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Developing a Behaviour Agreement

Dealing with disruptive or demanding behaviour is rarely straightforward.  However, there are some strategies that make it easier. If the behaviour is serious or repeated it may be useful to conduct a meeting with a student with a view to implementing a behaviour agreement.  

Before the meeting

  • Establish a clear understanding of the behaviour and associated problems
  • Clarify other policies or procedures that may apply, such as harassment and discrimination or student discipline policies
  • Consult with colleagues, student support services (counselling and/or the disability service) to obtain advice on handling the situation
  • Set clear goals for the meeting. For example, the student accepts referral for counselling, agreement is made regarding behaviour, staff agree to deal more effectively with the student
  • Invite the student to the meeting, providing the student with adequate notice and informing them of their right to bring a support person
  • Invite other relevant people, such as the course coordinator, counsellor, and disability adviser
  • Arrange for a note-taker if necessary
  • Be aware of gender, power or disability-related issues and seek assistance from student services if necessary

During the meeting

  • Describe clearly to the student the incident or behaviour, as well as its effect on others.

Example: ‘We are meeting because of complaints that you have had angry outbursts in class and that they disrupt the learning of other students. It is expected that all students manage their emotions so as not to disrupt the class.’

  • Encourage the student to respond, aiming to identify underlying issues
  • Discuss options for resolving the situation and, if appropriate, ask the student to suggest a solution
  • When an agreement is reached, this should be clearly articulated in verbal and written form
  • Clearly inform the student of their rights under relevant policies and ordinances and the consequences of continued disruptive behaviour
  • Agree on any follow-up action, which may include referral or further review meetings

If a formal behaviour agreement is necessary, include details under the following headings:

  • Expectations of student behaviour
  • Support to be provided by the organisation
  • Actions to be taken if the agreement is not upheld
  • Review dates and processes

After the meeting

  • Use the meeting checklist to ensure that all bases have been covered
  • Inform other parties only as necessary
  • Follow the agreed review process

Sample Behaviour Agreement




  • It is expected that [student’s name] will not disrupt the class with angry outbursts. Questions and comments may be directed to their lecturers regarding particular areas that are relevant to the current class.
  • If [student’s name] begins to feel angry, they will take time out for a few minutes, if possible.
  • Complaints or feedback can be made in writing to the Head of School.

Support to be provided by the University

  • [student’s name] is offered five weekly sessions with a university counsellor to address anger management issues.
  • If [student’s name] is beginning to show signs of an angry outburst in class, their lecturers will suggest to them that they take time out for a few minutes.

Actions to be taken if the agreement is not followed

  • If [student’s name] further disrupts the class through angry outbursts they will be asked by the lecturer to leave class.
  • Staff will report any angry outbursts to the Head of School who will review the situation and may implement Student Discipline procedures.
  • Student Discipline procedures can lead to exclusion from certain classes or the entire campus.


This behaviour agreement was developed on [date] and will be reviewed at a meeting to be held on  [date].

It is not intended that the provisions of this memorandum of understanding are to be legally binding and enforced in a court of law.

Student:                                                                                          Signed:

Head of School:                                                                             Signed: