Behaviour management


What is Positive Behaviour Learning?

Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL) (PDF, 259KB) is an evidence based whole school process to improve learning outcomes for all students.  Positive Behaviour for Learning brings together the whole-school community to create a safe, positive learning environment that enables student learning and wellbeing.

When PBL is implemented, teachers and students have more time to focus on relationships and classroom instruction. Some of the benefits for students and staff are:



  • reduced problem behaviour
  • increased time focused on instruction
  • improved social-emotional wellbeing
  • positive and respectful relationships among students and staff
  • support for teachers to teach, model and respond effectively to student need
  • a predictable learning environment where staff and students know what is expected to deliver effective practices that can be sustained over time.



PBL can be implemented in any school setting to support students from pre-school through to Year 12. In fact, many schools in our local area also use the PBL approach. The PBL framework supports schools to identify and successfully implement evidenced-based whole-school practices that enhance learning outcomes for children and young people.

Positive Behaviour for Learning at Mapleton State School

As a whole school community, we have been working on developing our Positive Behaviour for Learning (PBL) system. Positive Behaviour for Learning brings together the whole-school community to create a safe, positive learning environment that enables student learning and wellbeing. We began implementing PBL across the school via the ‘Top of the Range’ system throughout 2018. We sought feedback from parents regarding our positive behaviour for learning approach during the implementation process and we are using this feedback to refine our approach in 2019.

What is The Mapleton Way?

Our school rules are known as ‘The Mapleton Way’ (The 4C’s). They are:

  • Care for Others
  • Care for Self
  • Care for Learning
  • Care for the Environment

As a school, we focus on The Mapleton Way via discussions in the classroom, on the playground and communicate with our school community on parade, in the newsletter and on social media outlets. We support our students by discussing ways in which we can enact the school rules and relate it to positive behaviour choices. Teachers and school staff work together to explicitly explain what this looks, sounds and feels like to help our students build their understanding.

For example, when focusing on ‘Care for Others’ we would discuss:

  • manners and being polite including saying “Please”, “Thank you” and “Excuse Me”
  • moving around the school in an orderly manner and being considerate of others.
  • lining up when the bell goes.
  • being considerate of the feelings of others
  • sharing with others
  • speaking respectfully to staff, parents and students
  • showing care and concern for others 
  • actively Listen – take the time to listen to others by looking at them and not interrupting.
  • encouraging others
  • being helpful
  • congratulating others
  • respecting personal space.

What is the ‘The Top of the Range’?

Two of the key aspects for implementing PBL successfully include:



  • developing and using a common vision, language and experience to support PBL implementation
  • stating clear expectations of students and staff.



To help us address these aspects, we developed the ‘Top of the Range’ behaviour matrix which includes consistent language and visual prompts. The ‘Top of the Range’ visual prompt is on display in every classroom and helps to reinforce and consistently communicate to students our behavioural expectations.

The ‘Top of the Range’ is based on Five Levelled Tiers: Gold, Silver, Green, Orange and Red.


The Top of the Range is displayed on a chart in each classroom. It is used as a visual cue to help students reflect on their behaviour choices. Students who constantly demonstrate positive behaviour and always demonstrate ‘The Mapleton Way’ are acknowledged for their consistent and exemplary behaviours and will be placed on the Green, Silver or Gold sections of the chart.  Students who need reminders to make more positive behaviour choices, are on either orange level or red level and will develop an understanding that their current choice of behaviour not aligned to ‘The Mapleton Way’.  After listening to feedback from the school community, no names or pictures will be used to represent students; however, both teachers and students will be aware of who is achieving which level. This visual reminder is one way that we helping students reflect on their behaviour choices.

How does this “Top of the Range” level system work?

At the beginning of each school term, all students start on green level, which means they are expected to demonstrate school behaviours aligned with ‘The Mapleton Way’.  At the end of each school day, all students from Prep to Year 6 will colour their level on their individual tracking sheet. 

How does it work in the early years?

The Prep and Year 1 classes will use the traffic light system (green, red and orange lights) to help our younger students visually monitor their behaviour. The reason the younger students use the traffic light system is that developmentally these students require a simplified visual cue and a shorter time frame for reflection. For example, they benefit from reflecting at the end of each session rather than the end of the day. The traffic lights approach was recommended by our behaviour specialist Deb Price, as an effective prompt for students in the early years and this aligns to the strategies used in the 1,2,3 Magic workshop.

