Last reviewed on 1 September 2021
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 6461

Get an overview of the steps you need to take to put support in place for a pupil with challenging behaviour, so you can address their underlying needs and help improve the behaviour.

Identify the root cause of the behaviour

If a pupil is consistently displaying challenging behaviour, it will usually be the result of an underlying need (or needs), such as:

  • Special educational needs (SEN)
  • Learning difficulties 
  • Difficulties with communication 
  • Mental health issues
  • Housing, family or other domestic circumstances

This is explained in the Special Educational Needs and Disability (SEND) Code of Practice (see paragraph 6.21) and by an adviser at the SEN charity, nasen.

To identify this need, the pupil will need to be assessed - see the section below for more detail on this. 

Carry out assessments to identify unmet needs  

Health and social care professionals will carry out the necessary assessments below. The information in this section comes from the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence (NICE).

1. Initial assessment 

The pupil's abilities and needs The support