Press release

Trainee teachers to get a better grip on managing behaviour

Trainee teachers need better training in managing pupils’ behaviour and ensuring discipline according to Charlie Taylor, the Government’s expert adviser on behaviour.

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

Highlighting that there are some cases where trainees receive little more than a single lecture, Charlie Taylor calls for more practical training for trainees. This includes knowing how to vary the tone and volume of their voice to teach effectively and manage behaviour, as well as how to use posture in order to be an authoritative presence in the classroom.

The headteacher of The Willows, a special school for children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties in West London, has also today published the document ‘Improving teacher training for behaviour’. It sets out the knowledge, skills and understanding that trainees will need in order to be able to manage children’s behaviour.

Charlie Taylor said:

The greatest fear trainee teachers have is that they won’t be able to manage behaviour. It also remains one of the main reasons why teachers leave the profession.

There are essential skills - including some which are underestimated, such as body language and posture - that all teachers need in order to manage behaviour effectively.

There are some great training providers but too often trainees aren’t taught the skills they need to ensure discipline in the classroom. We must spread best practice because without strong discipline and good behaviour children can’t learn.

Charlie Taylor, who from September 2012 will become the chief executive of the Teaching Agency, has carried out a review of what trainees are currently taught. It found differences in the quality of training on behaviour management. The best ITT providers take considerable time and thought to produce programmes that mean trainees leave with a range of practical skills, knowledge and understanding. It allows them to feel confident to manage behaviour when they begin to teach.

However, there are some cases where trainees receive little more than a single lecture and limited support from a tutor if things start to go wrong. Some providers are not always aware of what is good training on behaviour and this means they continue to train inadequately.

A survey, published last week, revealed how more than two-fifths (41 per cent) of teachers rated their initial teacher training (ITT) in managing behaviour as ‘poor’ or ‘very poor’. This includes teachers who may have been in the profession for a number of years.

Improving teacher training for behaviour’ has been developed to complement the new Teachers’ Standards that all teachers have to demonstrate from September 2012. It also reflects the new Ofsted inspection framework for ITT providers, which will come into effect at the same time. It has been produced taking on board the practice from some of the outstanding teacher training providers, Ofsted and some of the best schools who train teachers.

It will help ensure consistency across providers and includes how trainees should know how to:

  • vary the tone and volume of their voice to teach effectively and manage behaviour;
  • stand, move, make use of the space and use eye contact in order to be an authoritative presence in the classroom;
  • use praise effectively to improve behaviour, and understand how to apply rewards and sanctions to improve behaviour;
  • manage behaviour in a range of different situations such as whole class teaching, group work, the corridors and the playground;
  • plan and teach lessons that take account of individual children’s special needs, so that they are less likely to misbehave;
  • take appropriate and effective action when they are confronted by more extreme behaviour.

Jo Palmer-Tweed, course director at teacher training provider Thames Primary Consortium, said:

The importance of coherent high-quality training for behaviour management in teacher training cannot be underestimated.

With a wide range of routes into teaching available and training programmes that are growing in diversity these guidelines will be essential to ensure the provision of high quality training.

Crucially they do not tell providers how to structure their training programmes, but they do set high expectations in terms of what a trainee teacher should expect to receive. This will have a positive impact on the quality of teacher training and subsequently on children’s behaviour for learning.


 Notes for editors

  1. Improving teacher training for behaviour’ will be made available to all teacher training providers by the Teaching Agency.

  2. There have been some improvements in behaviour training, with the latest survey of newly qualified teachers showing that around three out of four (74 per cent) felt their behaviour training was “good” or “very good”. However, it shows that there is still more to do. The Teaching Agency’s survey of newly qualified teachers in 2011 is available online.

  3. The new Teachers’ Standards, which all teachers will be expected to meet from September 2012, set out competence and conduct for teachers.

  4. Charlie Taylor has been a behavioural specialist for more than 10 years. He has taught every age group, from nursery to 16-year-olds, working in tough inner city primary and comprehensive schools. He is currently on secondment at the Department for Education as the Government’s Expert Adviser on Behaviour.

Previously he was the headteacher of The Willows, a special school for children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties in West London. During his time at the school, he received two ‘outstanding’ Ofsted ratings.

On 15 June 2012 he was appointed the first permanent chief executive of the Teaching Agency. He will take up the post from September 2012.

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Published 2 July 2012