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How to sort behaviour in (the first) five minutes


To sum up, if you can use the first five minutes to demonstrate your status as top dog in the room and your high standards, you are well on your way to establishing a terrific working atmosphere.

1. Meet and greet. Stand in the doorway looking positive, as if you are pleased to see your class and excited about the lesson. This shows your high expectations.


Scan the room from the door while you meet and greet – make sure they go to their places according to your seating plan. This shows that you are the boss and that you are ‘with it’ i.e. aware of everything happening in the room.


Challenge anyone who arrives in a giddy manner. Turn them round: “Rahim, you know how to enter a classroom correctly and that wasn’t it. Try again, thank you”. This demonstrates your standards and they will soon learn.


Have something on the board for pupils to engage with as soon as they arrive;  a  question or puzzle is good, such as displaying four images and asking which is the odd one out. These things grab students’ attention.


Once they are all in, give your signal for quiet e.g. “I want a quality audience in 5–4–3–2–1 and…. stop. Everyone facing this way, pens down, eyes on me. Thank you.” Do this from a set position that you always use.


Resist at all costs the temptation to call out instructions over the general hubbub. If you ‘call out’ so will they. If you talk while they do then you are accepting the noise. DO NOT ANSWER ANYONE WHO CALLS OUT, EXCEPT TO CORRECT THEIR BEHAVIOUR. Excuse the capitals but that’s the most important sentence on this page,


Get the body language right. Remember 80% of what you communicate at the moment is non-verbal. Stand still and straight. Establish eye contact with as many pupils as possible. Smile – it makes you look confident.


Welcome the whole class in a moment when you have their full attention. The first five minutes of a lesson is like a sentence that needs punctuation. The early ‘whole class’ welcome, preceded by a full stop as it were, is a key component. This avoids ‘drifting’ into the first activity.


Speak as quietly as you can get away with. If your voice is too loud you give the impression that you expect a noisy class.


Take a formal register. Personally, I insist on a ‘Yes Sir’ or ‘Yes Mr Baker’ in answer to their names, as I think ‘here’ is a dismal word to start the day with.


Why should you hire me?

Here are some of the issues that I can help you sort: If the answers to any of the issues to the right is yes then get in touch – you have found the man you are looking for!

But you don't need to take it from me, have a look at my testimonials page.

If you have:

  • Some of your staff keep getting into unnecessary confrontations with pupils?
  • Some staff struggle to deal with social chatter?
  • Subject leaders who don’t take the lead on behaviour for learning
  • Head of house/year who are buried in the reactive and want to be proactive?

If you want to:

  • Improve attendance?
  • Improve behaviour?
  • Deliver SEAL whole school
  • Get help with the behaviour and safety SEF?
  • Have better behaviour and attendance data?
  • Get PLTS embedded?
  • Get pupil voice working?

And also:

Do you want the best whole staff behaviour CPD at an affordable cost?

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