Jogo Behaviour Support Blog

Positive Behaviour and Education Services Supporting Children, Young People and Families

 

 


Behaviour Management and the Whole School Approach is About All Pupils
As the new school year starts and the enthusiasm, excitement and anticipation of all concerned is still palpable, there have been a few articles and reports in regard to behaviour that one may have missed. The first Managing Behaviour Research by Ofsted's Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, on managing behaviour in schools is an interesting read.  However, before I make comment, I would like to mention the announcement this week that Ofsted will introduce a new framework for inspecting initial teacher training next year with an increased focus on behaviour and the National Audit Office Report on SEND.
The article by Amanda Spielman summarises Ofsted’s recent research on managing behaviour in schools and attempts to build on the 2014 report on low-level disruption, ‘Below the radar’.  The key points are relevant, practical and it has to be said considered. The research based on speaking to 23 primary schools, 22 secondary schools, 4 pupil referral units (PRUs) and visiting 4 primary schools, 14 secondary schools,  2 PRUs and 2 special schools is a little top heavy on secondary but this is initial research and as the author states “official figures on exclusion suggest that behaviour issues become more common in secondary schools”.
The report points out the importance of whole-school approaches, consistent routines and the importance of teaching behaviours. While hardly revolutionary the concepts and ideas made are persuasive if obvious. Here are some extracts to make the point:
“Routines do not happen by accident they need to be explicitly taught to pupils and modelled by all staff”
“Routines… create an environment in which learning can take place”
“A whole school approach…is also about the values and ethos of the school. Strong values underpin good behaviour.”
“Consistency and clarity in understanding and implementing a behaviour policy have been linked to effective behaviour management”
However, the importance of relationships between staff and pupils is not forgotten.
Most schools mentioned the need to build and maintain positive relationships with all pupils to ensure ongoing good behaviour management”.
Interestingly enough the report references that the subject of behaviour management causes a lot of heated debate and strong views are held.  A look at social media will support this. However, the research did find practitioners made little reference to terms used by those who hold particular views and instead identified behaviours they want to see in pupils.
The report also cites the importance of parental involvement and engagement in the effective management of behaviour through a whole school approach.  There is also recognition of the importance of managing transition and identifying pupils at risk.
While accepting the need for policy and practice to be consistent and implemented for all there is a recognition that policies need to be flexible.  This is a key point that needs to be addressed by all schools when developing whole school approaches.  Of course, policy and implementation need to apply for all but there will be those who will need additional structures, interventions and support to be taught how to behave.
While the report is correct in saying “the vast majority of pupils in a school are capable of behaving well…and the vast majority of those who do not behave can be taught to do so through explicit teaching and effective behaviour management”,
The report does accept ““there may be a small group of pupils with particular needs, such as a disability or mental health issues, that mean they will always struggle with behavioural norms. There may also be some pupils who are going through particularly difficult life circumstances at a given moment in time, which affects their behaviour in school.”
This group could be the ones that continually show up on exclusion figures. 2017-18 figures show pupils eligible for free school meals have seen a large increase in fixed period exclusions… the difference between those not eligible remains around four times higher.  Fixed period exclusions rates for pupils with special education needs (SEN) increased slightly. The proportion of exclusions accounted for by pupils with SEN has fallen is 45 per cent of all permanent exclusions and 43 per cent of all fixed period exclusions.  These figures are supported by the National Audit Office report, it sates pupils without an EHCP are more likely to be excluded. This group accounts for nearly 80% of SEND pupils.
The report by Ofsted is welcome and the hope is the ideas expressed within it will play a significant part of the review into teacher training.  However, it is the beginning of a debate on identifying good practice and what works for all pupils.
John Murray
Education Consultant