Behaviour management: pupils with emotional and learning needs

From sensory zones to nurture groups, learn how to manage challenging behaviour from pupils with SEN. Get guidance on communicating effectively with these pupils, adapting your classroom environment to cater for their needs, and see examples of what other schools are doing.

Last reviewed on 9 February 2022
School types: All · School phases: Primary, Secondary
Ref: 684
  1. Have a consistent approach to addressing challenging behaviour
  2. Set up reward systems for good behaviour 
  3. Communicate clearly
  4. Adapt the physical environment
  5. Carry out small-group interventions
  6. Dealing with extremely challenging behaviour

There are many approaches for managing pupils with emotional and learning needs. Read the strategies below and pick the ones that you think are the most suitable for your pupils and your school's context.

Have a consistent approach to addressing challenging behaviour

Regardless of which behaviour management strategies your school uses, it's important that all staff have a consistent approach to implementing them.  

Use our template behaviour intervention plan for individual pupils - these will:

  • Help you make sure that all staff involved with a certain pupil understand their needs and respond to their behaviour consistently. Check in with your teachers regularly to make sure this is the case - these discussions could happen at your termly pupil progress meetings, or informally at a time agreed between your SENCO and the teacher
  • Help pupils have a clear understanding of what's expected of them

Create a unified reward system