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Schools rated as satisfactory for behaviour have the potential to become great, behaviour expert Sir Alan Steer will say today as part of his final behaviour report - and speaking at the NASUWT conference this afternoon, Ed Balls, Children Schools and Families Secretary, will welcome all of his recommendations.

The Government will today commit to taking forward Sir Alan Steer’s recommendations, including ensuring schools are supported and challenged to improve behaviour above “satisfactory”.

Sir Alan Steer’s report “Learning Behaviour: Lesson Learned” shows that there has been good progress in raising the standards of behaviour in schools with Ofsted reporting standards of behaviour good or outstanding in 93 per cent of primary schools and 72 per cent of secondary schools. Ofsted have also said that the number of schools inspected where behaviour is a significant concern is at the lowest levels recorded.

But today Sir Alan Steer says in his report that although most children, teachers and schools do very well to tackle bad behaviour, there is no room for complacency and bad behaviour cannot be left untouched. He will say today that schools with satisfactory standards have the potential to rise to the challenge to do even better.

As well as the publication of the Sir Alan Steer report and the Government response the Government is also publishing today:

• guidance for teachers on how to tackle cyber bullying. Ed Balls is also today launching guidance aimed at enabling school staff to prevent and tackle cyberbullying. The guidance describes the various forms cyberbullying can take, the various legal measures that can be used to tackle cyberbullying, and what steps the whole school community can take to tackle cyberbullying effectively. It advises school staff on best practice in terms of taking images and videos of pupils and on the use of mobile phones in the classroom as well as on issues such as how to protect their personal information online and ' friending ' pupils. The guidance also provides advice for school staff on how to respond to cyberbullying incidents and on how to have inappropriate material removed from websites:

• new guidance will be issued to help prevent bullying outside of school on journeys, in youth clubs, sports clubs, playgrounds, after school clubs, Children’s Homes and in Further Education colleges; and

• a new leaflet published jointly with NASUWT so that teachers and schools understand their powers.

Ed Balls, Secretary of State for Children, Schools and Families, said today:

“Schools and teachers should be congratulated for their hard work and success in raising standards of behaviour to the best ever on record. However, I agree with Sir Alan Steer that this should not mean we become complacent. I know that the skills, enthusiasm and dedication of schools and teachers will help this country to lead the way by having exemplary pupil behaviour in schools. That’s why today I am committing to supporting schools - by working with Local Authorities and head teachers - to provide the support and help they need to achieve the highest possible standard of pupil behaviour.”

"Children can't learn if classes are disrupted by bad behaviour. That's why parents tell me they want tough and fair discipline in every school. That means we must all play our part and back our teachers when they use their powers to keep good order.

“I’m really pleased with the direction of Sir Alan Steer’s recommendations and will be acting on all of them. I want all teachers and schools to understand their powers and use them with confidence to keep discipline in the classroom. So, jointly with NASUWT, I will be launching a new leaflet for teachers to give them the information and backing they need.
“I welcome the report’s conclusion that everyone needs to share the responsibility of maintaining discipline, including governing bodies and parents. Where parents are unable to do this, it’s right that Local Authorities should consistently use parenting contracts as a way to support and help parents face up to their responsibilities.”

Behaviour expert and experienced head teacher, Sir Alan Steer, said:

“Children learn good behaviour from watching others and all adults have a responsibility and a part to play in teaching them. How we bring up children is a measure of how civilised is our society. When things go wrong we need to respond promptly, but with intelligence and with care. Childhood is a time when mistakes are made and lessons learnt. Parents and teachers working together can enrich the lives of the young and nothing is more important than that.

“The report will also say it is clear that tackling behaviour and discipline in schools is everyone’s responsibility and that with most children’s behaviour improvement can be seen by offering intelligent help. This can be approached in a number of ways as outlined in his report, through using the legal powers and duties that already exist, supporting the development of good behaviour, raising standards higher and ensuring appropriate challenge.

“This means getting in early, on the front foot tackling low level behaviour before it gets worse and having effective policies in place that take a whole school approach to tackling behaviour.”

