A simple checklist of what schools can do to instil good behaviour in the classroom has been developed and published by Charlie Taylor – the head teacher of a special school with some of the toughest behaviour issues and the Government’s Expert Adviser on behaviour.
The behaviour checklist – titled “Getting the simple things right” – follows Charlie Taylor’s recent behaviour summit, where outstanding head teachers from schools in areas of high deprivation gathered to discuss the key principles for improving behaviour.
What soon became clear was how much similarity there was between the approaches that the head teachers followed. Many of them emphasised the simplicity of their approach but they agreed that most important of all was consistency.
Actions from the checklist include:
- Ensuring absolute clarity about the expected standard of pupils’ behaviour
- Displaying school rules clearly in classes and around the building. Staff and pupils should know what they are
- Ensuring that children actually receive rewards every time they have earned them and receive a sanction every time they behave badly
- Taking action to deal with poor teaching or staff who fail to follow the behaviour policy
- Ensuring pupils come in from the playground and move around the school in an orderly manner
- Ensuring that the senior leadership team like the head and assistant head are a visible presence around the school during the day, including in the lunch hall and playground, and are not confined to offices
Charlie Taylor said, “Without good behaviour teachers can’t teach and pupils can’t learn. There are schools in some of the toughest areas of the country who are getting discipline right. However, some schools struggle with managing and improving behaviour. Often the problem is that they aren’t being consistent with their behaviour policy such as ensuring that punishments always happen every time a pupil behaves badly.
“As a head teacher I know that where there is inconsistency in schools, children are more likely to push the boundaries. If a pupil thinks there is a chance that the school will forget about the detention he has been given, then he is unlikely to bother to turn up. If he gets away with it, the threat of detention will be no deterrent in the future.”