In 2020, Dysart School, a special needs school in southwest London, reached out to BeyondAutism seeking to enhance their mental health and wellbeing (MHWB) services. Faced with challenges from CAMHS and limited access to SEN psychologists, Dysart School sought our support in establishing an interdisciplinary mental health team with a greater understanding of behaviours that challenge. This collaborative effort unfolded across three phases and produced results that highlight the clear advantages of implementing a schoolwide Positive Behaviour Support (PBS) model.
How we supported
In Phase 1, the introduction of Mental Health and Wellbeing Plus (MHWB+) meetings and the establishment of minimum classroom standards laid the foundation for a solution-focused approach. These standards covered essential aspects like daily schedules, communication support and emotional regulation using Zones of Regulation. The goal of the new standards was to create a class culture of MHWB support, with additional input where required from senior leadership. This prevented an unmanageable number of concerns from reaching the Senior Leadership Team (SLT). Much of phase 1 was done during the years of the pandemic and therefore wasn’t as intense as the subsequent phases.
Phase 2 marked an intensified input from BeyondAutism. Our Behaviour Analyst actively participated in monthly MHWB+ meetings, conducted bi-weekly observations, provided in-situ training and engaged in discussions with class teachers. Collaborative planning with the assistant head (who was also the mental health lead) paved the way for the implementation of a tiered system of support across the school for the academic year 2022/23.
In Phase 3, at the end of the summer term in 2022, the school categorised learners into three tiers of support. The tiered system included: essential toolkits for tier 1, in-house team support for tier 2 and a comprehensive functional behaviour assessment by the BeyondAutism Behaviour Analyst for tier 3 which would lead to tailored positive behaviour support plans.
Our Behaviour Analyst’s role also extended to effective data recording, which is an important aspect of the schoolwide PBS model. For tier 3 learners, ABC data analysis and a functional behaviour assessment ensured that robust proactive and reactive plans were in place.