Transforming behaviour with data

Treorchy Comprehensive School in Wales has completely overhauled its approach to behaviour and wellbeing with the help of EduKey’s Class Charts software, as Rhiannon Davies, Assistant Headteacher, explains.

Last year Treorchy Comprehensive in Wales set about making dramatic changes to the way it approached pupil behaviour and wellbeing. At the centre of the new approach was EduKey’s Class Charts software which, among other things, enables teachers to reward good behaviour, issue detentions and report on issues in real time. It also enables parents to track their children’s performance and behaviour in detail.

The decision to introduce Class Charts came after members of the school’s behaviour and wellbeing working part visited a nearby school to see how they tackled the same issues. They came back eager to give Class Charts a try.

“We could see that it had allowed the teachers to have better communication with parents and between members of staff; and, rather than responding to issues hours later, you could monitor behaviour across the school at any given hour,” says Rhiannon Davies, Assistant Headteacher. “We didn’t want the pupils’ behaviour to be hidden away from their parents; we wanted them to be able to see all behaviours, good and bad, and then be able support the school by having the right conversations at home.”

They also recognised that the data provided by Class Charts was facilitating the pastoral experience, revealing patterns in behaviour that might otherwise have gone unnoticed. 

“It’s a hugely effective, data-driven pastoral tool,” says Rhiannon.

Treorchy is a large 11-18 school with 1640 pupils, 21.7% of whom have free school meals. As Class Charts is an adaptable piece of software, it was tailored to help the school achieve its specific goals, one of which was to introduce a central detention system.

“We used to have people setting their own detentions. Now detentions are centralised, and they happen on the same day the problem occurred,” says Rhiannon. “Our staff used to do on average 29 hours of detentions a year; now we are only asking teachers to do seven hours, and heads of department do 10, so everyone’s quota for detentions is cut considerably because we are all looking after each other’s detentions.”

Class Charts facilitates speedy detentions by making it possible for the school to instantly tell parents, via the app, that a child has been given a detention.

“Before we introduced this, we couldn’t have communicated to that many parents in one go – and if we had used a text system it would be very expensive. Now any communications with parents don’t cost anything more.”

Parental engagement with Class Charts is high, with nearly 100% of year seven and eight parents using the app to track their children’s performance. 

“It allows them to be proactive in the home – and it’s fostering a sense of community,” says Rhiannon. “We are all contributing and benefitting. It’s enabling staff to speak to each other more actively and it does a lot of the thinking for us – for example, it recommends the right children to sit next to each other, telling us who is a good mix.”

The staff have also reported that the software is a great time saver, and easy to navigate.

“They really like the usability. For example, you just have to click one button to issue a detention, and you can set multiple detentions in one go, saving admin time. This allows teachers to focus on other things in the classroom and to foster a sense of positivity – it’s not a punitive system; it allows you to reward good behaviour, and we have seen excellent positive to negative behaviour points ratios – 98% positive in year seven, and 84% positive across the school. It also helps you to spot behaviour trends and make sure rewards or punishments are appropriate – it allows you to make things more bespoke.”

The school is now in the process of phasing in another EduKey product – Provision Map, which assists with the administration of special needs provision in the school. As for Class Charts, Rhiannon would confidently recommend it to other schools.

“I think every school should look at it because you can mould it to needs of your individual school,” she says. “It’s very flexible; I would definitely recommend it.”