‘We do have rules, we just don’t have sanctions’

‘The carrot and the stick’ – our basic approach to behaviour management has remained unchanged since we used donkeys as beasts of burden. Anecdotal evidence, however, would suggest that the ‘stick’ is ineffective and that the donkey would make just as much progress in pursuit of the carrot alone. Even with this being so, the move to dispense with sanctions in a school is so contrary to received wisdom that it represents a massive leap of faith. This is why we are working closely with the psychology department at Goldsmiths college to develop our new behavioural modification system.

Goldsmiths will assess our pupils to discover how they are likely to respond to a range of behavioural modification strategies. They will work with us to devise a system based on cutting edge neuroscience and then help us to assess its impact. Our vision is that there will be no primitive element to our systems. Better behaviour will be modified by protocols based on pupil responsibility, choice and post incident learning opportunities. It will be backed by a comprehensive and coherent hierarchy of reward.

Will it work? We think so and we are taking every possible step to maximise the chances. Watch this space.



Paul McConnachie, our Art & ICT Co-ordinator, is studying for a Ph.D. at the Liverpool School of Art and Design. This process was first conceived from his recent Artist Teacher Scheme M.A. at Liverpool John Moores University.

“The M.A. Art in Education gave me the opportunity to critically examine practice not just in school but at a personal level as well. Its completion has meant that contemporary thinking around Art has fed directly into my own teaching practice and has enhanced students’ learning. The newfound knowledge gained from the M.A. gave me the desire to take things further and apply for a Ph.D.

“What I am researching now is Multimedia and how it is used to promote interaction. This is a practice-led Ph.D., meaning that not only will I be carrying out research, I will also be putting together exhibitions to promote my research findings. The skills I am learning during my studies will be imparted back to the pupils and this will ultimately engage them more with their topics and assist in raising attainment at Kilgarth. It will also help to broaden the outlook of pupils in their understanding of contemporary art practice.

“Thinking and contextualising my work as an artist has inspired me to extend this into the classroom and challenge my pupils to do the same. This is the beginning of a 6-year long process which sounds like a long time; however the way we operate at Kilgarth the years will no doubt ‘fly by’.”



Kilgarth School participated in research as part of the International Centre for the Study of Coaching project on Coaching in Schools with Middlesex University. An action learning approach was adopted to foster both inquiry and research at school level with an intention to share emerging questions, findings and issues at a wider level. The project ran until the end of the summer term 2014 and will contribute to the next Middlesex Coaching in Schools Research paper at the beginning of 2015.



Mr Baker is currently working towards an MA (Educational Leadership) and is focusing his research on the culture of coaching that was introduced into Kilgarth School earlier last year. It is hoped that his work will investigate the impact of coaching on staff resilience in a challenging environment.