School trial: Helping to develop good behaviours

Written by: Pete Henshaw | Published:

The Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is funding Mentor UK to manage a randomised control trial of the Good Behaviour Game (GBG) and schools are being invited to apply

More children are starting school without being "learner ready" or having an understanding of what it means to be a good pupil.

Developing good behaviours that enable pupils to succeed at school and in life has always been an important aspect of primary education which is now becoming increasingly important and often more challenging.

Pupils with good academic results but with poor interpersonal behaviours are at a severe disadvantage in later life and are rarely able to turn their academic achievements into broader lifetime achievements.

With this in mind, the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF) is funding Mentor UK to manage a randomised control trial of the Good Behaviour Game (GBG) which has impressive results of long-term impact from the US and a benefits-to-cost ratio of about 27:1.

The GBG has two main aspects. First, teacher training comprising of two days initial training, a one-day booster, and support and feedback from a trained coach every two to three weeks. Second, a well-developed classroom intervention that rewards positive group as opposed to individual behaviour.

Classes are initially divided into mixed teams and teams receive checks on a posted chart when one of their members infringes one of the Game's four rules. Any team with four or fewer checks at the end of the allotted time is rewarded. The four rules are:

  1. We will work quietly.
  2. We will be polite to others.
  3. We will get out of our seats with permission.
  4. We will follow directions.

The game doesn't use curriculum time as it is implemented as a way of working during normal lessons. It evolves over time in terms of duration, frequency, rewards and delay of gratification. For example, sessions vary from 10 to 15 minutes at the start to perhaps a half-day towards the end of the year.

Mentor UK is currently recruiting schools from northern England to the trial with each school that implements the game benefiting from a £6,000 subsidy funded by the EEF.

Further details of the GBG, including a 10-minute video of its use in Oxfordshire and details of schools information events and how to participate in the trial, can be accessed via

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