Ofsted: We Must Tackle Disruptive Behaviour

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Children lose up to an hour of learning each day in schools across England because of disruption, Ofsted’s chief inspector has warned.Evidence from nearly 3,000 inspections of state-funded schools, together with parent and teacher surveys, has found that behaviour like pupils making silly comments to get attention, swinging on chairs, passing notes around, quietly humming and using mobile phones was having a noticeable impact on children’s ability to learn.

“While the days of chaos in the classroom are thankfully largely behind us, low-level disruption in class is preventing too many teachers from doing their jobs and depriving too many young people of the education they deserve,” Sir Michael Wilshaw said.

“I see too many schools where headteachers are blurring the lines between friendliness and familiarity – and losing respect along the way.

“Every hour spent with a disruptive, attention-seeking pupil is an hour away from ensuring other pupils are getting a decent education.

Ofsted's Sir Michael Wilshaw says teaching should start at two

Sir Michael Wilshaw is urging schools to clamp down on misbehaving pupils

“If we are going to continue to improve our education system to compete at the highest levels, we need to tackle the casual acceptance of this behaviour that persists in too many schools.

“It isn’t rocket science: children need to know the rules and teachers need to know they will be supported in enforcing them.

“In the last year, schools serving almost 450,000 pupils have been judged less than good for behaviour. That is far too many.”

At St Mary’s Church of England High School in Cheshunt, Hertfordshire, pupils said minor disruption did have an impact on their ability to learn.

“It’s really frustrating when you’re trying to concentrate on your own work,” said Poppy Mclellan.

“But it normally does get sorted out.”

Headteacher Stephanie Benbow said stamping out disruption required a concerted effort by staff.

“Low-level disruption is a real challenge for modern teachers,” she said.

“It has to be said that the challenges have risen – young people are a bit more challenging and we have to be a bit more robust in our response.

“There can be no tolerance of inappropriate behaviour in a classroom. One has to be persistent, and consistent. Without that, you won’t get the high level of success that these children demand.”


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