Case Study – Evaluation Report
Impact of Behavioural Support Strategies (BSS) at Linn Moor School
Report by Bert Lawrie (Training Manager for VSA) and Irene Stevens (Research Manager SIRCC)
Aim of Evaluation
To examine the impact of Behavioural Support Strategies (BSS) at Linn Moor over a
10-year period from 1998 to 2007, while analysing the extent to which approaches to behavioural management have changed in the past 10 years including the use of restraint and also examine staff perceptions of changes in behavioural management strategies.
BSS has appeared to have had a positive impact on the reduced use of physical interventions; staff are working more proactively and understand the need for accurate recording. Newly appointed staff need extra support to implement proactive strategies despite the high levels of training. There has been a major culture shift over the period of study.
In relation to behaviour directed at other students, it should be remembered that staff legally have to intervene as they have a Duty of Care to all students.
Restraint may be essential to comply with the common law Duty of Care under the Children (Scotland) Act 1995 (Holding Safely, pg. 3).
This is most likely to involve the use of a physical intervention. This may be the case even when staff feel that it is counter-productive in the longer term. Staff are also aware that they need to try to understand the function of the behaviour as this would influence their actions as well as their response. Is the child wishing to escape from a task or escape from staff? Is it to gain attention, or an attempt at communication? Whatever the function, staff may be compelled to physically intervene, regain safe control over the situation and to restore the situation as to where it was before.
The need for physical interventions, therefore, will never go away. However, as the implementation of BSS at Linn Moor demonstrates, the number, duration and severity of physical interventions can be affected by the comprehensive application of proactive approaches like BSS as long as these are congruent with the overall philosophy of the residential setting. While the importance of consistent practice, good communication between education and care staff, and gaining experience cannot be denied, the implementation of BSS has contributed positively to the service offered by Linn Moor.