A new team of government-appointed experts will help schools curb unruly behaviour and prevent disruption in the classroom.
The seven-strong team will work alongside headteachers and leaders from 20 outstanding schools in order to improve behaviour in around 500 schools which are struggling with poor behaviour.
The group is being led by the DfE's behaviour tsar Tom Bennett, who is the founder of ResearchED, an international conference of teachers that aims to boost knowledge of current research among the profession. Having formerly managed nightclubs in Soho, Mr Bennett trained as a teacher and worked in state schools in east London for over a decade, teaching religious studies and philosophy. He also started an online blog on behaviour management for Tes where he gave advice on how new teachers should handle tricky classes. He published his first book on the topic, The Behaviour Guru: behaviour management solutions for teachers, in 2010.
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Other team members are:
Mark Emmerson who is the chief executive of the City of London Academies Trust and a national behaviour adviser at the Department for Education. He was formerly the principal of Stoke Newington School, The City Academy, Hackney and City of London Academy, Islington, all of which are state secondary schools in inner London. He has a track record of turning around performance in challenging schools – when he led City Academy in Islington for a year in 2012, he almost doubled the number of pupils achieving five A*-C grades including English and maths, from 32 per cent to 60 per cent.
Marie Gentles is co-director of Magic Behaviour Management and the former principal of Hawkswood AP Primary in London. She began her career teaching in a Catholic school with few behaviour problems but found she could connect well with pupils who had challenging behaviour, which she has attributed to her parents’ work as foster carers to vulnerable children when she was growing up in East London. Gentles also works at The Difference, a programme offering school leaders two years of training in pupil mental health and aimed at stopping the rising tide of exclusions.
Michelle Long, a former primary teacher, senior leader and consultant, is executive principal at Dixons Academy Trust and principal of Dixons Music Primary in Bradford. Long has an MA in Teaching and Professional Enquiry, a BA(hons) in Primary Education and a National Professional Qualification for Headship. She is also an NCETM accredited specialist mathematics teacher.
Jayne Lowe, a former secondary, special school and pupil referral unit teacher, who has also been headteacher of an outstanding PRU as well as a behaviour and attendance consultant serving primary, secondary and special schools. Lowe is described by the DfE as “an experienced strategic leader and practitioner who has successfully developed and implemented strategy and leading practice with local authorities, schools, colleges, independent providers and private businesses”. She is currently supporting the Ministry of Justice on transforming youth custody’.
Charlie Taylor is chair of the Youth Justice Board who is a former headteacher of a school for children with complex behavioural, emotional and social difficulties. He was also chief executive of National College for Teaching and Leadership from its launch in 2013, and was the coalition government’s expert adviser on behaviour until 2012.
Jenny Thompson, a former English teacher, who moved into leadership as a Sendco. She is currently principal of Dixons Trinity Academy in Bradford, an award-winning school with a high proportion of disadvantaged students and those with special educational needs and disabilities.