Ed Balls added:

“It is unacceptable for a pupil to disrupt the learning and teaching of an entire class. Pupils need to know that when certain boundaries are crossed they will have to bear the consequences, that when they disrupt their classmate’s learning they will be held accountable – withdrawal rooms are one way of doing this which I have seen for myself and discussed with Head teachers
"We know from Sir Alan’s report that although some schools provide exemplary withdrawal provision, other schools don’t. That’s why I want all schools to learn from best practice when using techniques such as withdrawal rooms. In response to Sir Alan’s recommendation I intend to ensure that all schools have the information and support they need to effectively use strategies, such as withdrawal rooms, for internal exclusion.

“Only 1% of all exclusions lead to a successful appeal where a pupil is reinstated and I have always been clear that head teachers must have the power to exclude persistently disruptive pupils. But as the heads say themselves, if there is no right to appeal then head teachers would end up being dragged through the courts to defend their decisions. That’s why I’m pleased that Sir Alan has agreed that independent appeals panels should remain.”

Sir Alan Steer, in his recommendations on improving behaviour to above satisfactory, says schools should aim for the highest possible standards of pupil behaviour.

1. Where a school is rated by Ofsted as having ‘satisfactory’ standards of behaviour, this should be regarded by the school as indicating scope for further improvement. The Local Authority should see a judgment of satisfactory as being a trigger for additional support to help the school implement effective approaches.
2. Schools rated by Ofsted as having ‘Inadequate’ standards of behaviour have an urgent need for significant and speedy improvement. In almost all cases, they are placed by Ofsted in an improvement category. Where behaviour is graded as inadequate these schools must be prioritised for behaviour support from the Local Authority.
3. Behaviour improvement plans produced by schools should pay the closest regard to the guidance contained in the report produced by the Practitioners’ Group: Principles and Practice – What Works in Schools and to Ofsted publications on behaviour management practices.
4. DCSF should monitor the support provided, and where necessary supplement it, through the National Strategies intervention programme on school behaviour.

Steer will also recommend as part of his final report that:

• the Government and partners need to improve the awareness of the wide range of powers that already exist;
• the Government should clearly outline the role of Children Trusts to schools so schools can better understand through guidance how they can engage with the Children’s trust and how this engagement will assist them in meeting the needs of the children;
• Behaviour and Attendance Partnerships should provide the Children’s Trust with an annual report on the standard of behaviour and attendance existing in the partnership;
• each Children’s Trust should identify how it will ensure the deliver of the full range of mental health and psychological well being services across the full spectrum of need;
• Sir Alan Steer believes that all schools should be required to have a Learning and Teaching Policy. He believes that good behaviour in schools is closely linked to classroom practice and identifies this as fundamental to behaviour improvement;
• There should be streamlining of requirements on schools: reducing and rationalising the number of written policies that schools are required to produce;
• the expertise of schools specialising in dealing with the most challenging pupils- particularly Pupil Referral Units and schools for pupils with Behavioural, Emotional and Social Difficulties School – should be given increased scope to contribute to the Training Schools Programme;
• the DCSF should not set targets on exclusion to local authorities, which would undermine the heads’ right to exclude. The DCSF should however consider how best to support and challenge those Local Authorities with disproportionately high exclusion levels;
• teachers need to know about the wide range of powers that already exist. The Government and professional associations need to work together to raise awareness and understanding of the range of powers among schools, parents, pupils and teachers, including in particular the statutory power to discipline;
• local authorities and schools should ensure that there is a more consistent use of Parenting Contracts to ensure that parents are challenged to tackle their children’s unreasonable behaviour. Schools should consider whether a parent’s actions are contributing to their child’s bad behaviour and offer a parenting contract to tackle this and to set out the support that will be available to the family;
• schools must develop effective strategies for pupils whose behaviour prevents the class from learning. This may include a withdrawal room or other alternative provision. Examples of best practice in the use of these methods should be provided to all schools; and
• independent appeals panels for exclusions should not be abolished.


Editor's Notes
This press notice relates to 'England'

1. All the documents referred to in the press notice can be found at: http://www.dcsf.gov.uk/behaviour from 2pm onwards when Ed Balls addresses the NASUWT conference.

2. In addition to the cyberbullying guidance we are launching a new cyberbullying interactive for schools. The interactive is a resource that can be used to follow up on the learning from the film 'Let's fight it together'. It uses the technology that children are using to put them in the school where a cyberbullying incident is taking place, and they have the chance to create their own character and make choices within this situation and get points depending on the decisions they make and these points will tell them how responsible a digital citizen they are. It is available on Childnet's Digizen website together with lesson plans, http://www.digizen.org/cyberbullying for use.

