Skip to content

Special educational needs and disabilities (SEND)

Circle of adults

Circle of adults – Supporting staff in problem-solving around challenging behaviour

The circles of adults approach utilises a structured form of colleague support to mobilise adult thinking about problem behaviour and to arrive at agreed strategies.
Circle of adults sessions encourage consistent staff responses and a team approach to managing challenging behaviour.
A typical session includes:

  • Setting ground rules.
  • Initial case presentation.
  • Building a rich, descriptive picture of the child’s needs and circumstances.
  • Developing empathetic thinking.
  • Reflecting on relationships.
  • Looking at the child’s context.
  • Exploring hypotheses.
  • Agreeing strategies.
  • A visual record of the session.

Sessions last for 90 minutes and require a minimum of six and a maximum of 12 staff members, including the case presenter.
Circle of adults sessions can be used:

  • for single consultations for individual children with challenging behaviour
  • to create a forum for multiagency discussion and problem solving
  • as continuing professional development for those working with difficult and challenging youngsters (when delivered as a series of sessions)

Further follow-up and training can be offered so that staff can facilitate their own sessions.
Comments from previous evaluations include the following:

“Excellent session – liked the framework”.
“Good to get staff together to talk”.
“Enabled me to feel positive about this child”.
“Total relief to sit and talk about this child”.
“Brilliant – getting staff to agree and adhere to strategies”.