Case Study: Sleuth - The Behaviour Tracking System

School Name:
Merrill College
Type of School:
Mixed Comprehensive School 11-19
Pupils on Roll:
LEA Name:
Implemented By:
Director of Inclusion
How did you record behaviour before Sleuth?

We had an A5 incident slip to record behaviour, it wasn't particularly detailed information with much of it made up of staff comments. The obvious drawback is that this kind of recording can be subjective and is based on individual interpretation. The incident slip tended to be sent straight through to the Heads of Year and was then placed in student files. It wasn't really used to inform our strategic thinking about behaviour, it was more of a system of communication.

Why did you introduce Sleuth to track behaviour?

The majority of incidents were being dealt with by Heads of Year and not at other levels of the pastoral system or involving Heads of Department/Areas. For our pastoral system to function more effectively we wanted behaviour to be addressed at the appropriate level.

When we introduced Sleuth we were a school in special measures and behaviour was one area that we needed to address as part of our Action Plan. We needed a system which would allow us to continually collect objective evidence about behaviour in order to inform our planning and decision making and to demonstrate the progress that we are making in this area of whole school improvement.

At the end of the most recent visit by HMI it was clear that these outcomes had been realised. HMI commented that, "the information generated has been thoroughly scrutinised and used pro-actively". The system for tracking behaviour is, "well established and demonstrates the college's success in markedly increasing the proportion of good behaviour and reducing the proportion which is unsatisfactory".

How did you implement Sleuth?

We updated our incident recording slip to include information that could be used to track behaviour; for example, the learning style used. The slip now encourages a much more objective style of recording and staff are encouraged to use a common language that forms a central part of the behaviour policy which we introduced alongside Sleuth in September 2004. Our recording now has a framework that has moved us away from anecdotal evidence.

Staff record both positive and negative behaviour on the slip. In the case of a referral the slip may then be passed to other staff. Once action has been taken the slip is passed to our admin support staff who enter the information in Sleuth. We aim to get all incidents to the admin team by Thursday lunchtime each week.

All our staff have access to Sleuth to generate reports analysing the information on specific year groups, department areas, tutor groups and students. The introduction of our new slip was useful in supporting a collaborative approach to the way behaviour is managed. Staff have to indicate what action they have taken to address the behaviour of an individual, it is not enough simply to refer it. The incident slip illustrates our systematic approach to address behaviour. This has had benefits in shaping the response of staff to behaviour but also students understand that there are a clear and consistent set of responses to behaviour. They understand that if a Sleuth form is filled in for either positive or negative behaviour then a positive or negative consequence will follow.

How has Sleuth improved your behaviour management?

Our previous system did not involve all staff in pastoral care. Now, with Sleuth, both Heads of Year and Heads of Area use behaviour data in Sleuth extensively: HoAs now manage behaviour specific to their department and HoYs pick up the more widespread concerns.

In general, Sleuth allows us to see whether the Behaviour Policy is working effectively and whether behaviour of a particular type is being dealt with at the appropriate level.

Early Intervention for At-Risk Students - The information in Sleuth allows us to identify students who may need to be logged on our at-risk register. Once a student is placed on this register we are in a position to activate a number of different interventions to help them manage their behaviour. Sleuth provides us with the evidence base to make sure our decisions are appropriate for supporting both students and staff in these instances.

  • Education Psychologist: We have used sleuth to identify groups of students giving cause for concern. Once identified, the Senior Education Psychologist comes in and monitors the group for the school day.
  • SEN provision: We can also use the data to support managed moves and have begun to tie in the data we have in Sleuth with our SEN provision and statementing process.
  • BIP centre: If a student's behaviour has deteriorated over a period of time we use Sleuth to generate evidence to support our concerns. This may lead to a referral to our BIP centre where students will follow a more diverse curriculum with particular focus on Social and Emotional Development. The centre also meets our First Day Provision needs.
  • Learning Support Unit: Where behaviour is a concern in a certain subject the student may work part time in our LSU. The decision for this withdrawal is based on the student's behaviour profile in Sleuth.

Staff Development - The data in Sleuth helps us when we bring in support from the LEA to work with particular staff. Our mentoring and support of staff is now much better targetted as is our management of the way we group lessons, allocate staff and manage aspects of the timetable.

Rewarding Good Behaviour - Sleuth plays a valuable role in managing our reward system. We record behaviour in 4 categories: 1 is excellent through to 4 which is serious. Each time a student does something good it is recorded as a level 1 behaviour in Sleuth. We use the sleuth reports to see how many level 1s an individual or group has accumulated and respond with letters home etc., accordingly.

Examples of level 1 behaviour are:

  • The student responds positively to teacher instruction
  • The student is tolerant and considerate to others within the group
  • The student does not seek to attract inappropriate attention in the classroom
  • The student produces tidy work and has motivation to start tasks without delay
  • The student shows emotional stability and can wait for rewards for prolonged periods of time

We run a student of the month award for each year group based on the most level 1s per year group. Currently, our Science Department holds the Group of the Week award for the most level 1s in a week. As well as our routine rewarding of positive behaviour we also have competitions that we introduced on an adhoc basis. We feel that this adds an element of the unexpected which is useful in motivating a student who may not have accumulated any level 1s for a while:

  • WOW week: We run a competition called WOW week where we accumulate all the level 1s by student for one week. All students start level on zero for the week. The winners in each year group can then choose from a number of different prizes. This strategy motivates those students who may be drifting in the day to day reward system.
  • In It To Win It: We also run a competition called In It To Win It. Again the intention with this is to give all students who have a level 1 the chance to win a prize. Every so often we call an In It To Win It day when all the level 1s are counted up. Each student has a number of entries in a raffle correspondong to the number of level 1s they have accumulated. Obviously the more level ones you have the more chance you have of winning but it does mean everyone at least has a chance adding another dimension to our normal reward system.

School Statistics - Some interesting facts about behaviour at the school from nearly 13,000 recorded incidents collected so far:

  • Wednesday is our hotspot day of the week
  • Afternoon lessons, periods 4 and 5, are our most frequently recorded for negative behaviour
  • At the moment the behaviour of Year 8 is the greatest cause of concern
  • The ratio of negative behaviour boy:girl is 1.8 to 1
  • The ratio of positive behaviour boy:girl is 1.3 to 1

Setting Targets - We have recently identified that behaviour in Year 8 is a particular cause for concern. The Headteacher decided to address the whole Year Group to discuss this. Data from Sleuth was used in this assembly to demonstrate the reason for this concern and set targets with the Year Group. Attention was also given to the positive behaviour for the group that had also been logged into Sleuth.

Communicating with Parents - One benefit of the visual reports produced by Sleuth is apparent when we interview parents. It is nice to go to these meetings with more than a list of crimes and punishments. Parents can see we are trying to understand the causes of behaviour and are more likely to support what we're doing.