Behaviour Support Plans (BSPs) assist a broad range of students deemed by the school to require additional support and guidance.
Behaviour Support Plan guidelines
Why make a Behaviour Support Plan?
A Behaviour Support Plan (BSP) is a school-based document designed to assist individual students who have experienced harm, are at risk of harm, or have caused harm to others.
Targeted plans can be developed for students who have been diagnosed with severe behavior disorders; students who have bullied others; students who have been bullied; students who require additional assistance because they display difficult, challenging or disruptive behaviours; as well as students who can benefit from additional wellbeing support.
Who benefits from a BSP?
Students and schools can benefit from an effective BSP in the following ways:
- clearly stating expectations and planned support for a student in writing, demonstrates the commitment of the school to the student's wellbeing needs
- behaviour change in the student occurs more readily when the focus is on support, building the skills needed for pro social behaviour and increasing the student's wellbeing
- problem behaviours are gradually reduced as triggers and cues preceding the unwanted behaviours are identified and addressed
- previously unknown causes or triggers of problem behaviour may be identified while gathering information and writing the plan, issues can then be effectively addressed
- specialised guidance indicating how to respond to a student's challenging behaviour, helps to provide boundaries, consistency and consequences for the student, reducing the need for punishment and in turn reducing stress for teachers
- a sense of harmony and safety to a classroom and school may be restored.
Who is responsible for BSPs?
One person at the school, or sub-school, should be responsible for making, monitoring and reviewing all BSPs. For example:
- Primary schools and special schools: the assistant principal
- Secondary schools: the student welfare coordinator, year level co-coordinator or assistant principal.
This BSP Coordinator initiates and coordinates the steps below. This person will also typically lead any Student Support Group (SSG) meetings held under the BSP.
Writing an effective Behaviour Support Plan
In this short video tutorial, Murray Evely and Zoe Ganim, psychologists from Psych4Schools, share their insights and provide tips to write a BSP that can help students and staff feel safe, valued and connected to their school community.
Together, Murray and Zoe explain how an effective BSP contributes to building respectful relationships, resilience, and well-adjusted students who are able to learn effectively. To view the tutorial, see: Behaviour Support Plan
Guidelines for writing an effective BSP
The most effective BSPs are developed when these eight steps are followed:
- Gather relevant information about the student.
- Convene a meeting of relevant school staff and the student's parents.
- Convene a meeting of relevant school staff to draft the BSP.
- Refine the BSP.
- Sign the BSP.
- Provide a copy to staff.
- Review the BSP.
- Conclude the BSP.
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For more information, see: Psych4Schools
The effectiveness of a BSP relies on identifying the underlying causes of the student's problem behaviours. School staff should consult their student services support officer, the student's parents or guardians, psychologist or other appropriate specialist, or professional involved with the student. The failure to identify the underlying issue or issues can lead to problem behaviours continuing, escalating or being replaced by other problem behaviours.
It also needs to be understood that a student's behaviour will often deteriorate before it improves when a BSP is introduced. Rewards and reinforcements used to promote pro social behaviour must be immediate and at a high frequency in the early stages of a BSP for maximum success, especially with younger students.