After The Adults Change

Achievable behaviour nirvana

By: Paul Dix


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Products specifications
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Size: 234mmm x 156mm
Pages : 176
ISBN : 9781781353776
Format: Paperback
Published: March 2021

In After the Adults Change: Achievable behaviour nirvana, Paul Dix explains how teachers and school leaders can move beyond the behaviour management revolution and maintain a school culture rooted in relational practice.

There is a behavioural nirvana: one that is calm, purposeful and respectful. Where poor pupil behaviour is as rare as a PE teacher in trousers and where relationships drive achievement. Annoyingly and predictably, the road is hard and the ride bumpy and littered with clichés – but it is achievable. And when you get there it is a little slice of heaven.

A revolution in behaviour can be exciting, dynamic and, at times, pleasantly terrifying. But revolution is short-lived. In this follow-up to his bestselling book When the Adults Change, Everything Changes, Paul shows you that, after the behaviour of the adults has changed, there is an opportunity to go wider and deeper: to accelerate relational practice, decrease disproportionate punishment and fully introduce restorative, informed and coaching-led cultures.

Paul delves into the possibilities for improvement in pupil behaviour and teacher-pupil relationships, drawing further upon a hugely influential behaviour management approach whereby expectations and boundaries are exemplified by calm, consistent and regulated adults.

The book delivers a blueprint for school behaviour improvement that is inclusive, practical and well structured – and covers a range of key issues, including: restorative practice, emotionally consistent teaching, creating a coaching culture, and proportionate and productive consequences for bad behaviour.

It also shares indispensable advice about how to involve all staff in developing a whole-school ethos rooted in kindness, empathy and understanding, and features a section for governors on how they can play a part in the school's behaviour policy too.

Suitable for teachers and school leaders – in any setting – who are looking to upgrade their approach to school behaviour.

Available in audiobook and ebook form. 

Picture for author Paul Dix

Paul Dix

As a teacher, leader and teacher trainer, Paul Dix has been working to transform the most difficult behaviour in the most challenging urban schools, referral units and colleges for the last 25 years. In addition to working directly with schools, Paul has advised the Department for Education on the Teachers' Standards, given evidence to the Education Select Committee and done extensive work with the Ministry of Justice on behaviour and restraint in youth custody. Paul is a leading campaigner for the #BanTheBooths campaign ( and is a member of both the IntegratEd Reference Group and the Ethical Leadership Group.


  1. After his huge success with When the Adults Change, Everything Changes, which has transformed so many schools and teachers/leaders views, Paul’s follow up book goes further and examines the development of a school culture rooted in relational practice. The opening chapter, “Emotionally Consistent Teaching” sets the tone for the book and immediately establishes the importance of nurture, the right routines and how to lead it.

    Stand out chapters are “Restorative Practice, Kindness and Soft Power” and “Scripting refined.” Both these chapter provide practical support and take aspects of Paul’s first book further. Throughout the book, the real life examples are relatable and support teachers and leaders to reflect on their own experiences and settings to consider ways forward and an evaluation of what is working.

    The “nuggets” at the end of each chapter provide teachers/leaders with a really good overview of the key learning from the chapter and also support application within school.

    “Behaviour nirvana comes when learning conversations dominate, when systems and people are kind, when teachers and pupils get heard and when consistency means every adult is emotionally available.”

    Read the review on Best Trust website here.

  2. In After the Adults Change Paul Dix continues with his mantra that a consistent, calm and kind behaviour management approach is key. Supported by evidence-based theory and real-life examples, he continues to challenge practices which do not meet the individual needs of children and are detrimental to their well-being. This book provides more concrete strategies to empower teachers to implement the approaches within their own classrooms. 

  3. Drawing on the work of his personal experience consulting a range of schools, and collating the work of other practitioners and researchers, Paul Dix has produced an insightful and evangelical analysis of strategies, skills and steps to help teachers create what he terms a culture of achievable behaviour. The focus is on the development of consistent practice linked to a wide range of approaches to refine behaviour management practice. 

    Paul tackles many key issues from a practical perspective, putting his own anecdotal flavour to a vision for moving beyond behaviour management in order to focus on building relational and restorative practice to decrease disproportionate punishment. His foci for change include corridor and playground recognition, proportionate consequences, coaching and moving forward based on changing mindsets, promoting tolerance, restorative practice, kindness, and strategies to reduce exclusion. His emphasis is on developing and refining routines exemplified by calm, consistent and regulated adult responses to managing the challenging individual or group. 

    Paul also addresses the urgent need to promote initial training for teachers and skilled support staff within schools, with reference to the catch-up needs of an increasing number of pupils in terms of their educational, social and personal behavioural skills. The author's discussion of proportionate and productive consequences, restorative practice and assertive redirection is thought-provoking. 

