Behaviour - On the map - Ofsted's saints and sinners

4th June 2010 at 01:00

Are we in a golden age for pupil behaviour? Ofsted judged that 78.6 per cent of secondary schools in England inspected up to the end of 2009 had good or outstanding standards for behaviour, including those inspected on the revised inspection framework after September 2009.

The revised framework makes direct comparisons with previous years difficult, but this is an increase from the 73.7 per cent judged good or outstanding up to the end of 2006.

Within these, some 25 per cent of secondary schools across England were judged outstanding for behaviour by Ofsted at their most recent inspection. Just 1.1 per cent were found to have inadequate standards of behaviour.

Of course, not all schools have been inspected - new schools are given two years after opening before they are eligible for their first inspection - and the data has been somewhat skewed by the academy programme. Some of the worst schools have closed and the academies that replaced them may be still awaiting their first inspection. This may explain why London, with a higher proportion of academies, has an above-average proportion of schools with an outstanding rating, and a below-average proportion of schools judged inadequate for behaviour.

The data is also affected by the fact that local authorities vary considerably in size, with some small authorities affected by the result from just one school.

It is worth noting that three of the top four authorities on the outstanding list have selective schools, where behaviour is less likely to be an issue. But other authorities whose schools perform well include Newham, Tower Hamlets and Newcastle. None of these can be described as middle-class enclaves.

This map illustrates that perception may not be the same as reality. Ofsted's view is that outstanding schools significantly outnumber inadequate ones. So why isn't that the message on the street?

John Howson is director of Education Data Surveys, part of TSL Education.

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