Ofsted Chief Inspector announced the start of a programme of unannounced school visits where standards of behaviour are cause for concern.
Sir Michael Wilshaw has vowed to tackle what he calls ‘a culture of casual acceptance’ of low-level disruption and poor attitudes to learning which he believes is holding back too many of England’s schools.
Ofsted’s Annual Report published in December showed that 700,000 pupils were attending schools where behaviour needed to improve. Sir Michael said polling of parents regularly showed that good discipline and behaviour in the classroom was their number one concern – but the issue was often much further down the priority list of schools themselves.
The behaviour inspections get underway next week. Schools are being selected for the one-day unannounced visits on the basis of parental concerns as well as evidence gathered from previous inspections.
During the visits, inspectors will look at a wide range of evidence to reach a judgement on the standards of behaviour in the school. This will include assessing the culture of the school and how pupils interact with each other and with staff. Inspectors will observe pupils’ behaviour in the classroom, between lessons, during breaks, at lunchtime and after school. They will also speak directly to teachers and pupils to see how incidents of poor behaviour are addressed.
The behaviour inspection reports will be published on the Ofsted website and made available to parents.
If Ofsted finds that a school is effectively tackling poor behaviour, this will be made clear in the inspection findings. Where there is evidence that behaviour remains a problem, this may result in a full inspection being brought forward.
HM Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, said:
‘Parents want to send their children to schools where they can be confident in the knowledge that behaviour is good.
‘Ofsted is there to champion this cause.
‘Headteachers and leadership teams determine the culture of the school and they must ensure that high standards of behaviour are maintained both in and outside the classroom.
‘Good headteachers understand that positive behaviour underpins effective teaching and learning.
‘They make themselves visible and make sure lessons aren’t undermined by a disrespectful attitude towards staff or authority.
‘Ofsted is determined to ensure that those who are failing to get a grip on poor behaviour take action to create the right conditions for children to learn.’
Sir Michael added:
‘As I have previously said, the retention of staff is as important as recruitment.
‘It is, therefore, vital that newly qualified teachers and those in the early years of the profession are able to learn the craft of the classroom without having to face the daily struggle of dealing with children intent on disrupting lessons.’
Information about parental concerns around poor behaviour will be gathered from the results of Parent View questionnaires. Parent View is an online facility that allows parents and carers to give their views about their child’s school at any time during the school year. The questionnaire is also the main mechanism for parents to give their views about their child’s school to inspectors at the time of a school inspection.
The Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) regulates and inspects to achieve excellence in the care of children and young people, and in education and skills for learners of all ages. It regulates and inspects childcare and children’s social care, and inspects the Children and Family Court Advisory Support Service (Cafcass), schools, colleges, initial teacher training, work-based learning and skills training, adult and community learning, and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments. It assesses council children’s services, and inspects services for looked after children, safeguarding and child protection.
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Published: 31 January 2014