Setting up Behaviour in Arbor

In this article, we'll show you how to set up all aspects of behaviour in Arbor.


  • 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.

New School Year Setup

Don't worry, you won't need to set everything up each year! 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


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.




Managing Behaviour Points

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

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 is the number of points you can distribute to 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.




Setting up Behaviour workflows

You can automate a number of follow-up processes to be actioned as soon as an incident is logged. For example, you may want to notify a student's head of year for a level 3 negative incident, and their form tutor for a level 2 negative incident.

  • You can use our built-in workflows based on levels by following the instructions below.
  • Or set up your own custom workflows for certain behaviour types: Custom Behaviour Incident Workflows
  • Or use a combination of the two!

You can also see an overview of how this can support your school here: Introduction to Behaviour in Arbor

Navigate to the incident severity

Go to Students > Behaviour > Setup. Select the Incidents tab. Then select the Automatic Incident Workflows section.



Select the severity you would like to set up the workflow for. In this example, I will be setting up a Level 3 Negative Incident.



You will be presented with the following workflow options.

Each of these can be clicked into and according to your wishes, can be either set up or not, depending on your behaviour policy and procedures. You can set up workflows for all the severity levels, all with different workflows should you wish, just see the sections below.


Notify primary guardians of incidents or detentions

You can choose to notify primary guardians if an incident is logged, or if their child is added to a detention session, or through an automatic workflow - see the section on Assign Automatic Detention below for how to turn this on.

You can choose to use different SMS or email templates you've set up, if you want a different message to show depending on the severity: Set up different email or SMS messages for incidents and detention severities

Notify a member of staff

You can set up incidents to automatically notify as many key members of staff as you like when an incident is created. The incident will appear in their 'Watched by me' section on the incident dashboard, and they will receive a notification in the top right corner.



To set up notifications choose a level of incident and click 'Notify member of staff' on the incident workflows page.



Select who to notify about this level of incident. Role in relation to child will pick out the head of year, form tutor, head of department, head of faculty or head teacher for each child involved in the incident.

Please note: in order to notify users with a role in relation to the student, the following needs to be set up:

  • Form Tutor - Each form needs at least one form tutor and the student needs a registration form
  • Head of Year - Each year group needs to have a head of year and the student needs to have a year group
  • Head/Second of Department/Faculty - The lesson must be linked to a course. The course must be linked to a Department, the Department/Faculty must have a head/second.

'Specific member of staff' will notify one user for all incidents created of this level regardless of the students involved.

'Allow staff to add notifications...' allows staff to choose who to notify when they create an incident.


Assign to a member of staff (Automatic assignee) 

You can set up incidents to automatically be assigned to the member of staff you would like to deal with the issue when an incident is created. The incident will appear in their 'Assigned to me' section on the incident dashboard, and they will receive a notification in the top right corner.



Select 'Assign to member of staff' on the incident workflows page.



You can now select who to assign this level of incident to. Role in relation to child will pick out the head of year, form tutor, head of department, head of faculty or head teacher for each child involved in the incident.

Please note: in order to notify users with a role in relation to the student, the following needs to be set up:

  • Form Tutor - Each form needs at least one form tutor and the student needs a registration form
  • Head of Year - Each year group needs to have a head of year and the student needs to have a year group
  • Head/Second of Department/Faculty - The lesson must be linked to a course. The course must be linked to a Department, the Department/Faculty must have a head/second.

'Specific member of staff' will notify one user for all incidents created of this level regardless of the students involved.



If a member of staff doesn't have the right role for an incident to be automatically assigned (for example, if there is no one listed as head of department) then the member of staff that logs the incident will be asked to select someone to assign the incident to. There can only be one assignee for each incident.

Assign automatic detentions or allow staff to give detentions

To automatically assign students to a detention if they are involved in a certain level of incident. Choose Auto-assign detention and then select the detention type you would like to assign.

Select Next available session to automatically enrol the student in the next available detention session or select do not assign a detention session to leave the student without a specific detention session (this will require someone to go in and assign the student a session).

Need time to inform parents of upcoming detentions? You can also allocate automatic detentions with a 24h delay! If an incident is logged at 10 am, the student will be given the next available detention after 10 am tomorrow.



Select 'Allow staff to assign detentions' to allow staff to assign students to detentions manually when they log incidents.



Auto close

The auto close workflow closes an incident automatically after the workflow has been run for it. For example, At school A for level 1 incidents, students automatically gain 2 behaviour points and message is sent to their parents. After this, the school don't want any further action to be taken on the incident so they select enable 'auto-close' to automatically resolve the incident after the actions have been taken.

To enable auto-closing, select Auto close.




Select this option to automatically escalate an incident after repetition. You can read more about escalations here: Taking a look at an example escalation workflow



Enter the number of incidents required to escalate to the next level. Then select the time period these incidents must occur in. You can select from:

  • 1 day
  • 1 school week (5 days)
  • 1 calendar week (7 days)
  • 2 school weeks (10 days)
  • 1 calendar weeks (14 days)
  • 1 month
  • Half term
  • Term
  • Year

Finally, select the level you would like to escalate to. Then click Save.

For example, if you select 1 calendar week, this resets 7 days after the first incident was logged. So if you select 2 as the escalation threshold, student with an incident on Friday and the following Monday will be escalated, but a student with an incident on the Friday and the next Friday wouldn't.



Top Tip: You won't be able to escalate the highest level.


Add/deduct points 

Select this option to automatically add or deduct behaviour points when this level of an incident is recorded.


Email staff when incidents are assigned to them

Select this option to email the assigned staff member with a link to the incident overview.



The staff member will receive an email when an incident is assigned to them. It will say 'New behaviour assignment' in the subject line.


Assign students to internal exclusions

It is possible to ‘Allow students to be assigned an internal exclusion’ as part of your school’s behaviour workflows.



If a student triggers a predefined ‘incident level’, then they will appear in the ‘Pending internal exclusions’ tab of the Internal Exclusions - Overview page.

It would then be up to the member of staff in charge of behaviour, or internal exclusions to allocate the student to an internal exclusion type and session.

Due to the serious nature of internal exclusions and factors such as internal exclusions room size and student behaviour clashes, we have set the system up so that it is not possible to automatically enrol students in an internal exclusion.

An internal exclusion must be assigned by a member of staff with the correct permissions to do this.



Top Tip: Check what actions and communications have already been done for an incident from the Actions Taken section in the incident overview.

actions taken.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.

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




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.



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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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