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#931 Securing Engagement – Alton Park Junior School

Sarah Currivan

What did we do?

I looked to see whether children’s behaviour can be improved by forming positive relationships. I wanted to improve the focus, resilience and attitude towards learning of the children I had identified. I hoped to reduce the amount and frequency of behaviours that can sometimes be seen as attention seeking, such as: refusal to work, frequent calling out, being off task, making inappropriate noises or giving inappropriate answers to the teacher’s questions. I hoped that by giving these children time to talk and spend time with an adult, it would help them to feel noticed, important and valued.

“Miss, can we have our 10 minutes today”

A quote from one of my target children demonstrating how they enjoyed having that 1:1 time with an adult where they were able to play, chat and relax.

Summary of impact

I had a mixed set of results from my project. The behaviour of some of the target children was significantly improved on days when I had spent time with them.

I have found that child A has been more willing to come to me and talk when there is a problem, rather than closing off as they used to do. She will now approach me and ask for time to talk, whereas she used to just leave the classroom and ignore adult interaction. This has been a positive improvement as I am able to get her back on task much quicker than I could before starting my project.

Child B would previously throw his book on the floor regularly, put his head down on the desk and was mainly unresponsive when spoken to. Both myself and the class teacher noticed that this rarely occurred on the days when Child B had spent time with me in the morning.

For other children, the impact of my time wasn’t as big, however I do feel it has been positive having time to build positive relationships with them.

Steps taken

Firstly, I identified the behaviours I wanted to try and improve within the classroom. I then used strength and difficulties questionnaires highlighting 5 baseline questions to identify my target children. The 5 focus questions I used as a baseline are:

  • Are they restless, overactive, cannot sit still for long?
  • Do they often have temper tantrums or hot tempers?
  • Are they constantly fidgeting or squirming?
  • Are they often unhappy, downhearted or tearful?
  • Do they get easily distracted or concentration wanders?


Once I had chosen which children I would be working with, I then looked at what low focus activities I would do with them. For convenience, I decided to do the same activity with each child for a week, before changing to the next the following week. These activities included: Lego, Puzzles, Playdoh, Dobble, Colouring and Wordsearches. For the last week I gave each child the choice of what activity they would like to do. I then worked on securing time to implement my project and discovered first thing in the morning would be most practical. I then began implementing my ideas and spent 10 minutes each day with one of my target children. I initially started with 7 children for my project, but due to staff shortages and time constraints I felt it would be more productive to reduce this to 5 in order to see one a day.

What would we do differently

If I was to do this again, I would try to have longer with each child and I would work with them more frequently than once a week as I feel this wasn’t enough for all target children.

Resources required

The main resource needed was time. I feel if there was more time available to me, my project could have been more successful. I used activities we already had within the school, so I did not have to source any externally.

See how others have implemented this Big Idea

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Removing the literacy barrier to learning - Clacton County High School

Wellbeing Workshops - Westbourne Academy

1-1 Support to Improve Engagement and Grades - One Sixth Form

Improving Behaviour with Projection Education - Trimley St Martin Primary School

Establishing a nurture space - The DEN at Trimley St Martin Primary School

The Inclusivity of EAL families within our School Community. - St Margaret's Primary School Ipswich

EAL Parental engagement at Northgate High School

Being a Learning Behaviour Lead - Ipswich Academy

Improving Handwriting - Clacton Coastal Academy

Reading and Phonics at Dale Hall

"Club Aspirations" improving self esteem and confidence at Rushmere Hall Primary

Improving learner confidence in handwriting and spelling - Clacton Coastal Academy

Improving behaviour and engagement in a nurture group - Alton Park Junior School

Tackling lunchtime dysregulation and classroom focus - Castle Hill Primary School

Finding the right intervention to support engagement - Murrayfield Primary Academy


Alton Park Junior School

Michelle Garnham