3. The Bullying outside of schools guidance will be published on our website; we will be making free hard copies available by using our communications channels and those of the organisations who have helped to develop the guidance to get the message out to practitioners in local authorities, youth services and other settings for the which the guidance has been prepared.

4. 15% of teachers responding to a 2009 survey carried out by Teacher Support Network and The Association of Teachers and Lecturers reported they had been victims of cyber bullying.

5. Like other forms of bullying, cyber bullying can seriously impact on the health, wellbeing, and self-confidence of those targeted. It may have a significant impact not only on the person being bullied, but on their home and work life too.

6. This is the first Government to implement a comprehensive national programme to strengthen schools’ capacity to manage behaviour. The programme includes specialist training and advice, strengthening schools’ disciplinary powers and reinforcing parental responsibility.

7. Teachers have every right to expect that parents will support them in enforcing discipline and in challenging bad behaviour. But parents who do not co-operate with schools and who do not enforce discipline at home will be challenged. The Government has introduced legislation to enable the use of parenting contracts and parenting orders at an earlier stage.

8. Where a pupil has had a fixed period exclusion, it is a legal requirement for the parent to attend a reintegration interview. Parents are also responsible for ensuring that an excluded child is not in a public place during the first five days of exclusion.

9. DCSF statistics released on 24 June 2008 show that permanent exclusions is down by 7% to 8,680, a drop of 29% since 1997/98, and secondary school fixed period exclusions is up by 4% to 363,270. The drop in permanent exclusions and a slight increase in fixed term exclusions show that schools are using short but effective punishments to prevent problem behaviour.

10. Government is encouraging schools to work in partnership with the police and other agencies through Safer School Partnerships. The Youth Crime Action Plan said that every school will have a named police contact and also set a vision of SSPs becoming the norm rather than the exception in schools

11. The Education and Inspections Act 2006 confirms and clarifies the right of the school to impose disciplinary sanctions on a pupil when their conduct falls below the standard which could reasonably be expected of them. These disciplinary sanctions are actions which aim to make clear the boundaries of acceptable behaviour to the pupil and the school community.

12. Any lawful use of sanctions must be reasonable and proportionate to the circumstances of the case. In particular, the Act requires that account be taken of the pupil's age, any special educational needs, any disability and any religious requirements affecting the pupil. Advice on the use of disciplinary sanctions is included in the Department’s School Discipline and Pupil Behaviour Policies – Guidance for Schools document.

13. There are four behaviour related clauses in the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Bill currently before Parliament (i) to extend the current power to search for weapons to include alcohol, illegal drugs and stolen item; (ii) statutory requirement to record and report significant incidents of the use of force; (iii) new name for PRUs (short stay schools) and (iv) to make participation in Behaviour and Attendance Partnerships mandatory for secondary schools, academies and special schools.

14. Letter from Ed balls to Sir Alan Steer:


Sir Alan Steer
Pro Director
Institute of Education
University of London
20 Bedford Way
London WC1H 0AL


April 2009

Dear Alan

Thank you for your final report on pupil behaviour – Learning behaviour: Lessons Learned - which you submitted with your letter on 15 April. Once again I am impressed by your insight into the key issues around behaviour in schools and your commitment to doing something about them. May I again record my thanks, and the thanks of my Ministerial colleagues, for your exceptional contribution.

 I welcome the direction of your recommendations. I intend to act on your recommendations aimed at Government and I will be taking steps to bring other recommendations to the attention of schools and other partners to consider. I will ask Delyth Morgan to discuss with the teacher professional associations, local government representatives and other key stakeholders how to take forward your recommendations within available budgets. I intend to publish a detailed implementation plan in June setting out how each of your recommendations will be taken forward. I comment further, below, on a number of specific areas of your report.

 I entirely agree with your analysis and conclusions in the “Legal powers and duties” section of the report. As you say, a key need is to improve awareness of the wide range of powers that already exist. My Department will be working further with the teacher professional associations and other partners to develop a dissemination plan to raise awareness of the powers and responsibilities of schools, parents and pupils in relation to school discipline. This will include looking at how school communities can best be reminded that the power to discipline extends beyond the school gates. I am today issuing in partnership with NASUWT a leaflet to teachers describing their overall disciplinary powers.

