Spielman: Schools must get parents backing on behaviour

Ofsted chief sets out what inspectors expect to see from schools and pupils on behaviour under new inspection regime

Amanda Spielman has said high exclusions can result from behaviour policies being delivered inconsistently

Amanda Spielman has said it is "crucial" for parents to work positively with schools on behaviour management, saying the subject causes "a lot of heat, and sometimes rather less light".

Ofsted’s chief inspector said families are most likely to support a school's behaviour policies and practices if they understand the reasons behind a particular approach.


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But she said that while approaches such as "restorative justice" or "zero tolerance" stir strong views, the terms are not typically used in schools – and pointed out that "zero-tolerance" can mean different things in different contexts.

She cited previous research showing high levels of school exclusions can result from behaviour being inconsistently managed by schools or because staff and pupils do not understand their behaviour policies.

And added inspectors will place an increased emphasis on behaviour from this year by checking whether schools are providing an environment where children can learn.

Ofsted has separated pupils’ behaviour and personal development into two different inspection categories under its new framework.

Under the inspections, which started last week, schools, will now get a judgement about pupils' behaviour and attitudes.

The inspectorate has also announced plans to check on how well new teachers are being trained in behaviour management as part of its new inspections of initial teacher training providers.

Today, the inspectorate has published a commentary from the chief inspector outlining new Ofsted research findings on how schools are managing behaviour. 

The inspectorate has spoken to staff at more than 50 schools including primaries, secondaries and a smaller number of special schools and PRUs and carried out more than 20 school visits.

Ms Spielman said: "Head teachers and teachers told us that establishing clear routines is not just about expecting consistent standards of behaviour, though this is of great importance. 

“It is also about the use of routines daily and in classes to create an environment in which learning can take place. Consistency should be the aim, with leaders supporting teachers to achieve this.

"This will not only lead to better behaviour overall, allowing all pupils an education free of disruption, but it will be seen as fair by pupils and parents.”

Ms Spielman said schools should have a whole-school behaviour management policy that is “clear, consistent and communicated to staff, pupils and parents.”

The chief inspector also said schools should embed routines to minimise disruption, ensure classroom lessons run smoothly and that pupils should move safely around the school.

Ms Spielman said that in order to be judged “good” under its new inspection framework:

* pupils’ attitudes to their education will be positive.

 * schools will also be expected to ensure pupils have high attendance, come to school on time and are punctual to lessons. When this is not the case, the school will take “appropriate, swift and effective action”

* Leaders, staff and pupils will create a positive environment in which bullying is not tolerated. 

Ms Spielman said 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.  She said in these cases behaviour policies need to be applied flexibly.

Gavin Williamson, education secretary, said: “A single instance of bad behaviour, whether it’s messing around with a mobile or talking over the teacher, can disrupt learning for every child in a class. That’s why I’m keen that we empower teachers to deal with low level bad behaviour and this move from Ofsted helps us do just that.

“We recently announced a £10 million investment to establish behaviour hubs so that schools with a track record of effectively managing pupils' behaviour can share what works with schools that need it. This will help teachers stay in control of the classroom and while preventing behaviour issues from escalating and avoiding fixed term exclusions.”

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