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Behaviour management in schools

1-2-3 Magic is a simple programme that teaches adults how to effectively manage children’s behaviour. Originally developed by Dr Thomas Phelan, and adapted to incorporate nurturing approaches, it aims to help adults build positive relationships with children and overcome the stress and challenges that can come with managing discipline moments.

What is 1-2-3 magic? 

1-2-3 Magic is a simple and effective way of managing behaviour in a safe and nurturing way. It takes away needless interactions along with the build-up of negative emotions and frustrations.1-2-3 Magic allows you to:

  1. Manage negative behaviours
  2. Encourage positive behaviours
  3. Build and maintain positive healthy relationships

1-2-3 Magic works hand in hand with Framework for Intervention, Nurture, Restorative Approaches and fits into existing positive behaviour management approaches in schools.

How does it work? 

1-2-3 Magic minimises teaching and learning time lost through ‘disciplining’ and allows children to make choices about their behaviour and to understand the consequences of both ‘good’ and ‘bad’ choices. 1-2-3 Magic allows a child time for thinking and two chances to modify or stop behaviour as requested.

Sanctions are short, preferably at the time, and most importantly meaningful to the child. Discipline applied in this way without negative emotions protects self esteem, decreases the chance of escalation and provides a positive role model for the child as they see the adult dealing with conflict or potential conflict without anger or frustration.

1-2-3 magic in East Ayrshire

Since the beginning of school session 2011–2012 there has been a rolling programme of 1-2-3 Magic training to East Ayrshire primary and nursery schools. Workshops have been attended by parents, carers and grandparents and individual modelling and coaching has been provided at the invitation of some class teachers and families.

Accessing 1-2-3 magic training


Training for school staff is delivered over a two hour session and is followed up with modelling and coaching in the classroom setting.


Parent workshops are delivered over a three hour session. In addition, parents can request a follow up home visit for individual coaching/modelling.


Training is also available for individual education staff on the East Ayrshire Gateway service.

Contact Information

East Ayrshire Support Team (EAST)
Crosshouse Campus
Playingfield Road
01563 554974