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Embracing Therapeutic Thinking…One Secondary School’s Success

Staff at Thomas Bennett Community College (TBCC) were delighted to be nominated for a Celebration of Inclusion by their Learning and Behaviour Advisory Team (LBAT) advisory teacher, earlier this term. The nomination came following senior staff attending Therapeutic Thinking training and taking the decision to use this approach and associated tools to support staff and pupils in helping to provide positive outcomes for all.

School leaders at TBCC recognised that the number of suspensions and permanent exclusions in their setting were higher than both West Sussex and National data and wanted to affect change in these areas. The Therapeutic Thinking training not only gave tools and techniques to help staff in supporting behaviour, but also gave a consistent approach that is in keeping with the school’s aim for a positive classroom experience for both pupils and staff.

Following the ‘train the tutor’ style training, all pastoral staff received a full day INSET training to cover the key philosophy underpinning the Therapeutic Thinking approach, as well as opportunities to explore the resources and tools provided to support the model. Since then, all staff have had an overview of the approach and plans are afoot to adapt policy in line with the approach and in consultation with all stakeholders in the school community.

Relationship building opportunities are key- detentions have been replaced by restorative conversations. As a result, key learners are better supported, more engaged in their learning and staff have a far better understanding of the individual needs and triggers of the young people in their community.

A large and immediate impact of Therapeutic Thinking at TBCC is that the number of suspensions has reduced by 75% since its introduction- a real cause for celebration and one that staff are happy to discuss with colleagues in other local secondary schools.

For further information about the success of Therapeutic Thinking at TBCC, please see the full Celebration of Inclusion on the West Sussex Tools for Schools website.

Further reading:

Pupil voice and the impact of school exclusions: