Build part 1 - How to set up Behaviour in Arbor

Begin, Build, Boost

You're at Build, the second step in your school's journey to getting the most out of behaviour in Arbor!

This Build step is split into two parts. In this first part we will look at setting up your behaviour areas. In the second part we'll then create workflows based on this setup.



Let's take a look at how to get your behaviour area set up, and make sure the right people can record behaviour.

How long will it take?

  • Check permissions - 10 minutes
  • Set up Behaviour Types - 10 minutes
  • Check Behaviour Incident settings - 5 minutes
  • Move historic Behaviour Point balances (optional) - 30 minutes
  • Set up Point Award scales - 30 minutes per scale
  • Set up a Detention - 10 minutes
  • Set up an Internal Exclusion - 10 minutes


Check permissions

You'll want to make sure everyone in your school has the right permissions to set up, record and access behaviour:

  • Behaviour: Behaviour Policy or School: Action: Behaviour: Administer - Set up and edit behaviour setup
  • Behaviour: Administer/View My Students - Log behaviour and see totals for students you teach
  • Behaviour: View All Students - View statistics
  • Behaviour: Log behaviour incident or Log point award - Give to any staff to record behaviour outside the classroom but not edit anything

If you don't have the permission, you'll need to ask your admin team to give you permission using these instructions.

Top Tip for Year End

Don't worry, you won't need to set everything up each year as most of your setup just rolls over! To prepare for September, you'll just need to set up detentions and add your Internal exclusion types by following these instructions instead of the ones below: Copying Behaviour over to this next year


Setting up to record Behaviour Incidents

Schools want to keep accurate records of student behaviour to enable staff to follow up and spot patterns so they can intervene and improve behaviour. In Arbor, this can be done through recording behaviour as ‘incidents’. On each behaviour incident you can record:

  • Behaviour type
  • Location and time
  • Students and staff members involvement
  • The follow up needed to resolve the incident
  • Physical Interventions

Managing Behaviour Types

Arbor allows you the flexibility to create your own behaviour types e.g. Fighting/ smoking etc and to add a severity ranking on a scale of +/-5. You can also archive any behaviour types you don't want to use, and they won't be available to users when logging an incident.

You can choose to notify a staff member of specific behaviour types instead of whole severities - click into any of the Behaviour Types you have set up and choose to notify a staff member by role or to notify specific members of staff. 

Adding a behaviour type

If you want to add your own behaviour types, go to Students > Behaviour > Setup and go to the Types tab. To add your own behaviour types click +Add in the top right-hand corner.



A slide over will appear and you can add the details of the Behaviour here, including the severity.

You can also add staff members who may need to be notified either by role eg Form Tutor, Head of Year or by name.

Click the green Add Behaviour button to complete.


Editing a behaviour type

If you want to edit a behaviour type, you can! On the Students > Behaviour > Setup > Types tab, click the type you want to edit.

Make the changes, then click Save Changes.



You can also edit who is notified when a behaviour type is received in bulk by ticking the boxes next to the type and clicking the Bulk action button.



Removing a behaviour type

You have two options to remove a behaviour type from the list available to users when logging an incident:

  • Archiving the behaviour type - This can be used to switch the behaviour type off for an amount of time and is reversible.
  • Deleting the behaviour type - This will completely delete the behaviour type and is non-reversible. You would need to set up the behaviour type again.


To archive a behaviour type, click the behaviour type, then click the Archive button.

If you archive a behaviour type then you won't be able to assign it to new incidents. You will still be able to see a record of any previous incidents logged for that behaviour type and you can still make custom reports with this data in too as long as the date of the report includes the time that the type was active. 



You can also archive behaviour types in bulk by ticking the boxes next to the type and clicking the Bulk action button.



The behaviour type will move from being an 'Active Behaviour' to an 'Archived Behaviour'. View these by clicking the drop-down menu at the top of the page.



If you want to unarchive the behaviour type, just click it, then click the Unarchive button or use the bulk edit feature again.




To delete a behaviour type, click the behaviour type, then click the Delete button.



Please note: When you delete a behaviour type, any past incidents recorded with this type will instead display the derived incident level but will not display the type.




Incident settings

You can toggle all these settings from the bottom of the Students > Behaviour > Setup > Incidents tab if you have the School: Behaviour: Administer permission.


Preventing users from editing incidents

You can choose to not allow your staff to edit incidents once they have been logged. This can be useful if behaviour incidents are used as evidence for exclusions, in meetings with parents and sometimes in court.



This is by default set to ‘Yes - allow editing of behaviour incidents after they have been logged’, but you can change this to not allow editing.


Show positive behaviour types first

Want to list positive incident types first when logging an incident? We’ve added the option to toggle this to show most positive level behaviour types at the top and most negative at the bottom of the drop-down when logging an incident - encouraging staff to record the good times as well as the not-so-good. 

This is by default still set to negative first, but you can change this setting.


Create separate incidents by default

You can toggle whether the box to create separate incidents is ticked by default when users log an incident.





Managing Behaviour Points

Behaviour Points are a great way to record assign a value to positive and negative occurrences in your school. To setup behaviour points you must first create and define your scale.

Moving over your historic balances

We don't migrate behaviour points, so you may wish to set initial balances for student points, you have two options:

  • Add a User Defined Field - this option is quicker, but you can only analyse using a Live Feed or custom formula in the Custom Report Writer.
  • Log all points for each student - this option takes longer to set up, but enables you to analyse your past behaviour anywhere in Arbor.

You can see how to do either here: Add historic behaviour points and initial points balances

Point award scales in Arbor

Creating your new Point Award Scale

Go to  Students > Behaviour > Setup , then select the  Point Awards tab. Click +Add to add a new scale.



  • Choose the ‘directionality’ of your point scale.  This can be positive, negative or neutral.  A positive scale refers to an increase in points given over time, negative refers to the scale deducting points, a neutral scale means that points can either be rewarded or deducted.  
  • Select your minimum and maximum points.  This limits the number of points a staff member can give a student at any one time.
  • Choose a point reset cycle and opening balance. This determines the starting balance on the Totals reporting page - more details here: How does our behaviour point scale reset?
  • Choose how much information about this set of points to display on the Parent Portal. For more information on what is shown on the Parent Portal and how to edit it, click here

Then click Create Point Award Scale.



Your scale will then be set up. You will then need to add reasons and attributes. You can assign standard behaviours to receive a set amount of points to increase the efficiency and consistency of the points system in your school. You can add as many or few attributes as you wish!

In the Reasons/attributes section click +Add.



In the slide over that appears, name the reason/attribute for which points will be awarded/deducted and how many points will be awarded/deducted for this specific behaviour.

Finish by clicking on the green Add Reason/Attribute button.


Editing an existing scale

You can edit existing scales by clicking the scale and clicking Manage Point Award Scale.



You can then edit any of the information or add more reasons.


Removing Attributes

If you delete an existing attribute, any points logged with this attribute will remain. They'll just have a blank Category field where the attribute was.

blank category.png



Setting up detentions

To add students to detentions, you must first have set them up and scheduled slots.

Setting up Detentions

Create Detention Types in Students >  Behaviour > Setup, and select the Detentions tab.

To create and schedule a detention click on +Add on the right-hand side of the page.



A slide over will appear to Add Detention Type for Academic Year.



The detention you have just created will now be listed in the Detentions Type Table.

Clicking on a detention in the table will take you to the Detention Overview Here there is an Overview tab and a Timetable tab.

Click on the Timetable tab and then the green +Add button to schedule detention sessions.

You can schedule one-off or regular sessions, simply click on the option you want to create.



This will take you to a slide over where you are able to enter all the details about the detention session you are setting up.

  • Please note that it does not matter what you choose as the Session name as this is not displayed anywhere.
  • You aren't able to set multiple locations for detentions, but you can add more than one staff member.



The scheduled slots will then display.



The detention session or sessions you have created will now be visible on the Detentions Dashboard under the Upcoming Detentions tab.



Be sure to decide in your detentions policy whether to allow detentions to be issued ad-hoc, or whether they can only be assigned when logging a behaviour incident. Do this from Students >  Behaviour > Setup in the Detentions tab.



Setting up Internal Exclusions

Internal exclusions can be set up in Students > Behaviour > Setup. Select the Internal Exclusions tab. This section allows you to define the different types of internal exclusion you will be setting up.

Top Tip: If you need to access this page you'll need the School: Action: Behaviour: Administer or the School: Policy: Behaviour: Behaviour Policy permission. See how your admin team can give you this permission in this article.

Step 1 - Manage your Internal Exclusion reasons

To add a new reason, click +Add in the Internal Exclusion reasons section. 



Add the reason name, then click the green button to add it. Users will then be able to select this reason when assigning an internal exclusion.



Any unwanted reasons (Arbor or user-defined) can be ‘archived’, or you can modify the names of reasons you have already created (if you have not yet recorded internal exclusions using this reason). 

To archive an Arbor-defined reason, click the reason, then click Archive.



To archive or modify the name of a User-defined reason, click the reason.

Note that changing the name of a reason will also change any historic references to this internal exclusion reason. Please archive this reason and create a new one if you do not wish to change any historic references.



You can see and unarchive your archived reasons if you select Archived reasons and click Apply.


Step 2 - Add your Internal Exclusion types

Click +Add to create new Internal Exclusion types.



Add an internal exclusion name, then click the green button.



After creating the Internal Exclusion it will take you automatically to the Timetable setup or you can come back to this later. (If you choose to do this later just highlight the Internal exclusion that needs to be timetabled e.g Periods 1 and 2 and click on this exclusion type. This will take you to the Timetable Setup overview.) 

Go to the Timetable tab, then click +Add in the Timetable section. 



This will allow you the choice of creating a one-off or a regularly occurring internal exclusion. Select which type to create.



If you choose to create a repeating session, you can choose the dates the session should run on. You can only select one room for a session to run in, but you can add multiple staff members.

Top Tip: Students cannot be added to internal exclusions spanning more than one day: Can I add an internal exclusion across more than one day?



When the internal exclusion has been successfully timetabled, you can start adding students and additional staff to the sessions. You can see how to add students here: Adding a student to an Internal Exclusion




What's next?

So you've built out your behaviour types and exclusion and detention schedule and you're wondering what else you can do with them?

This Build step is split into two parts. In the second part we'll create workflows to automate a lot of follow-up work using Behaviour Incident Workflows. Click the button below to jump to the next step in your journey.

Build - Behaviour Incident Workflows

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I'm still stuck!


  • it would be useful if schools could customise their own list of Take Actions/Actions Taken. The current list does not include actions such as discussed with student(s), cooling off period but actions of some significance. The Actions Taken need to reflect the school's behaviour policy and if the school cannot take ownership of this list then that is quite difficult to implement. Also the school may undertake two actions such as contact parents and discuss with student

  • Hi Jennie Davies thanks for leaving a comment! That's a great idea that you'd love Arbor to be customisable with the school's Behaviour Policy.

    As what you'd like isn't currently available in Arbor, you'd need to submit this as feedback to our product team. They regularly review suggestions from our schools. You can submit feedback here.

  • When you have auto email to parents enabled is there a place to set the "from/auto reply" email address so you can have responses go to "behaviour@" mailbox for example or is it fixed tho the main default school email address as set in Arbor? 





  • Hi Peter, thanks for your comment. Automatic system emails are usually sent from or your school's email address. This isn't customisable I'm afraid.

  • When schools migrate to Arbor is it possible for the points to be migrated and imported in bulk as a continuation? 

  • Hi Michelle, I'm afraid this isn't possible. However, you can set an opening balance for all students for a point award scale, as shown above.


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