Students sitting in a classroom facing a chalkboard

An Interview with Vicki Robinson, Associate Principal of Hamilton North School

Hamilton North School is a specialist learning school in New Zealand. Hamilton North School has four Certified Instructors who train all teacher colleagues and teacher aids. We caught up with Associate Principal, Vicki Robinson to hear how CPI training has provided a consistent practice for when students were displaying risk behaviour. 

Describe the requirement or need for training. Where and why did you need assistance? What were or are you hoping to achieve?

A number of our students experience distress that can lead to imminent risk to themselves and/or others. We wanted a clear and coordinated approach to support them and to de-escalate a situation. We also wanted a common language to talk through students' needs and how we approach them, CPI provided us with this.

Why did you feel that CPI were best placed to meet this need?

CPI training provided a lot of work and thinking around trauma, de-escalation as well as disengagements should our students (many of whom are non-verbal) grab us to communicate their needs. It also provided a therapeutic response when students demonstrated risk behaviour.

Who took part in the training from your organisation?

We are currently training all staff, teachers and teacher aids.

Did the training meet your expectations? Were there any gaps?

The training did meet my expectations. The gaps I see are in needing rewards systems alongside CPI, that pay attention to the behaviours that we are trying to grow in our students. eg noticing kind words and paying attention to this. 

What are your organisation’s plans for future implementation of what was learnt on the training?

  • We are using a modified version of the Safety and Support plans for key students and when we transition students. My hope is that over time all students will have these plans, so we can meet students' needs and listen to what their behaviour is communicating. Reviews of any incidents can be seen as a learning opportunity that increases staff capacity to support and de-escalate.
  • Ongoing training and refresher courses.
  • Setting up a behaviour support team that includes CPI trainers, to work with teachers and staff that are working with our more challenging students.

Do you have any measurable changes such as a reduction in spend on behaviour, improvement in staff well-being, absence and retention and a reduction in use of isolation rooms / sanctions?

Observable change in consistency of practice when students are displaying behaviour that demonstrates anxiety, defensive, risk and tension reduction.

To find out more about how we can help with Safety Intervention Foundation Training see our programme page for more information.