    Overall, After the Adults Change is an insightful and stimulating book that addresses the key issue of behaviour management to improve the engagement, progress and retention of challenging students in schools and colleges. Readers will gain a better idea of how close they are to achieving behavioural nirvana within their setting and what needs to happen in order to get to that state.
  4. In Paul Dix's latest book After the Adults Change, there is a recognition that the questions of how we improve the behaviour in our schools is one that very much polarises opinion. From the opening page, Paul clearly sets out where he stands from a deeply personal perspective. His approach is based on meeting the needs of every child and not just those in a position to engage with learning. His approach is relational rather than transactional and is underpinned by empathy, consistency and decency. Paul does not deny that this is a messy business, and neither does he claim that there are easy answers, but that is a whole lot better than pretending otherwise.

    In this book he exposes the practice of punishing young people who, because of their life experience, cannot self-regulate as not only immoral but also completely ineffective. He offers an alternative, but one that requires skill and utilises the power of emotionally consistent adult behaviour.

    I already agree with his approach, and didn't need to be convinced - but I still found myself scribbling notes on how I could explicitly articulate the -˜why' of this approach and also on how to improve our school's
    systems, making use of the many practical examples provided. 

    With impressive clarity, Paul focuses on authenticity over gimmicks and provides an outstanding framework for improving behaviour in a culture where understanding replaces blame and responsibility stems from positive relationships.
  5. This book is about sustained, achievable, long-term school improvement. The behaviour nirvana is characterised by an embedded whole school culture of high expectations, the development of skilled and reflective professional practitioners, and high levels of pupil agency.
  6. If you came into teaching to make a difference, then reading this book will make a difference to you. I've seen the benefits of adopting Paul's straightforward, consistent routines for managing behaviour, and how they contribute to a positive culture and sense of security. This book isn't just about supporting the children who bring behavioural challenges; it also has practical ideas and advice and recognises the needs of those children who just want to learn.

    After the Adults Change has something for everyone and you can continue to dip in finding new things to consider. Being a scientist and a school governor, I found the information on brain science and the section on governors particularly thought-provoking. I was also nodding along with the points addressing attendance, too.

    Paul reminds us that being -˜more tortoise' reaps benefits, with the children needing time to change and the adults even longer. In the fast paced world we live, allowing ourselves time is important. It's a journey -¦ on board the behaviour bus. Give it a go!
  7. After the Adults Change is catnip for anyone who gets the importance of relationships in schools. Grounded in a deep understanding of the dynamics of the classroom and school setting, Dix writes with compassion and humour, underpinned by strong values and a commitment to transform outcomes for those marginalised by outdated approaches. Crammed full of practical examples, this brilliant follow-up to When the Adults Change, Everything Changes does not shrink from the gritty realities of implementation. Excellent advice sits alongside prompts for reflection which will galvanise those who have already embarked on the journey and inspire those who are about to. Accessible, essential reading for everyone working in schools.
  8. After the Adults Change is a manifesto for change in schools, and is particularly relevant at a time when society has realised the huge importance and role of schools in delivering more than simply academic education. Paul is passionate, knowledgeable and pragmatic throughout - setting out clearly the road map for schools to reclaim pastoral support, which will chime sonorously with teachers and school leaders. He also addresses, in detail, the lethal mutations arising from misinterpretation of restorative practice.

    Calm, consistent adults, first attention to best conduct, and relentless routines put our children in the best position to learn and provide the best conditions for teachers to teach. If you read this book and implement the ideas within, you can achieve behavioural nirvana in your school.
  9. It is too easy for adults to go straight to blame children - what I love about Paul's writing is that, in both this book and his previous one, he keeps the focus on what adults need to do in order to change children's behaviours. Achieving change is not rocket science but it does take diligence and doing the right thing relentlessly, and in After the Adults Change Paul successfully breaks it down into manageable chunks. The book is also packed full of great examples of good practice, offering something for everyone.

