Vranch House is a centre for the treatment of over 2,000 outpatients with physical difficulties, a provider of various therapies throughout Devon and an independent Day School in Exeter for children with significant physical difficulties.

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Last updated: 27/05/2024

Behaviour Policy


Vranch House encourages everyone involved to create an environment in which children can develop self-discipline and self-esteem, in an atmosphere of mutual respect and encouragement. Pupils will learn about the importance of consistency and fairly applied boundaries, and the importance of encouraging and rewarding positive behaviour.

Pupils have to learn about appropriate behaviour just as they have to acquire other forms of knowledge. It is the responsibility of the adults who care for them to make sure that pupils develop behavioural skills which will enable them to function effectively in the outside world.

This page details rewards for good behaviour and sanctions for inappropriate behaviour.

The emphasis is on promoting positive behaviour rather than enforcing sanctions for inappropriate behaviour.

This policy also outlines the school policy regarding the giving of gifts and rewards to pupils, families and members of staff.

Promoting Positive Behaviour

Positive reinforcements through certificates, praise, stickers, etc are given by all staff (teaching and therapy) for excellent behaviour, good work, effort and achievement. Once a pupil receives 3 certificates they are then awarded a Vranch House star badge to keep.  Badges and certificates are monitored to ensure that all pupils' achievements are being recognised although there may be some disparity between the number of certificates received by different pupils at different times during their time at school.

Classes may use additional strategies such as star charts, sticker charts, marble charts etc.  In classes using sticker charts a pupil who achieves their expected total of stickers will then be able to select a ‘prize'  from a prize box.  These prizes are of low monetary value such as a toy car or pen or coloured pencils but are of huge value to the pupil as recognition and reward for their hard work and achievement.

Staff must be consistent and fair in rewarding pupils. Staff must reward pupils throughout the whole school.           

Causes for Concern

Types of behaviour which cause concern include the following:

  • Disruptive behaviour during session/group times.
  • Use of inappropriate language (e.g. swearing) by speech, gesture, or use of communication aids.
  • Disrespectful/aggressive behaviour towards others.

We use a ‘hands off' approach and physical punishment is not used at Vranch House.  Members of staff are asked to inform the class teacher of any concerns in the first instance.  The class teacher will evaluate the situation and would decide on the next course of action.

Early Intervention

Early intervention may prevent minor behaviour difficulties from escalating. Any incidents will be dealt with by the teacher concerned in a manner appropriate to the pupil.

All staff are made aware of any persistent unacceptable behaviour and appropriate ways of supporting and encouraging the pupil to display positive behaviour.


Sanctions exist to respond to inappropriate behaviour.  A range of sanctions are applied for minor and major offences according to the needs of the pupil.   These include using a chart to cross off symbols if inappropriate behaviour occurs and using ‘talking mats' to try to establish the causes of behavioural difficulties.  Liaison with parents and mainstream schools takes place throughout and there is always encouragement for schools and parents to make us aware of any difficulties which are taking place away from Vranch House.


In the 50 years that Vranch House school has operated there is no record of a single exclusion of a pupil. Exclusion is the ultimate sanction for intolerable bad behaviour and the Governors, Head of Education and Staff would wish to avoid using it if at all possible. Nevertheless, in the extremely unlikely event that it is necessary the school will involve parents, the 0 - 25 SEN  team and other appropriate services in making the transition to another school or to any other setting as seamless and tranquil as possible.

Involving Outside Agencies

The school works positively with external agencies, seeking appropriate support for pupils with particular needs, e.g. Education Psychology Service, Advisory Teacher Service. Pupils are referred to such agencies with the knowledge and permission of their parents.

Monitoring and Review

The school maintains records of behavioural incidents and parental contacts (letters, telephone calls, meetings) on standardised forms in the Sanctions Record (kept by the Head of Education). All correspondence regarding behaviour plans are kept in the pupils' files in the Head of Education's office.

Changes of Placement

Exclusion is only used for serious offences and normally when all other school sanctions have been applied. Full consultation would be made with parents and Local Authority officers.  If it was felt that due to inappropriate behaviour Vranch House was not a suitable placement to meet the individual pupil's needs then alternative provision would be sought.

Bullying / Cyber bullying

Bullying is not a common occurrence at Vranch House.  A caring environment is fostered in which the pupils feel safe and valued as individuals.

A caring and considerate attitude towards other pupils is encouraged in the classroom and by stories and talks in assemblies and during Circle Time. Pupils are encouraged to tell staff if anything is worrying them.

Pupils are supervised when using the internet and staff are aware of necessary steps if inappropriate contact was made or cyber bullying was observed.

If bullying was observed then an adult would intervene to stop it.  Members of staff would then inform the class teacher.  The class teacher will evaluate the situation and would decide on the next course of action. (eg: Behaviour Plan, Sanction, etc.)

The Giving of Gifts and Prizes

At the end of every academic year each pupil receives a certificate which details their achievements throughout the year and these are handed out during our Annual Achievement Awards. 

If a pupil is leaving school at any time during the academic year they are presented with a Bible or a book, depending upon family preference.

Occasionally a member of staff may give a pupil or pupils a present, for example, at Christmas, when a pupil is moving class or leaving school completely and similarly at the end of a term parents or carers may opt to give staff a gift to thank them for working with their pupil or pupils.  At Vranch House it is traditional for the Kitchen Staff to give each pupil a small bag of sweets as a gift at the annual Christmas Lunch.  

This gift giving only occurs with the full understanding that gifts are given and received with no intrinsic wish or expectation to bribe, seek preferential treatment or show favouritism to any member of staff or pupil.

Useful Documents:

DFES 2009   Guidance for Safer Working Practice for Adults who Work with Pupils and  Young People (a copy of which is available in the Staff room and the Head of Education's office)