Literacy Pirates

a fleet of learning centres in Hackney, Haringey and soon beyond

Our Behaviour Policy

The lovely thing about working one-to-one with kids is that there are really very few behaviour issues.

The main thing you can do to make sure behaviour stays positive is to model good behaviour at all times. This is a great chance for us to show how great it is when people treat each other with respect. If the children are not allowed to do something, don’t do it yourself.

If an incident does occur, please feel confident enough to challenge the behaviour: kids need to hear that their behaviour is unacceptable and adults often shy away from telling them this in order to avoid confrontation. Children usually know when their behaviour is wrong, but will push the boundaries if they think they can get away with it.

Behaviour Expectations

Us Pirates don’t like ‘Rules’ with a capital R, and this is why we live by the Pirates’ Code, rather than the Big Book of Boring Rules.

Our Pirates’ code is:

A Hackney Pirate is committed to exploration, pulls their weight on deck, and never lets another crewmate down.

The code should be known by everyone. The language of the code should be used regularly by all Hackney Pirates’ staff and volunteers and be a tool for discussing behavioural expectations.
The code captures core expectations such as being involved, being helpful and being kind and respectful.

For clarity there is also a list of behaviour expectations (see below). All volunteers and staff members are given this for reference, but to avoid an atmosphere of excessive rules that might be associated with school, it is not for explicit use with Young Pirates’. Instead it is to help volunteers and staff to know what is expected of the Young Pirates.

The list of expectations is as follows:

Being respectful to everyone (staff, volunteers, visitors, Young Pirates)

  • Listening to each other
  • Being polite
  • Introducing yourself and saying goodbye in a friendly way
  • Saying please and thank you
  • Thinking about other people’s feelings and realising that you have an effect on them
  • Using appropriate language and references

Following instructions from staff and volunteers swiftly and graciously

  • Healthy food
  • Only using your phone at break
  • Only eating during break
  • Asking the volunteer/staff member if they can go to the toilet
  • Sitting at hot-decks unless invited to move
  • Joining in

Being helpful

  • Tidying up at the end of the session
  • Explaining to your volunteer what you’ve been doing

Being kind

  • Encouraging other Young Pirates
  • Welcoming new people
  • Speaking kindly about others
  • Recognising everyone’s talents
  • Not answering back

Taking responsibility for yourself

  • Acknowledging when you haven’t met expectations
  • Taking an active part in the session
  • Saying sorry

The Storm Barometer

The Hackney Pirates are a pretty positive bunch, but we all have our bad days. Sometimes our Young Pirates might have had a tough time at school, be really tired or just a bit fed up. It’s really important, however, that we maintain high expectations for their work and behaviour to make it really clear what is expected from them.

That is why we have the storm barometers. They will be out on the desks for use during sessions. If your Young Pirates is following our Pirate’s Code and the expectations outlined above, then the arrow should remain in the calm waters section.

If a Young Pirate is being consistently rude, negative, non-responsive and you are constantly having to pick them up on behaviour than please move the arrow into the
stormy waters section. This signifies that the Young Pirate is being warned about their behaviour. Please be really clear about your reasons for putting them into stormy waters so the Young Pirate knows what they have done wrong. Then give them a chance to explain what they need to do to get out of stormy waters.

If their behaviour then improves you can move the arrow back to calm waters and acknowledge that you are impressed that they managed to get their behaviour back on track.

If they haven’t improved in 5 minutes, then the arrow should move into a storm and the Young Pirate will know that you need to inform the session leader. They will then take the next steps which will usually involve a private conversation with the child, resulting in an agreement about how the behaviour will change. If it doesn’t a phone call will be made to their parents, and in the worst case scenario, their parents will be asked to collect them.

Like we said earlier, it is rare that you have to worry about behaviour here, but please do use the storm barometers if you need to as the Young Pirates are familiar with them and we want to ensure that the Young Pirates are able to fully engage in sessions without behaviour being a barrier.


Last review 01 November 2016

Next review 01 November 2017


If you have any questions about the above, please contact