    This book is a must-read for all who work with children and young people.
  10. If you want to transform the way that your school community -˜does behaviour', then After the Adults Change is the book for you. Paul's strong belief, based on real-life research and practice, that the culture of a school is a reflection of the behaviour and attitude of the adults is compelling and truly inspirational. The book is packed with engaging advice and witty anecdotes of Paul's vast experience in the sustainable positive change of school behaviour culture. I firmly believe that if all schools adopted Paul's approach then we wouldn't be scratching our heads as to why children sometimes behave the way they do.
  11. After the Adults Change is a refreshing, intelligent, thought-provoking and easy-to-read book. I love the layout and how Paul uses evidence based theory and real-life case studies to support his writing. The book contains many new heart-centred approaches and takeaways to put into practice, especially at the end of each chapter in the -˜Stop that!', -˜How to lead it' and -˜Nuggets' sections. I could, in fact, write a book about this book (and include extracts of Paul's school reports!); however, I will stop and allow you to read and digest this groundbreaking book for yourself.
  12. Paul Dix talks some of the best sense of anyone I have had the good fortune to work with in education. How can anyone not want a culture which exudes calm and consistency, and where relationships are at the heart of a school and all it aspires to? All children deserve to feel safe, loved and valued - and if this is your mantra, then grab this book with both hands and enjoy the read. From behaviour management strategy to everyday practical tips, there is something for everyone in After the Adults Change. Here's to continuing the revolution and ensuring that school years lead to a bright future of choice and opportunity for all.
  13. Paul Dix is amazing! His writing is full of warmth and sincerity, and his care for teachers and students shines through in his latest offering. In our post-COVID-19 world, teachers and educators need to keep supporting our kids through these turbulent times - and After the Adults Change shows us how it can be done!
  14. Once again, Paul Dix provides a straight-talking practical blueprint to help schools create a positive and constructive culture around behaviour and relationships. Paul's wealth of experience makes After the Adults Change a modern classic and a book of the times that is an essential read for all school leaders. If you're looking to change your thinking on how you proactively build a positive learning climate in your school, look no further.
  15. After the Adults Change is the perfect guide to strengthening relationships with children and young people and to ensuring positive behaviour, from both children and adults. We know that all behaviour is influenced by relationships, and that every teacher, teaching assistant and school leader wants good relationships within their school. Unsurprisingly, our children want good relationships too! However, achieving a relationships-based approach to behaviour, especially if nurture and compassion are not driving the ethos, can be hugely daunting. This book should be your companion to introducing and embedding relational approaches, whether on a class or whole school level. It is a hugely practical resource for every adult who works with children and young people.

    Paul's authenticity speaks to you throughout this book, and his commitment to secure thriving, relationship-based interactions as the bedrock to effective learning and teaching is compelling. His self-deprecating humour and insightfulness are a perfect mix. I found myself laughing out loud at some of Paul's experiences, and pausing often for a quiet reflection on my own experiences and behaviours as a teacher and school leader. I also confess to much smiling and nodding! Paul is unafraid of challenging those practices which do not meet people's needs, and offers a range of strategies to encourage a calm, child-centred approach.
  16. Where to start ... The meeting with Nick Gibb? The torturous 'rules lesson' so readily and rightly condemned? The spotlight once again shone on the perverse notion that removing a child from the environment in which they are failing to succeed will somehow lead to further success?

    All of the above struck chords as I read After the Adults Change, but to cling to them would be to fall into a -˜told you so' mindset that couldn't be further removed from the tone, message and intent of this truly wonderful piece of work.

    Paul Dix's book is written with a kindness and sensitivity that mirrors exactly the tone that a classroom or school built on -˜ready, respectful and safe' would have. It is a positive, supportive and considered work that provides numerous reminders of why we do what we do along with strategies and suggestions, genuine examples of these in practice, and the characteristic, self-deprecating humour that made When the Adults Change, Everything Changes such an accessible and yet powerful read.

    If you are someone working with young people, Paul's books will enable you to build powerful and meaningful relationships. In fact, anyone working withpeople full stop will find them invaluable. 

  17. In Paul Dix's awe-inspiring second book he guides us on the pathway to achieving 'behavioural nirvana'. He recaps the changes the adults can make to create a relational environment in the school setting, and challenges us to dig deeper and make this intrinsic in the very soul of the school community. This process is no rush job, but rather a pathway - with Paul as the guide. The pathway may meander, but he shows us the benefits that will be reaped on the journey.

    As well as the array of inspiring case studies, we are given precise support which can be used simply and effectively in schools. Paul shows us that the ripples from small changes go a long way to facilitate the shift needed long term.

    On reading After the Adults Change we understand the need for staff to sing from the same song sheet, and luckily Paul Dix has written a beautiful song.

  18. Our organisation strives to genuinely provide students with a rounded education of the head, heart and hand. When I took up post as head of school, I knew that the heart element of that combination had to be the foundational bedrock from which everything else could be built upon. Paul Dix's first book, When the Adults Change, Everything Changes, became my go-to handbook for achieving this. Every staff member was gifted a copy upon arrival. Fast-forward to now, and After the Adults Change feels like it is timed just for us on our journey. It acts as a mirror: inspiring deep reflection as you read, as well as bursts of pride when you see your own context reflected in the words. It also serves as an update to maps app - pointing out tweaks, matured strategies and new next steps - and as a finishing kit: equipped with everything from polishing cloths to rough sandpaper for going back in and crafting the beautiful touches on the culture masterpiece you are working on in your own school.

    After the Adults Change is a must-read for anyone working in schools.

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