Ysgol y Gogarth was recently inspected by ESTYN and was awarded “Excellent” in every category. Estyn identified the behaviour support team as an area of strength. https://www.estyn.gov.wales/sites/default/files/documents/Ysgol%20Y%20Gogarth.pdf
Gogarth began collaborating with behaviour analysts from Bangor University in 2010. As far as we know, they were the first special needs school to hire a behaviour analysts as a full time member of school staff. The ABA team is supported by a BCBA-D, and now includes 3 full time BCBAs, and 5 full time MSc in ABA graduates working towards their BCBA, and 1 RBT. One classroom teacher has a BCBA, and the deputy head teacher and the speech and language therapist both have an MSc in ABA. The school has supported two behaviour analysts to work towards their PhD in ABA.
Behaviour analysts in Gogarth work across three main areas:
- British Early Special School Teaching Model (BESST). The BESST model combines elements of traditional EIBI practice while incorporating ABA teaching throughout the school day for children ages 3-7 years old. Children who participated in the BESST model have made significant progress on measures of academic, social, communication, and adaptive behaviours. The BESST model has now been shared with 7 special needs schools across the UK.
- Steps Level System. The STEPS system is a TIER 2 level system designed for pupils who require additional support to manage their behaviour. STEPS is a progressive system that combines differential positive reinforcement with self-management.
- Function Based Behaviour Plans. About 40 children in the school have function based behaviour plans.
Highlights from the Estyn Report:
“The school works exceptionally well with an extensive range of partners. This includes work over many years with a local university to develop innovative approaches to behaviour management. This programme draws on relevant research findings and the work of highly effective behaviour analysts. They identify pupils’ needs accurately and use this information to generate bespoke support packages for individual pupils and high quality professional development for staff. This work has a powerful impact on standards of behaviour and pupils’ progress at the school. The school shares this work successfully with schools internationally, for example through conferences in the United States of America.”
“Over time, nearly all pupils make outstanding progress in developing the skills and strategies they need to understand their feelings and manage their behaviour successfully. Pupils respond very well to the school’s distinctive approach to positive behaviour support and the interventions of highly skilled staff. As a result, there have been no exclusions at the school for the past three years.”
“The school provides an extensive range of highly effective programmes for developing pupils’ communication and behaviour. The school’s work in this area is outstanding and enables pupils over time to improve their behaviour, engage well with learning and make very good progress during their time at the school.”