10: Pastoral Support Plan (PSP)

Who are they for?

PSPs are for any young person at risk of permanent exclusion from school.

What is a PSP?

A Pastoral Support Programme (PSP) is a school-based intervention to help individual pupils manage their behaviour. They were originally designed as a way of intervening before a young person’s behaviour led to a permanent exclusion, and would normally run for approximately 16 weeks. A PSP should be set up if the young person has had several fixed period exclusions and if an exclusion has been 10 days or more then the PSP should be used as part of the integration process. A PSP should also be considered if a pupil is in danger of being permanently excluded from school. A PSP may be set up in addition to an Individual Education Plan and/or PEP and they should be integrated.

The Headteacher (or another member of the Senior Management Team) should invite carers and an LA representative (usually a member of the Behaviour Support or education Welfare Team) to a meeting to discuss the causes of concern and what is reasonably required to avoid exclusion. The aim of the meeting is to formulate a programme which supports the young person in managing his/her behaviour satisfactorily in order to successfully complete his/her education. For a looked after child, it would be expected that the social worker is also invited to the meeting.

What is the purpose of a PSP?

A Pastoral Support Programme should:

  • review any learning difficulties, particularly literacy which may affect the YP’s behaviour
  • provide a focused programme, which must be put in place immediately and which may include lunchtime or after school homework clubs
  • provide other forms of study support
  • consider / re-consider dis-applying the National Curriculum to allow time for specific learning activities
  • consider changing the young person’s teaching set, class and / or seating arrangements
  • have short term achievable targets
  • identify a “buddy” or adult mentor
  • probably involve the Behaviour Support Service for in-school support for the pupil and staff
  • consider the possibility of ‘time out’ at a PRU as an additional behaviour management strategy
  • consider a “managed move” to another school.
  • give a time scale.  Progress should be reviewed at least fortnightly, with the total length being normally 16 weeks – a final review then takes place.
  • it is important that the young person is involved at an age appropriate level and is aware of what has been agreed.

Consideration needs to be given to what will happen if the PSP is not successful; this is why the regular fortnightly reviews are important. If the plan is not working it should be modified early to give the greatest chance of success.

PSPs are controversial as they can be a precursor to the child being moved on if the targets aren’t met within the 16 week period.  However, in instances where the PSP does work, it is a means of focusing a “team around the child” on the young person’s needs and helping them through a difficult period.

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