Anger Management

Pupils may experience outbursts of temper for a variety of reasons for example:

  • Inability to manage conflict with staff or peers.
  • Immaturity.
  • Frustration - eg. inability to do a task.
  • Low self esteem or fear of failure.
  • Difficulties outside of school at home or in the community.
  • Certain conditions or syndromes - eg. ADHD, Autistic Spectrum disorders.
  • The impact of medical conditions or medication.


  • Do the outbursts happen at particular times or places?
  • Are there any recognisable triggers?
  • Is the work/task within the pupil's capabilities?
  • Has the pupil understood the instructions?
  • Is there adequate supervision in the yard?
  • Is the child familiar with the school's rules and routines?
  • Does the child have friends?
  • Are they reporting any difficulties with relationships - eg. bullying?
  • Have parents reported a change of circumstances at home?
  • Does the child have hearing/language difficulties?

Possible Strategies: Reactive

  • Avoid escalation by not shouting, lower the tone of the voice.
  • Send a pupil for help, if necessary.
  • Remove the audience or pupil where practicable.
  • Use restraint only where necessary and try to ensure that there is another adult present.
  • Where two parties are involved, re-assure them that both points of view will be listened to.
  • Don't attempt to discuss anything until the child is calm, make it clear to the pupil that you will wait.
  • Enable the child to make reparation, if not immediately after, then as soon as is practically possible.

Possible Strategies: Proactive

  • Work with the pupil over the long-term to identify and recognise triggers. One step back does not mean failure.
  • Work with other staff and keep a diary. This should consider the ABC of behaviour - Antecedent (what was the trigger), the Behaviour and the Consequence.
  • Gain the child's consent to familiarise other members of staff with these.
  • Work with the child to identify alternate responses and give them an opportunity to rehearse them.
  • Reward the pupil when they make the correct response.
  • Provide an identified place/person to which the child should go in the event of an incident. Practise going there.
  • Create quiet areas or alternative activities for pupils who find break-times difficult.
  • Liaise with parents and inform them of the plan of action and child's progress.
  • Use PSE lessons to work on conflict resolution, Circle Time, self-esteem, emotional literacy.
  • Liaise with staff regarding potential work difficulties.
  • Look for opportunities to praise pupils' work, performance etc.
  • Create anger management/social skills groups in school.
  • If concerned that the difficulty might be syndromic or medical, contact the relevant outside agencies.
  • Create opportunities for the child to build bridges.