologists, Social Workers, Counsellors and Early Help.

Behaviour when learning at home

If interacting with other pupils or staff online, pupils must always be kind and respectful to each other and respectful and obedient to staff, remembering at all times that that staff are not ‘friends’ with, or peers to, pupils.

Pupils must never attempt to contact staff via social media or make comments about staff on social media platforms.  Any inappropriate comments to staff online will be taken very seriously.  This is also the case of for any online bullying towards other pupils or peer-on-peer abuse that is disclosed to the school during this time.


Sanctions and Disciplinary Action

If a child’s behaviour is deemed high risk, for example, refusing to adhere to safety measures, such as, hand washing, social distancing, remaining in their group/cohort/bubble or deliberate behaviours that put themselves or others at risk, such as spitting or deliberately coughing at people, the following sanctions and disciplinary procedures could be used:

  • Conversation(s) with pupil(s) which could include a verbal warning, moving seats if logistically possible and other behaviour management strategies in line with our current behaviour policy.
  • Once all appropriate behaviour management strategies have been exhausted, contact will be made with pupil’s parent/carer.
  • To avoid a situation where positive handling may be required we may ask for the parent/carer to collect their child.



  • If the health and safety of other pupils and staff members are put at risk by the pupils not adhering to social distancing measures, then the parent/carer will be expected to collect the pupil and a fixed term exclusion will be applied in line with Exclusion guidance.
  • A small number of our students occasionally require positive handling. All attempts to de-escalate the situation will be made. Where positive handling is necessary a further risk assessment will be made to decide if staff and students can safely work with that student .Parents/carers and the local authority will be informed.  


The disciplinary powers that schools currently have, including exclusion, remain in place.  We are aware that the current circumstances can affect the mental health of pupils and their parents in a way that affects behaviour (refer to Mental Health & Behaviour in Schools and Creating a Culture: How school leaders can optimise behaviour).

Head teachers retain the power to exclude pupils on disciplinary grounds.  Any decision to exclude will be lawful (with respect to the legislation relating directly to exclusions and a school’s wider legal duties, including the European Convention on Human Rights and the Equality Act 2010); rational; reasonable; fair; and proportionate.  Permanent exclusion will only ever be used as a last resort, in response to a serious breach, or persistent breaches of the school’s Behaviour Policy, and where allowing the pupil to remain in school would seriously harm the education or welfare of the pupil or others in the school.

Schools who have permanently excluded a pupil are expected to work with parents or carers and the local authority to arrange a place at an alternative educational setting as soon as possible so as to minimise any further breaks in education provision.  Where the child in question is vulnerable, we will notify the local authority/social worker immediately and work with the local authority to ensure that the child is found a place in another educational setting quickly.  During any gap in provision, education providers, social workers, local authorities and other professionals will need to work together to ensure adequate and appropriate arrangements are in place to keep in touch with vulnerable children and young people.

The coronavirus is affecting governing boards’ duties to consider reinstatement of excluded pupils, and the process for independent review panels (IRPs).  The timeframes set out in the School Discipline (Pupil Exclusions and Reviews) (England) Regulations 2012 remain in force.  This applies to all exclusions, including those that were issued before 23 March.

The government appreciates that it may not be possible to meet the timeframes set out in regulations for review meetings and IRPs, due to the disruption caused by the coronavirus outbreak and the health risks of holding meetings.  The Regulations themselves envisage that the timeframes may not always be met, which is why they specify that meetings and panel hearings must still go ahead even if the relevant deadline has been missed.  It is for the governing board or arranging authority to assess the facts of the case and decide whether the statutory deadlines are achievable or whether, in the circumstances, the meeting has to be delayed.  Governing boards and arranging authorities should continue to take reasonable steps to ensure meetings are arranged for a time when all parties are able to attend.

External support for SEND and behaviour

Schools may normally work with external agencies to support pupils with special educational needs and disability (SEND) or with behaviour or other issues.  The Head teacher will check with the LA or other providers of such support services to ascertain whether or when such services will be available.  For pupils with education health and care (EHC) plans, it may not be possible to provide the full range of provision set out in the plan, and it may be necessary to make different arrangements if some of the support services are not available in their usual form.  If this is the case we will work with the LA and parents, and confirm what special provision can reasonably be provided (refer to Conducting a SEND risk assessment during the coronavirus outbreak).

The Head teacher will also be aware that there may be additional pupils, including those with SEND, who display symptoms of stress or anxiety and additional support may be needed for them.  The school will check with LA on their capacity to support with this.