1 May 2018: The Government announced in January 2018 that the Better Public Services programme would not continue in this form. These pages have been archived.

Positive Behaviour for Learning

In 2009 teachers, principals, whanau and community representatives came together at ‘Taumata Whanonga’ – a national education summit, to share their growing concerns for the behaviour among New Zealand children and young people. As well as creating immediate barriers to learning, evidence shows that problem behaviour also leads to longer term serious mental health issues and wider social harm. In direct response to these concerns, representatives from across the education sector chose a small number of evidence-based initiatives to implement and Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) was born.

Positive Behaviour for Learning (PB4L) was created in direct response to these concerns and is now comprised of 10 evidence based initiatives. These initiatives enable parents, teachers, whanau and schools to effectively address problem behaviour, improve children’s well being and increase educational achievement. Some support schools through systemic change over three to five years, others are three to six month programmes for parents and teachers and some are services directly targeted at children and young people. For example the Intensive Wraparound Service (IWS) provides a mixed model of intensive support for the small number of children and young people with highly complex and challenging behaviour, social or education needs, including those with an intellectual difficulty.

One of the champions of the PB4L programme is Naenae Primary School Principal Murray Bootten. He says before his school started the programme in 2010, its main behaviour issues were aggression, fighting and intimidation of staff and students.

“We’ve gone from a situation where children were looking over their shoulder to see who was going to get them next to now, where we have very few incidences of bad behaviour,” says Mr Bootten.

One of the main success factors of PB4L is the collaborative and responsive approach the team has committed themselves to. Building strongly collaborative formal and informal relationships with key partners in the education, government and community sectors ensures the programmes reach the right communities and are the most effective they can be.

“I think PB4L’s success is due to the commitment and drive of the organisations involved around increasing educational achievement and improving childrens wellbeing,” PB4L Programme Manager Virginia Burton-Konia said.
The recently released 2013 PB4L update presents an evaluation of the first 86 schools to implement the programming PB4L “School Wide.” The report showed that these schools implementing were reaping positive results. Results of the programme include:

  • Decreased stand-down rates
  • More young people staying in school
  • Retention rates for 17 year olds increasing to 74% in 2011
  • On average an additional twelve 15 year olds achieved NCEA Level 1 in each secondary school implementing PB4L

Positive Behaviour for Learning

Anecdotal feedback from parents, whanau, teachers and schools has been overwhelmingly positive, as well.

The 2013 PB4L Update also presents findings from an evaluation of the effectiveness of the Incredible Years programme targeted at parents whose goal is to prevent and respond to young children's behavior problems and promote their social, emotional, and academic competence. The evaluation showed positive behavior change was achieved for children whose parents participated in the programme. Over 9,600 parents have participated in the Incredible Years Parent programme and 6,300 teachers have been involved in the Incredible Years Teacher programme.

PB4L is run in partnership with the New Zealand Principals’ Federation (NZPF), the New Zealand School Trustees Association (NZSTA), the New Zealand Education Institute (NZEI), the Early Childhood Council, the Secondary Principals Association of New Zealand (SPANZ), Alternative Education, the Post-Primary Teachers’ Association (PPTA) and the New Zealand Association of Intermediate and Middle Schools (NZAIMS).

To read the full 2013 PB4L Update visit: http://www.minedu.govt.nz/NZEducation/EducationPolicies/SpecialEducation/OurWorkProgramme/PositiveBehaviourForLearning

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