Culture and Behaviour: Creating a strong school culture to positively influence behaviour

Culture and Behaviour: Creating a strong school culture to positively influence behaviour

Culture and Behaviour: Creating a strong school culture to positively influence behaviour

This Spotlight will focus on Q3 Academy Langley, part of Mercian Trust. When it was built, it was the first brand-new secondary school in Sandwell for more than a decade, serving the Oldbury area.

The school is located in the heart of the Black Country. Q3 Langley’s pupils reflect the wonderful multi-cultural mix of the West Midlands, teaching children aged 11-16 from a wide range of backgrounds. They hope to see the academy grow to the full capacity of approximately 1500 pupils by 2025.


In this spotlight you will find:

  • Positive staff views on pupil behaviour compared to the national average
  • Approaching behaviour with support: Resources and quick response strategies
  • Culture as a foundation for growth and behaviour
  • What is Family Lunch and Breakfast, and how it supports behaviour and culture in school?
  • Continuous improvement and future development

Exceedingly Positive Staff Views on Behaviour

In their most recent Staff Stakeholder Survey, staff at Q3 Academy Langley were 47% more positive about pupil behaviour compared to the national average.


The responses from staff at Q3 Academy Langley to the question, “On a scale from 1-5, how would you describe student behaviour across the school?” were 90% positive, 47% higher than the national average. 0% of staff reported behaviour being “Extremely Poor” at Q3 Academy Langley.

When it comes to staff at Q3 Academy Langley getting support with student behaviour, staff were 88% positive in their responses, much higher than the national benchmark. 

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The responses from staff at Q3 Academy Langley to the question, “How easy or difficult is it to get support with student behaviour?” were 88% positive, 44% higher than the national average. Again 0% of staff reported finding it “very difficult” to get support with behaviour at Q3 Academy Langley. 

When much of the discussion in the education sector lately concerns poor pupil behaviour, looking for beacons of positive practice for inspiration can help others see the topic in a different light.

Q3 Academy Langley’s story:
Approaching Behaviour with Support: Resources and Quick Response Strategies

''I personally feel that attendance and behaviour are the most important things to get right in a school, and then everything else follows. A big part of our messaging to prospective families is that our main focus is behaviour. We want teachers to be able to teach and children to be able to learn, and we've kept that all the way through to now. We have close to 1,400  pupils on roll at the moment, which is considerably more than the 153 pupils we had in year one. However, the message has always been the same, and that's been my driving force for staff development, too.''

To ensure work on behaviour is a priority, pastoral support sits on top when it comes to our budget, making sure pupil wellbeing and everything around it is getting the resources needed. We are continuously monitoring pupil wellbeing post-COVID, and with increasing mental health challenges and safeguarding challenges, it is increasingly more and more important. In addition to that, although my heads of year are teachers, they teach the same teaching load as my deputy heads, giving them more time to support their colleagues. We have minimal changeover of staff with lower than average staff churn, which I think is a result of how we support our staff.

One of the support mechanisms we use to support our staff with behaviour in the classroom is a live feed contact system, which allows school staff to request support in the classroom when needed. We use the system to get a member of the pastoral staff to the needed classroom as quickly as possible, to speak to a child who is struggling with behaviour or emotions and get them back into the classroom learning. With this type of quick response strategy, we allow the classroom teacher to keep going with the lesson, ensuring the rest of the class gets the learning they need.

The live feed contact system also supports staff if they are out of the classroom or required elsewhere on site. This system was introduced to help deploy resources to the correct areas of the school as efficiently as possible, and this has had a really positive impact on how staff feel supported regarding behaviour and pupils' pastoral needs.

Culture as a Foundation for Growth and Behaviour

Culture at Q3 Academy Langley emphasises the importance of strong foundations - making sure our approach to behaviour is embedded in our school’s culture, an especially important factor as we continue to grow.

Some of the ways we have worked on embedding positive behaviour into our school culture are Family Lunch and Breakfast, the Company system (similar to a traditional house system seen in many schools), and our Wednesday afternoon enrichment offer, all of which show we are #changingthenarrative for what is possible here in Sandwell. 

What is Family Lunch and Breakfast, and how it supports behaviour and culture in school

Daily Family Lunch is one area that has positively impacted our school culture and behaviour. Children are taught the soft skills of conversation, good table manners, and kindness. 

The idea behind Family Lunch is that there are six roles: six children sit together at a table to eat. One pupil brings the food to the table and serves the other children. Another one pours the water while they all lay the table. Children learn how to lay the table properly. After eating the main course, children pass their plates down to the front of the table politely and in an orderly fashion. One pupil returns the full tray of dirty dishes to the front of the hall. Another pupil serves the dessert. After eating dessert, the remaining two pupils clear the dessert bowls away, wipe the table and clear the water jugs and cups. Since we introduced Family Lunch at Q3 Academy Langley, it has evolved. It started very similarly to how I've described, but now the meals are delivered, and post-COVID, they are pre-made in boxes. All students on the table do still have roles.

q3 langley academy family lunch and breakfast

Source: Q3 Langley Academy 

Teaching staff are allowed to join the family lunch if they want (Lunch is paid for if they do join in and sit with the children). In addition to this, members of SLT are also present in the dinner hall and join in the lunches. The presence of well-trained staff, such as SLT and Teaching Staff, who know children well and interact and play with the children has improved behaviour at lunchtime play.  Our culture at Q3 Academy Langley has grown as the school has grown, as has family lunch, and I think they have both played a large part in creating a safe environment for our pupils. 


Continuous Improvement and Future Development

We continuously analyse our school data as a leadership team; we explore the data we have to identify lessons to support and to identify children and behaviours that need work and support. I actively encourage all of my leadership staff to be out in the classrooms and amongst pupils and colleagues to ensure they feel supported on a daily basis.

''For me, as Headteacher, we have what I call “hot lessons'' (tricky lessons and observations) that designated staff attend to check in with colleagues. In my conversations with staff, they identify behaviours or elements of the curriculum that they would like support with, and as a result, I arrange a “hot lesson", which I support and observe in class. It may be that we also identify these lessons to observe and support by exploring the data we have available to us. We then go around and monitor these classes and go into them numerous times during the 100-minute lesson. Afterwards, I give some feedback and we discuss the lesson to share observations and comments. ''

We have exceptionally high expectations of our young people, and everything we do is centred around providing them with the highest quality of education possible.

About Q3 Academy Langley

''Over the years, we have built a national reputation for innovation and are proud to host visitors from across the country! Q3 Langley is a proud participant in the Midlands Knowledge Hub and also a host school for the DfE’s Exemplary Leadership Programme.

Ofsted rated Q3 Langley as a good school, praising the behaviour, pastoral support, and safeguarding systems. However, inspectors wrote that Langley is ‘not a normal school’, something in which we take great pride.''

Peter Lee

Headteacher of Q3 Academy Langley since March 2015


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