Pupil behaviour is an issue that has become more prominent in education circles recently. Below we take a look at some of the reasons why perhaps this has happened, what the government is doing in an attempt to tackle it and what schools can do to improve pupil behaviour.
Why Has Pupil Behaviour Risen in Prominence?
- The number of pupils permanently excluded from school has risen for the third year in a row.
- Two thirds of teachers admit they frequently think of quitting over bad behaviour.
- More than half of UK prisoners were excluded from school.
Pupil behaviour is growing to be a significant and time-consuming problem for schools. Teachers are increasingly finding that, on top of rising workload, a lack of resources and increasing time-constraints, they are losing out on an average of an hour a day of teaching time. The primary reason for this is that teachers have not received adequate training to manage challenging pupils. A day in the classroom managing thirty adolescent argumentative teens is difficult enough, without having to constantly tackle challenging and disruptive pupils without really have the correct tools to extinguish them.
What’s Being Done About It?
With the exclusion debate dominating discussion in the education sector, the way in which pupil behaviour will be assessed in schools is about to change. Behaviour tsar, Tom Bennett, published an Independent Review of Pupil Behaviour in March 2017, which suggested ways in which schools could address growing behavioural problems. This resulted in the DfE announcing plans for the first review of school behaviour in three years and Ofsted announcing that they plan to overhaul inspection processes to inspect pupil behaviour in a separate category. Furthermore, the government announced a new expert group to tackle poor behaviour in schools in February 2020 alongside £10 million in funding to improve discipline across the school system.
Many teachers will be relieved that something is finally being done to address the daily struggle of pupil behaviour. But this also brings with it a greater deal of pressure to ensure that schools can demonstrate improved behaviour policies for pupils – something which many will currently feel under-equipped to do.
So How Can Schools Improve Their Pupil Behaviour Policy?
There is no golden rule or singular technique for managing pupil behaviour – this is a point Tom Bennett tries to emphasise in his report. Effective behaviour management will vary from school to school and different techniques will work best on different pupils.
So what do schools need to do? Here’s a few innovative methods that were shared with us by best practice schools:
- Ensure staff are adequately trained to respond to challenging behaviour
- Embed a whole school culture and school wide methods which encourage pride and responsibility
- Work closely with parents to ensure behavioural ideals extend beyond the classroom
- Develop an approach which can identify pupils at risk of exclusion early on and work with them to avoid this
- Adapt school behaviour policy to meet the needs of individual pupils and ensure individually targeted support
It is vital that schools are establishing clear and effective behaviour policies in order to improve the learning environment and outcomes for children, alongside creating a better teaching environment for staff who have to deal with difficult behaviour on a daily basis.
This article was written by Becky Clark
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