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As a teacher, leader and teacher trainer, Paul Dix has been working to transform the most difficult behaviour in the most challenging urban schools, referral units and colleges for the last 25 years. Miraculously, Paul trained at Homerton College, Cambridge, after countless attempts to sabotage his own education. He then moved on to work in 'tricky' schools in East London, Nuneaton and Birmingham.
In addition to working directly with schools, Paul has advised the Department for Education on the teachers' standards, given evidence to the Education Select Committee and done extensive work with the Ministry of Justice on behaviour and restraint in youth custody. He has published five books on behaviour and assessment, in addition to over 250 articles on behaviour. Paul won a national training award in 2009 for his work in helping a school transform from 'failing' to 'good' in just nine months. He also chairs the board of directors of a multi-academy trust which comprises 11 special schools - a role he undertakes voluntarily - and leads the #BanTheBooths campaign (www.banthebooths.co.uk).
This is a book which any adult who deals with children, and not just teachers and others who work in school settings, would find enlightening, thought provoking and revealing. As we learn from the little snippets from the school reports of Paul Dix at the end of each chapter, the author has direct experience of being one of the ‘bad boys’ and now has more than 25 years of working to transform the most challenging behaviour in schools, referral units and colleges to call upon. As a 14-year-old he vowed he would change the way adults deal with behaviour and I defy any reader not to rethink their own strategies as a result of reading this book. Responsible adults should be just that – always in control of themselves before they attempt to take control of others. But this book is nothing to do with blaming teachers. Paul Dix is angry but he is angry with the lack of proper training in behaviour management and angry with the unrelenting drive for ‘progress’, pleasing Ofsted and analysing data which is destroying any ethos of pastoral care. Here chapter by chapter he asks hard hitting questions about school policies and behaviours and shows how these impact on students and often in a very counter- productive way. He writes with humour and the occasional frank expletive, he shares personal anecdotes, observations and tried and tested strategies backed up by theory, case studies and international examples. Each chapter concludes with three helpful checklists: Testing, Watch Out For and Nuggets which sum up, encourage and act as a quick aide memoire going forward. Ultimately the author’s message is about consistency and kindness. “ Visible consistency with visible kindness allows exceptional behaviour to flourish” This is a genuine must read that can genuinely transform schools and as his many examples show where improved behaviour leads, improved attainment follows.