At Bolton Muslim Girls School we found that the rewards policy was highlighting only exceptional performance and behaviour and there was a spotlight on negative behaviour. This meant that the vast majority of students who did the right thing were not acknowledged.
To address this, we founded a positive discipline policy based on the premise that making the right choices with regard to behaviour and learning should be rewarded. As a community we wish to nurture responsible, thoughtful and supportive behaviours. We want to make girls accountable for how they treat others, and how they engage with the learning opportunities given to them. We want to build an ethos where it is regarded as ‘strange’ for a student to choose a negative form of behaviour, and ‘normal’ for girls to make the right choices and be rewarded for doing so. As a Muslim school students are taught that to choose a negative form of behaviour is morally wrong. As part of the positive discipline policy, every member of staff must reward students who display appropriate levels of commitment, effort and attainment each lesson. We integrated the change into our behaviour policy and made it part of procedure for teachers to award all students who had arrived on time, worked well, followed instructions etc. a set number of positive behaviour points each lesson. Hence, students who ‘do the right thing’ are rewarded each and every lesson.
What was the impact?
Students feel recognized for ‘doing the right thing’ and this recognition has impacted in the creation of a positive learning environment as well as impacted on students’ self-esteem and the promotion of a shared personal and collective responsibility towards understanding that there is a strong link between progress and outcomes and behaviour.