Aran Hall School take Part in Educational Research and Sharing Best Practice

Aran Hall School

Pupils at Aran Hall School in Gwynedd, North Wales have autism, learning disabilities and associated challenging behaviour that can be severe. The pupils sometimes react badly when they are denied access to their preferred activities. Simply saying ‘no’ in the past has led to an escalation in disruptive behaviour, including aggression, shouting and throwing things. So the Principal of the School, Duncan Pritchard, decided to investigate what training would best prepare staff to deal with these situations.

The research was conducted with Bangor University and Nova Southeastern University (USA)

Twenty members of staff took part in the research. They were split into two groups, an experimental group and a control group.

The control group had traditional workshop training alongside the reading and reviewing of behaviour management plans. The experimental group were coached in two verbal responses through ninety minutes of traditional training, a card games and role play session. The role play used thirty scenarios based on real episodes of behaviour that had happened at the school.

The data collected showed that rates of problematic behaviour were lower for the staff who had received the role play training than for staff in the control group; therefore the findings suggested that role play training was more effective than more traditional approaches. Questionnaires completed by staff after the training showed that they felt more confident in managing problem behaviour. Role play training has now become integral as part of the school’s induction programme for all new staff.

Due to copyright we are unable to publish the full research papers. To find out more information about the report please email Duncan Pritchard on