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Public Health and Sport Sciences


Incredible Years® Teacher Classroom Management Evaluation

Welcome to the website for the Supporting Teachers And childRen in Schools study, an exciting research study, which took place throughout the years 2014-2021.

STARS was part of a research study that was testing the impact of a classroom management programme on children’s mental health, behaviour and academic attainment. This programme is called the Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Management (IY - TCM).

STARS explored whether attending the IY-TCM course can help children’s mathematics attainment, social and emotional development and their behaviour in school.

Professor Tamsin Ford introduces the STARS study

Find out more about STARS

‌We wanted to know if training teachers with the Incredible Years Teacher Classroom Managment (IY-TCM) course improves children’s mathematics attainment, social and emotional development and their behaviour in school. In order to do this we conducted a randomised controlled trial (RCT).

  • The children in the study were all children in Reception.
  • Schools had a 50% chance of being randomised to receive IY-TCM and a 50% chance of being one of our 'business as usual' or control schools.
  • Incredible Years is the most well-evidenced classroom management approach available in the UK.
  • The trial was un in conjunction National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) and the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF).
  • The trial was led by Professor Tamsin Ford who has recently run a similar trial with positive results in England in terms of improving behaviour and mental health. However, this initial study didn’t have an accurate attainment measure, so the STARS project trialled it to see if it also has an impact on attainment.

This study involved 140 primary schools across Bristol, Cornwall, Dorset, Liverpool, Portsmouth, Reading and Southampton. Half of these schools were randomised to receive the IY-TCM training and half acted as controls. In all schools we followed current reception children for two years (we call these children our study children).

Attending the TCM course

If randomised to training, all year 1 and year 2 teachers received 6 days training, one day a month for 6 months between Sep 19 and May 20. 

Training took place in:

  • Bristol (Lawerence Weston, Knowle, Stokes Croft or Bishopsworth), 
  • Cornwall (Truro and Bodmin), 
  • Dorset (Weymouth, Poole and Bournemouth), 
  • Liverpool (Bootle, Aigburth and Birkenhead), 
  • Portsmouth (Gunwharf or Port Solent), 
  • Reading (areas TBC)
  • and Southampton (Bassett or Hightown). 

Completing questionnaires

We asked class teachers to complete brief questionnaires on the behaviour of the study children in the summer terms of 2019, 2020 and 2021. We also asked schools to provide raw maths SATS scores for each child in summer 2021.

Incredible Years* Teacher Classroom Management (IY - TCM) supports teachers to improve behaviour in their classroom by developing their classroom management technique. Studies estimate between three and six children in each school class will have significant social, emotional or behavioural difficulties that impair their current and future life prospects. Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are even more likely to be affected by these issues. This programme supports the whole class and should be particularly helpful for students with behavioural difficulties.

IY-TCM is an interactive, practical and reflective course which is delivered to groups of 10-15 teachers. In the STARS study, teachers randomised to attend the TCM course attend a one-day workshop every month for six months. The focus is on collaborative learning, discussions of teachers’ own experiences and group work to find solutions to problems encountered in the classroom.

The following principles underpin the IY-TCM approach:

• the importance of teacher attention, encouragement and praise
• motivating children through incentives
• preventing behaviour problems – promoting the proactive teacher
• decreasing children’s inappropriate behaviours
• building positive relationships with children and encouraging them to problem solve

*The Incredible Years, Inc. All rights  reserved. "THE INCREDIBLE YEARS" and all related trademarks are owned by The Incredible Years, Inc.USA. limited use of trademarks and copyrighted material is by license from the Incredible Years, Inc. All program materials must be ordered through

Contact the STARS team

Address: Room 2.09, College House, St Luke’s Campus, Exeter EX1 2LU


Tel: 01392 722978 

Twitter: @IY_STARS

Team members