Positive discipline can set the bar for behaviour standards

1st May 2009 at 01:00

Our education system has had a plethora of ineffective solutions. So what works if we want pupils from a "difficult area" to be judged outstanding on their behaviour, and to be keen to learn and happy to come to school?

There are certain tenets which have to be in place. The headteacher must have a clear vision of what is an effective school and, within that, what is classed as acceptable behaviour. This view must be shared with all the staff and pupils, and there must be zero tolerance for unacceptable behaviour.

Any incident, however minor, should be dealt with and investigated. Parents and carers need to be certain that their concerns are heard and that incidents are followed through to a solution.

The approach must involve the whole school, must be kept simple and not encumbered with so many sanctions that it becomes unmanageable.

The headteacher needs to be visible and ensure that he or she knows each pupil, personally and by name. The pupils need to know they are liked and their company enjoyed, and that they are listened to and responded to so that they will prefer not to risk damaging that relationship.

Praise should be used widely but only when deserved so that it is a valued commodity. The headteacher should be out in the playground talking to children and parents before the start of the school day, and at playtimes and lunchtimes.

Excellent - or at least good - teaching, and a whole range of activities designed to motivate and encourage pupils to want to learn, are also necessary.

I would like to state that I practise what I preach.

Terry Willis, Headteacher, Cowley Hill School, Hertfordshire.

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now