National behaviour survey to show 'what schools need'

Education secretary says new behaviour survey will cover low-level disruption and bullying in schools

John Roberts and Dave Speck

Education secretary Gavin Williamson is launching a national survey looking at behaviour in schools

A new national survey is being launched to allow the government to see whether school behaviour is getting better or worse.

Education secretary Gavin Williamson said the survey would look at low-level disruption, bullying and other incidents of challenging behaviour.

He told the Confederation of School Trusts' conference today that it would allow the Department for Education to "build up a national picture of behaviour over time and act as a signpost to what schools need".

And when asked whether Ofsted inspections did not already provide this, he replied that "at present, we don't have a proper or accurate measure on this".

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Mr Williamson said that the survey would not publish school-level data or be used as a performance measure.

It will be commissioned shortly, begin at the start of the next academic year and run once a term.

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He was asked about the plan for a survey during a question and answer session with the CST's chief executive, Leora Cruddas.

She said: "Some colleagues may feel a bit worried about this [survey] – about the reliability of such a survey. Surely Ofsted already provides an indication of behaviour in schools, so why do we need the survey?”

Mr Williamson replied: “Firstly, we’ll work very closely with the sector, with CST as well as all the unions in the construction of this.

"We recognise how important it is in terms of good behaviour. It’s important that we have a global view as to where the trends are and what interventions are making the difference.

"What are the things we can be doing and promoting to instil better behaviour policies within schools because children [will] benefit the most from it…but, at present, we don’t have a proper or accurate measure on this, so it’s an important first step.”

Mr Williamson has made improving school behaviour a policy priority since becoming education secretary.

The DfE has recently announced 22 schools or trusts that will act as leads in its new behaviour hub programme, in which "outstanding" schools provide support to other schools.

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John Roberts and Dave Speck

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