Press release

New survey shows school behaviour improvement but with more to do

A new survey published today reveals that teachers are feeling more positive about the standard of pupils' behaviour in schools.

This was published under the 2010 to 2015 Conservative and Liberal Democrat coalition government

Teachers are feeling more positive about the standard of pupils’ behaviour in schools, according to a new survey published today.

It reveals how the government’s work to back teachers in improving behaviour in schools and classrooms across the country is starting to deliver positive results.

Of the teachers surveyed, more than 3 out of 4 (76%) said the standard of behaviour was ‘good’ or ‘very good’ in their schools - an increase of six percentage points compared with the previous survey in 2008. More than 4 out of 5 teachers (85%) felt well equipped to manage pupil behaviour.

Whilst these findings are encouraging, the survey also reveals that 3 out of 5 (60%) of teachers asked felt that ‘negative pupil behaviour is driving teachers out of the profession’. While this is a welcome decrease of 8 percentage points from the 2008 survey, it shows there is still more to do.

Also, the latest Ofsted inspections published earlier this month show that, under the new tougher and more focused inspections, behaviour and safety was judged outstanding or good in only four out of five schools (79%).

Schools Minister Nick Gibb said:

The majority of pupils are well-behaved and want others to behave well too. This survey shows encouraging effects of the government’s reforms, and that schools need to continue with their relentless focus on behaviour.

The survey also reveals some concerns about negative behaviour which is driving some teachers out of the profession. The government is committed to maintaining our relentless focus on raising standards of behaviour in schools until every school is a safe and happy place in which pupils can excel academically.

The government’s expert adviser on behaviour, Charlie Taylor, said:

Without good behaviour teachers can’t teach and pupils can’t learn.

I am encouraged to see that teachers are feeling more in control of the classroom, but still more needs to be done. We need to ensure trainee teachers are equipped with the right training in behaviour management.

Notes for editors

  1. The NFER Teacher Voice Omnibus February 2012 Survey: Pupil behaviour. This report is based on a survey of 1,686 practising teachers from 1,269 schools in the maintained sector in England.

  2. The government has already introduced a number of changes to help teachers maintain discipline in the classroom. It has: * strengthened and clarified the advice on use of force so that teachers can be more confident about using the power and head teachers and governing bodies are clear about how they should support staff in using the power; * strengthened teachers’ powers to search pupils. As well as a more general power to search for items that have been or could be used to cause harm or break the law, teachers can also search for items banned by the school rules. The government has also added fireworks, tobacco and pornographic images to the list of specified items that teachers can search for; * clarified head teachers’ authority to discipline pupils for misbehaviour beyond the school gates, such as bullying outside school; * scrapped the requirement for 24 hours written notice for detentions outside of school hours - schools now have the professional freedom to decide what works best in their school and allow them to serve a more instant punishment for bad behaviour; * introduced regulations to ensure that all children being educated in alternative provision get a full-time education; * started trialling a new approach to permanent exclusions where schools have the on-going responsibility and resources to secure suitable alternative provision for excluded pupils; * axed more than 600 pages guidance on behaviour and replaced with around 50 page of clear and unequivocal advice that busy teachers can actually read and make it clear what schools have to do, should do, and can choose to do; * made clear that head teachers need to take a strong stand against bullying - particularly prejudice-based racist, sexist and homophobic bullying.

  3. Further reforms included in the Education Act 2011 which will come into force in the autumn, include: * granting teachers anonymity when accused by pupils until such time as they are charged with an offence; * changing the current system of independent appeal panels for exclusions so that a school’s decision to exclude is not undermined by an appeal process that can force the reinstatement of a permanently excluded pupil against the best interests of the school.

  4. Ofsted’s inspection data for maintained school inspections and outcomes.

  5. The Department for Education has also published a research note, Pupil behaviour in schools in England, which brings together the evidence around pupil behaviour in schools in England. It examines what is known about the nature and standard of behaviour in English schools; the impact of poor behaviour on pupils and teachers; and what schools and teachers can do to promote good pupil behaviour. Where possible it also draws on international evidence to compare what is happening in England with other nations or to expand the available research.

The Department for Education is hosting a live streamed event via Facebook on Thursday 28 June at 7pm. Please let us have your questions for Charlie Taylor and Tom Bennett from TES:

DfE enquiries

Central newsdesk - for journalists 020 7783 8300

General enquiries - for members of the public 0370 000 2288

Published 26 June 2012