The Kindness Principle


Sets out how schools can establish and sustain a behaviour management approach rooted in values, acceptance and a genuine understanding of children’s behaviour.


Written by Dave Whitaker, The Kindness Principle: Making relational behaviour management work in schools advocates a behaviour management approach rooted in values, acceptance and a genuine understanding of children’s behaviour.

In an education system that too often reaches for the carrot-and-stick approach to dealing with poor pupil behaviour, an approach built on kindness and compassion might just provide the cure.

The Kindness Principle begins with the idea that relationships should be at the heart of behaviour management and culture, and sets out the ways in which the adoption of relational approaches can help create safer and happier schools. Schools where all staff and learners are valued and understood, where expectations and standards are high, and where kindness and acceptance matter.

Dave Whitaker explores why it is so important to understand children – offering techniques and advice on how to work effectively with all children (even the most challenging and troubled ones) without resorting to zero-tolerance, no-excuses and consequence-driven practices.

Dave also shares a wealth of real-life experiences from some of the most challenging schools in the country, along with research-informed insights that will help teachers understand children’s behaviour in a new light. To this end he provides a wealth of guidance to help develop effective practice and learn from people who have actually walked the walk and don’t just talk the talk.

Furthermore, the topics covered in the book include: restorative approaches, unconditional positive regard, building personal resilience, structures and routines, and the ins and outs of rewards and sanctions.

Suitable for teachers, school leaders and anyone working with children.

Chapters include:

Chapter One: Unconditional positive regard

Chapter Two: Creating a culture

Chapter Three: No excuses, plenty of fear

Chapter Four: Rewards, sanctions and praise

Chapter Five: Behaviour policy – why bother?

Chapter Six: Intimacy, warmth, banter and trust (and a bit about the brain)

Chapter Seven: Background influences (and a bit more about the brain)

Chapter Eight: Conflict resolution, de-escalation and the power of language

Chapter Nine: Exclusions – how do we ever justify giving up on a child?

Additional information

Page count





222mm x 182mm

Publication date

April 2021



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