A behaviour support plan (BSP) is a document that addresses inappropriate behaviour of a student, and outlines strategies to improve their behaviour.
Who they're for
Targeted plans can be developed for students who:
- have been diagnosed with severe behaviour disorders
- have bullied others
- have been bullied
- require additional assistance because they display difficult, challenging or disruptive behaviours
- can benefit from additional wellbeing support.
What to include
BSPs may include:
- known triggers of the behaviour (noise, touch, language used)
- situations that make the behaviour more likely or cause the behaviour to occur (hunger, tiredness, pain)
- strategies to reduce or remove triggers
- strategies to address situations that may trigger the behaviour
- strategies to teach the young person how to meet their needs without using the behaviour of concern
- how the behaviour is reinforced
- if the behaviour, or warning signs to the behaviour, occurs how people should respond without reinforcing the behaviour
- when the plan will be reviewed
- how the plan will be evaluated.
If the student has particularly challenging behaviour, it may be useful to conduct a
functional behavioural assessment first.
Who is responsible for BSPs
One person at the school should be responsible for making, monitoring and reviewing all BSPs. For example:
- In primary schools and special schools it may be the assistant principal
- In secondary schools it may be 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 meetings held under the BSP.
Write an effective plan
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
Work with other professionals
The effectiveness of a BSP relies on identifying the underlying causes of the student's problem behaviours.
You should consult your student services support officer, the student's parents or guardians, psychologist or other appropriate professional involved with the student.
If you don't identify the underlying issue it can lead to problem behaviours continuing, escalating or being replaced by other problem behaviours.
Use a functional behavioural assessment to find the underlying issues.
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.
Benefits of BSPs
Students and schools can benefit from an effective BSP in these 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.