This week, we look at how schools could approach the enduring issue of behaviour management with a view to improvement. We also highlight a new document aimed at raising standards of teaching, learning and leadership

Quote of the Week

” We have to understand that the world can only be grasped by action, not by contemplation. The hand is more important than the eye … the hand is the cutting edge of the mind.”

− Jacob Bronowski

Practical Tips Subtle tinkering and more obvious modifying at the edges of behaviour policy seem to occur pretty frequently. To a greater or lesser extent this is an issue that every school needs to tackle, whether by taking an ad hoc approach, responding to what is trickled down from on high, or by adopting a proactive whole-school approach. Either way, the priority a school places on behaviour will be reflected throughout all of its activities.

In terms of professional and personal development, the issue of behaviour offers tremendous opportunities. It’s one of those themes which can be effectively covered in a variety of ways, from simple interactions between staff members to the adoption of specific whole-school behaviour management approaches, with a wide range between. There’s good reason to make it a priority too. Behaviour management features specifically in the Professional Standards for Teachers (see below) so in order for teachers to be working towards meeting and maintaining those standards, the CPD available to them must feature a focus on behaviour.

Now schools have more ways to deal with behaviour and discipline issues, including:

  • statutory power to discipline children and give sanctions for school rule breaches;
  • statutory power to confiscate;
  • statutory power to impose discipline beyond the school gate, for example on the journeys to and from school;
  • power to search pupils for weapons;
  • statutory power to use physical force to restrain unruly pupils;
  • new rules on exclusion appeals panels.

We do have to keep things in perspective. In general, behaviour in our schools is not at all bad. In addition Ofsted has found that the number of schools with inadequate behaviour is ‘the lowest level ever recorded’ and schools and their staff deserve to be congratulated on that (not to mention the parents too!).

In order to bring professional and personal development for behaviour management into the spotlight in your school, try some of these ideas:

  • Explore ways in which your school and those schools in your local cluster might reinforce parental responsibility for children’s behaviour. What ideas are there from within your school regarding this?
  • Be open to what you can achieve without resorting to expensive external trainers. Many schools have pooled staff skills and talents and arranged effective home-grown professional and personal development specific to the needs of the school and its members at that moment.
  • Pay attention to the integration of your approach to behaviour management. How effectively does it incorporate emotional health and well-being?
  • Where does behaviour management sit in terms of the wider picture of your school’s improvement strategy?
  • Knowing this can help to inform how CPD is approached.
  • Try using some of the resources freely available on Teachers TV which are specifically geared towards schools and behaviour management development. Browse www.teachers.tv for further ideas.

The poor behaviour of pupils, and the way in which this can be mismanaged by schools, is a potential blight in teachers’ lives. The more frequently your school addresses the issue in an integrated way, the more likely it is to be absorbed as a way of life effectively and holistically by all concerned.

Find out more

The Professional Standards for Teachers cover behaviour management specifically. In particular look at C1, C2, C10 and C16.

You and your colleagues can find a library of free behaviour management practical tips and ideas here

Issues and Information

Being the Best for our Children A new document aimed at raising standards of leadership has recently been published by the Department for Children, Schools and Families. The document outlines the Department’s plans for helping to ensure that England’s schools keep pace with the best in the international arena, and explores how recruitment and quality can play a part in attracting the most talented people into the school workforce.

The key themes are:

  • Developing the school workforce
  • Making teaching a Masters level profession − improving status and expertise through the development of teaching as a Masters level profession.

As Being the Best for our Children: Releasing talent for teaching and learning concludes, ‘the best teachers, school leaders and support staff constantly seek to improve and develop their skills and subject knowledge.’ Ongoing, effective engagement in CPD must be central to those aims.

Find out more

Being the Best for our Children: Releasing talent for teaching and learning can be downloaded here

This e-bulletin issue was first published in April 2008

About the author: Elizabeth Holmes qualified as a teacher at the Institute of Education, London and is the author of several books specialising in the areas of professional development and teacher well-being.