Hero photograph
Photo by Nick Gunn

Relationship Management Update

Nick Gunn —

This article aims to update you around our strategies to support positive behaviour for learning at Lemonwood Grove School.

As in other areas of our curriculum, we have used Dr Julia Aitkin’s “Why →How→What” circles (Golden Circles) to develop our procedures around relationship management.

 Dr Julia Aitkin’s Circles Model — Nick Gunn


We start with our why, our core values and beliefs around relationship management.

At Lemonwood Grove, we believe that teaching and learning is founded on the quality of relationships (learner ↔ learner; staff ↔ learner; staff ↔ staff; staff↔ whanau). This is one of the reasons that we use the term relationship management rather than behaviour management.

We also believe that by creating conditions that foster motivation and engagement and respectful relationships (as above) we are setting learners up for success and to enable them to fulfil our vision the best of you, as you.


Our six principles of learning and our school values wrap around our relationship management core beliefs which are listed below:

LWG Principles of Learning:

  • Encouraging and empowering learners to make connections

  • Recognising that emotions are integral to learning

  • Creating environments which encourage curiosity and challenge learners to be creative

  • Ensuring assessment is authentic and purposeful

  • Placing learners at the centre

  • Providing cooperative and collaborative learning opportunities

Our Values:

  • Grit: empowers our learners to persevere, demonstrate resilience and learn from our mistakes

  • Responsibility: taking ownership/being accountable for your actions, behaviour, choices.

  • Integrity: we believe in being honest with others, true to yourself and grateful.

  • Thinking: allows us to make sense of, interpret, represent or model the world we experience. By using a variety of deep thinking skills, learners will be empowered to make connections and predictions, innovate, create, find and solve problems.


The final circle contains our what - the practices and systems that are in place at Lemonwood Grove School to support a robust and effective relationship management framework.

Here are some examples of the practices we are currently using at Lemonwood Grove.

  • Relationship Management Flow Chart

This is a framework that supports staff to respond with consistency to situations that occur in schools from time to time. Behaviours are grouped according to their nature and there is guidance around what steps should be taken, by whom, what communication is needed with parents and who will do this.

This document has been reviewed recently to ensure it is meeting our needs and aligns with our beliefs and principles around relationship management.

Please follow this link to view this document.

  • Communicating with whanau

This is a really important area and the flow chart discussed above gives our team guidance around who needs to be informed regarding relationship management issues including parents of the child harmed as well as the parents of “the wrongdoer”.

Sometimes, our team need to collect the facts and gather data around an incident - we endeavour to keep you updated around our processes.

  • External Professional Development

We are always looking to develop our practice and we engage with external agencies when needed. In January our staff took part in a workshop with Dr. Tracy Rohan, author of Teaching for Positive Behaviour, Supporting Engagement, Participation and Learning, a key resource published by the Ministry of Education. The session focussed on setting up our learning environments to enable learners to experience success with their learning and behaviour.

Tracy Rohan’s Teaching for Positive Behaviour resource — Nick Gunn

Many of our staff are Incredible Years trained or are currently undergoing this professional development. The RTLB (Resource Teachers of Learning and Behaviour) service facilitate this training which focuses on strategies teachers can use to support students to make positive choices around learning and behaviour.

  • Internal Staff Development and Reflection

We also provide opportunities for staff to learn from each other. This includes experienced staff working with less experienced staff and staff with particular skills and interests in this area sharing with others.

Recently as part of our professional development, staff “toured” the learning landscapes with a lens on relationship management. Each staff member shared strategies and systems to support positive behaviour for learning. This was a powerful session learning across and within our teams.

  • Restorative Conferences

When there are problems, a restorative conference is one practice we can use to help restore harm caused. This is the major focus of this approach, as well as providing the wrongdoer the opportunity to take ownership of the problem and empowering the person harmed to share the impact that this had on them.

A restorative conference typically involves the wrongdoer(s) and the those harmed and is facilitated by a staff member. Sometimes parents are asked to attend to support their child.

Please follow this link to view this document.

  • Planning for Individual Needs

We acknowledge that some learners need more support than others with their academic work, social skills and pastoral needs. We have a range of strategies and work with a number of agencies to support learners who have specific needs around behaviour/ relationship management. These include creating a Plan for Success with specific goals and strategies to support a learner, working with the RTLB Service, Mana Ake, Ministry of Education, School Based Mental Health Team to name a few. We have a Learning Support Coordinator (Nick) who helps to liaise with families, whanau, teachers and outside agencies to provide support where required.

  • Whanau Support

We really value the support of parents and caregivers when it comes to supporting relationship management. We endeavour to share the “good news” stories when we can too, rather than just the “problems”. Sometimes we ask parents to follow up on key messages and learnings that have come out of a problem or an issue at school.

The information above aims to provide an effective summary of our procedures around relationship management. If you have questions around any of the above, please feel free to approach a member of the team.

  • Zones of Regulation

Our next communication will give you information around Zones of Regulation, an important approach we have started to use to teach our learners to self regulate their behaviour.