March 14, 2017

March 14, 2017

“Excellent practical guidance backed up with clear theoretical principles. We are now incorporating key ideas into our practice and policy. Staff were delighted with the sessions and are keen to own it in their practice.”

–> Headteacher, Alternative Provision, North-West London in March 2017

We recently provided training to all to an Alternative Provision school in Northwest London which, although having a low frequency of incidents of physical violence, have in their care children who have been excluded from mainstream schools for a variety of reasons including violence.

The team was particularly experienced in dealing with challenging behaviours from the children – from the very young to older teenagers – so a broad spectrum of intervention options ranging from simple proximity or body language guiding gestures to fully involved in physical restraint interventions were required to be incorporated into this short-format training course.

Our director of training, Gerard O’Dea, elected to have the team complete a program of online training prior to the training day in order to maximise the contact time with the Busy team on their inset day. This meant that, when the course started on the appointed day, the Training could link to the most pertinent issues of the day I’m the most challenging situations the staff face.

Because of the client group characteristics, including issues around gang involvement and knife crime, a core element of the training was the need for staff to always treat the children there are teaching with dignity and to show them respect at all times, especially during difficult moments where behaviour is being challenged.  This concept is a core attitude required within our communications and verbalisation skills and conflict management program.

Having practised a number of key verbalisation templates relating to specific conflict flashpoints which the staff see on a regular basis, the training proceeded into an exploration of holding skills and control tactics which may be necessary in the most challenging scenarios in which this team may be placed.

For us to then receive this extremely positive feedback from the headteacher of this alternative provision, is high praise indeed, especially in light of the fact that this team have had several training programs extended to them over the past many years.


Gerard O’Dea is a professional violence-management trainer/consultant who has been active in Positive Handling training for schools since 2006.  He delivers training (each day spelt with a ‘y’ it seems) to school staff staff who work with sometimes difficult, distressed or volatile children who might hurt themselves or others.   As the European adviser for ‘Verbal Defense and Influence’ his mission to to introduce the Five Maxims for Effective Communication Under Pressure to as many people as will listen to the message…

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