Over the term, if our students consistently achieve 15 green level behaviour days, they will automatically move up to silver level.  If they then consistently remain on silver for another 20 days, without moving to the orange or red level, they will then progress to Gold level. 

If students are placed on orange or red behaviour because they have chosen a behaviour that is not aligned with ‘The Mapleton Way’ school expectations, they will be on orange or red level until they have completed the required consequence.  A consequence for orange behaviour may mean they have time out in class or during lunch break.  During this time, they will complete a reflection sheet, which is designed to support students to think about the behaviour that they have chosen, and discuss with the teacher positive behaviour strategies that could be used next time.  Students then think about what behaviours they need to demonstrate so they can return to Green level behaviour. Teachers focus on helping students to develop positive behaviours and have discussions with the student and parents about ways they can best solve similar situations in the future.

Orange level behaviour is normally only given for that day or may, at times, be given also for the following day, if the consequence has not yet been followed through.  Once the reflection and consequence is complete, the student starts fresh and is placed back on green level. 

A consequence for red behaviour usually requires a suspension that is either given internally (student is required to do school work away from their own class) or is given externally (student is required to do school work at home).  The length of time for school suspensions is decided by Principal and discussed with parents based on the severity of the behaviour.  The Principal and staff work with the student and parents to develop positive strategies to ensure success in the future.

Even when a student demonstrates red level behaviour, once they have completed their consequence, they start back immediately on green level.  Students then focus on choosing positive school behaviours with support and positive reinforcement provided by staff.

Why put them back on green?

By starting back on green, students realise that they have a choice to continue demonstrating positive school behaviours and both the school and home have faith in them to make positive school behaviour choices.  If a student does not see an opportunity to achieve, they can become demotivated. Starting fresh after the consequence has been followed through, allows the child to be motivated to make better choices.

What is the end of term Celebration Day?

At the end of each school term, students will be given the opportunity to participate in a whole school celebration activity for an hour session.  There is a variety of activities to choose from depending on what behaviour level students have achieved. As a reward for exemplary behaviour, students who achieve gold level behaviour can choose to participate in any reward opportunity on offer.  Information will be sent home to parents during week 9 regarding these activities.   

What do the students say?

Throughout the ‘Top if the Range’ implementation process, we surveyed all students from Prep to Year 6 and asked for their feedback. From the data collated, we saw consistent response from all students in all year levels. Most students expressed that ‘Top of the Range’ helps them and makes them think about their behaviour and actions. Students felt that the ‘Top of the Range’ system enabled them to know what is expected from all teachers and staff. Many students expressed that this system is actively helping them better their behaviour and work. One student said that it was “actually helps them work harder and they really like it, it is fun” Students are really enjoying the system and they have noticed student behaviour has improved.

What else do we do to acknowledge positive behaviour?

The ‘Top of the Range’ behaviour system is only one small part of the school’s approach to Positive Behaviour Learning.  As part of PBL, Mapleton State School is committed to meeting the learning and behavioural needs of all students.  For this to occur, the school not only focuses on Whole School approaches to PBL, but also understands there is a need for targeted and intensive support systems. Staff praise students on a regular basis. This is done verbally or through ‘Gotchas’ or even sometimes a postcard is sent home to parents.  We encourage students to do ‘Random Acts of Kindness’ eg. using manners, sharing with others, helping others when necessary etc.  Even the smallest gestures can make such a positive impact.   

What are Gotchas?

Gotchas are used as another way to acknowledge positive behaviour. If a staff member sees a child exhibiting exemplary behaviours they give the child a ‘Gotcha’ which is a slip of paper (like a ticket) which identifies what the child has done well and ‘The Mapleton Way’ aspects that they are exemplifying. This ticket goes in to a box in the office and may be drawn out on parade. The ‘Gotchas’ are another way to celebrate positive behaviour in our school.  Next term we will modify the gotcha system to ensure all students are acknowledged for their efforts.

What next?

We will continue to share further Positive Behaviour Learning practices and processes at Mapleton State School with parents and the community. Our goal is that working together, our school community can continue to respond positively and support our journey in establishing positive practices that enhance student learning and potential. If you would like any further information and need clarification regarding this, please come and chat with either Julianne or the classroom teachers.

Last reviewed 13 August 2021
Last updated 13 August 2021