 I agree that it would be prudent to review the extended new powers to search pupils once it has been in force for three years. The development of Safer School Partnerships as the norm rather than the exception in schools, as signalled in the Youth Crime Action Plan, should help schools make good use of the power.

 One of your most wide-ranging recommendations is that schools should be required to produce a learning and teaching policy. I agree in principle that schools should be required to have a learning and teaching policy and I will consider further how and when to introduce this, taking account of the review of overall policy requirements which we intend to signal in the 21st Century Schools White Paper.

 This leads me to your recommendation about simplifying the requirements on schools to produce written policies. I agree the need for such a review and my Department is considering how best we can go about this. The forthcoming 21st century Schools White Paper will provide an opportunity to be clearer about the expectations and outcomes which we require of schools, including accountability arrangements.

 I am grateful for the sensible and practical recommendations you have put forward under “supporting the development of good behaviour” on issues such as early intervention, staff training, pupil and parent engagement and school partnership working.
The 21st Century Schools White Paper will set out the steps we will take to ensure that the overall quality and consistency of early intervention work is improved so that children and young people do not become distracted or disengaged from learning.
We are considering how funding can encourage the development of early intervention services through, for example, increased flexibility in the funding system. Research on funding for additional educational needs and SEN is currently in progress. We will be considering options in the Autumn with the aim of consulting on proposals early in 2010.

Your conclusions and recommendations on Training Schools are extremely helpful, and I especially agree there is much untapped potential in the contribution which can be made by BESD special schools in this area. My Department and the Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) are agreeing new criteria for schools to join the programme and will support a number of special schools to join as a result.

I am grateful too for your views on the importance of nurture groups in supporting poorly behaved pupils. We will reflect further on how their contribution might most appropriately be assessed.

I know that the Parent Support Adviser programme is something you have particularly supported and which follows on a key recommendation from the 2005 report of the Practitioners Group on School Behaviour and Discipline which you chaired. Our recent remit letter to the TDA asked that they continued with the roll out of PSAs and disseminate good practice. We know they have a network of PSA champions covering each region.

On behaviour and attendance partnerships, your report helpfully consolidates the list of key characteristics that you provisionally suggested in a previous report. I am grateful to you for developing this list in consultation with the professional associations. I will ensure that our forthcoming statutory guidance, which we anticipate will come into force in 2010, reflects these characteristics.

Your recommendations for raising standards higher are extremely useful in taking forward our work to improve standards for all. I agree that we should continue to work with schools to challenge poor performance and raise behaviour standards even higher. This would include encouraging schools with satisfactory behaviour to do even better. I am grateful for your recommendation which highlights the importance of a relationship between the local Children’s Trust Board and behaviour and attendance partnerships. My officials will continue to discuss with stakeholders how best an effective working relationship between the two can be fostered. Our new guidance will build on existing good practice and we are considering what new legislation might be required help embed more comprehensively the line of accountability between the partnerships and Children’s Trust Boards.

Our consultation on the new School Report Card will reflect your recommendation that it should include a grade on behaviour.

I agree there should be no Government targets for exclusion, and we have no intention of setting any. However, I share your concerns that while schools in some areas are able to support their pupils and minimise the need to exclude, in other local authority areas, the permanent exclusion rate is almost three times the national average. My Department has asked the National Strategies to support the highest-excluding authorities to reduce the need for exclusion, and to spread good practice from the lower-excluding authorities, particularly highlighting the issue of multiple fixed period exclusions. I also share your concern that local authorities meet their legal obligation to arrange educational provision for permanently excluded children from the sixth day of their exclusion. Our statutory guidance on exclusions explains the legal requirement on local authorities and schools to do this.

You make some important points about the operation of Children’s Trusts, particularly in relation to delivery of children’s mental health services. The Children’s Trusts will have an important role in providing better joined up services. I will ensure that you suggestions are appropriately reflected in future guidance to the Trusts.

Taken as a whole, your conclusions and recommendations consolidate the good progress made in recent years in furthering the standards of school discipline and pupil behaviour. My colleagues and I are very grateful for all your efforts and we thank you once again.

With all good wishes

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