Exclusive: Pupil behaviour getting worse, say most teachers

The decline in classroom behaviour is a particular concern in primary schools, according to YouGov poll

Most teachers believe that pupil behaviour is in decline, a survey shows

The majority of teachers believe that behaviour in the classroom is getting worse, an exclusive YouGov poll reveals.

It also shows that the more primary school teachers have seen standards of behaviour decline than secondary  school teachers in the past five years.

In the poll, 57 per cent of the 911 teachers questioned said they believed pupils’ standards of behaviour have deteriorated since 2013.

Just under a third (32 per cent) said that behaviour had not changed and only 7 per cent of teachers said that it had improved.

Behaviour management was also highlighted as one of the key factors in causing teachers stress.

Of the primary school teachers questioned, 63 per cent said that behaviour had declined. This compared with 50 per cent of secondary school teachers.

The YouGov survey provides a breakdown of the results in different types of school.

How teachers view pupil behaviour

The behaviour issue was most apparent in pupil-referral units - 89 per cent of teachers in PRUs said behaviour had got worse.

In special education needs schools, 63 per cent of teachers said behaviour had declined; in local authority maintained schools the proportion was 62 per cent; in free schools it was 60 per cent; and in academies it was 56 per cent.

In both private schools and selective grammar schools fewer than half of the teachers questioned believed that standards of behaviour had got worse.

In independent schools, the figure was 34 per cent and at grammar schools it was 32 per cent.

The survey also showed that the longer a teacher had been in the profession the more likely they were to believe that standards had declined.

Just under half of teachers who had been in the profession for up to five years believed classroom behaviour had got worse.

This figure increased to 54 per cent for teachers with six to 10 years’ experience and 62 per cent for teachers who have worked for 11 to 15 years.

Behaviour management was also highlighted as one of the key factors in causing teachers stress.

The YouGov survey also reveals that the morale of the teaching profession is in decline, with the majority of teachers feeling undervalued by society, underpaid and stressed.

And it shows the majority of teachers are working in schools which have seen their budgets cut and class sizes increase.

It also sets out the main reasons why teachers choose to work in the profession.

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