Leeds & West Yorkshire

Chapeltown pupils given lessons over 'anger'

Primary school pupils at a Leeds school are being given anger management classes to curb bad behaviour, an Ofsted report has revealed.

Staff drafted in an educational psychologist to work with children at Hillcrest Primary School in Chapeltown.

There were 38 exclusions in the past year and some children are now taught in "nurture groups" while others receive anger management counselling.

Head teacher Teena Thompson said the school was working towards improvement.

In a letter to Ms Thomson, Ofsted inspector John Young said the initiatives were helping to "break the cycle of poor behaviour".

'Good understanding'

Mr Young, who in December inspected the school which takes pupils aged three to 11, said the deputy head overseeing behaviour had a good understanding of "potential flashpoints for misbehaviour" and pupils had access to a range of supervised activities at social times.

In the Ofsted report he wrote: "Some pupils are taught in 'nurture' groups, whilst others receive counselling in anger management and improving their social skills.

"There are also clearer rewards and sanctions procedures.

"Joint-working with a learning support unit and an educational psychologist is helping the school to break the cycle of poor behaviour some pupils have fallen into."

Mr Young said some staff had different thresholds of what was acceptable behaviour which meant pupils were given "mixed messages".

He added that lesson observations by the lead inspector and head teacher concluded that some good teaching existed at the school "but that the majority was either satisfactory or inadequate".

The report noted "a high volume of staff absence" but Mr Young said staff leaders were working "doggedly" to resolve the school's problems.

Ms Thomson said: "We are obviously all disappointed that the Ofsted team did not feel that Hillcrest has made adequate progress since the last inspection.

"This is not a position we wish to be in and we know there is a lot more work to do."

Part of this strategy is to get groups of our children together to talk about how to deal with their feelings, how to share, how to control their emotions and develop good social skills," she said.

A spokeswoman for Leeds City Council said no five-year-olds were involved in anger-management classes at the school.

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