Behaviour Support Classrooms (BSCs) are an element of NBSS Level 3 support currently existing in 22 post-primary schools nationwide. They are designed to meet the needs of students who may experience any number (or combination) of significant challenges to their learning, and whose behaviour significantly interferes with teaching and learning in the majority of their subject classes. It is an intensive, short-term, individualised intervention for students who have failed to respond to interventions and supports provided in the school at Level 1 and 2. The fundamental aim of the Behaviour Support Classroom is reintegration.
"It’s a refuge for students who otherwise find mainstream classes difficult. A strength is the support for teaching and learning for the BSC student and for the wider school community. The smaller groups in the BSC allows for issues/ behaviours, etc to be addressed allowing for the student to better handle “normal” class when s/he rejoins."
A referral system for individualised Behaviour Support Classroom support draws on baseline data provided by teachers. This includes information about the student’s prior attainment and current progress, and this is gathered in order to develop an individual Student Behaviour Plan - a requirement at Level 3 for all students identified for support in all NBSS partner schools. The Student Behaviour Plan is designed to maximise a student’s chance of success, directly linking the planned actions and supports to the behaviour(s) causing concern. The plan identifies the student’s personal strengths, the behaviour(s) causing concern in classes and around the school and develops a targeted plan of action and support for behaviour improvement.
"It has definitely kept students in school (and not permanently suspended). It helps to teach difficult students the skills they need to cope with mainstream teaching… The BSC teachers acted as mentors during and after their time in BSC classroom which gives these students an adult they can identify with. In very difficult situations these BSC teachers are often the best to help diffuse difficult situations for these students."
During the development of the Student Behaviour Plan, the student actively participates in setting his or her personal targets. The targets are regularly reviewed and progress is recorded so that success, however small, is celebrated frequently. All Student Behaviour Plans are subject to continuous assessment and review to take account of any changes in the student’s behaviour and to measure the effectiveness of the interventions provided in helping the student to achieve his or her targets. Parents and guardians are kept informed weekly of successes, targets achieved and general progress.
"By helping students complete tasks in small groups, experience success and learn that it’s okay to have pride. To see this transfer to mainstream classrooms has been a high point for me."
"Upon reintegration of a particularly high risk student I was able to get the student up to speed and even ahead of the class so that he could answer questions none of the rest could and so gain praise (which I talked to the teacher about before class) and this helped integration for that child in that class to be a success."
"The student, when he first came to the BSC had huge difficulties communicating with teachers and peers. Now he is socially interacting with both and is now able to joke and laugh with people – all from the relationships built with BSC staff."
Further information on the operation of the Behaviour Support Classroom is available in the following NBSS publications:
- Behaviour Support Classroom Best Practice Guidelines
- A Research Study of 36 Behaviour Support Classrooms