Positive reinforcement: Island School's approach to behaviour management
The Island School adopts the School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support Framework, an evidence-based approach that aligns with school values and reinforces age-appropriate behavior with positive reinforcement, creating a cohesive community that improves behavioral outcomes for all learners.
Dr Alexia Barrable
Head of Learning Support
The Island School
We are happy to inform you that at Island School we are introducing the School-Wide Positive Behaviour Support (SW-PBS) Framework. PBS is an evidence-based approach to skill acquisition and behaviour management that has been shown to improve behavioural outcomes in schools in many countries. It is based on a set of behavioural expectations, that align with our school values of collaboration, respect, love, life-long learning, integrity, safety, responsibility and positivity.

At the heart of PBS is explicitly communicating what our expectations are, and what those expectations look like in different school environments: in the classroom, the library, the playground or on the bus. This is done by the class teachers in collaboration with specialist instruction, and at a developmentally appropriate level. The role of the teacher is not just to communicate these expectations, but to continually reinforce them, as PBS is primarily a pro-active, rather than a reactive, system. Reinforcement happens in a variety of ways, and each teacher/class will have a different system in place: some, especially in the lower end of the school, will use tokens, while for others these will be more abstract.

Studies on the use of consistent positive reinforcement in the classroom show that it can be used to significantly improve students’ age appropriate behaviours and social skills, and that the effects last even after the reinforcement system is removed or discontinued (e.g. Diedrich, 2010). Moreover, we know that this system works for a variety of learners, including those who are neurodivergent or have additional support needs. PBS is also very closely aligned and integrated into our Behaviour Expectations policy.

Our vision is for a school community that is cohesive and where children feel valued and safe and we think that PBS can support this vision.