There were some revisions to the inspection framework in September 2013. These were summarised by Heather Leatt here. But one which seems to have slipped under the radar is the renewed emphasis on behaviour. Specifically, behaviour for learning.
A school’s self evaluation form (SEF) is a key document during an inspection. One of the purposes of an inspection is to assess how well the school is taking an accurate view of its own performance. I have looked at a number of SEFs recently and for the most part they are providing an accurate analysis of the absence, exclusion, behaviour and bullying data for the school.
But I haven’t seen any which are making reference to the new expectations for outstanding in the behaviour and safety judgement. The first two bullet points for outstanding refer to attitudes to learning: ‘pupils consistently display a thirst for knowledge and a love of learning, including independent, group work and whole class work, which have a very strong impact on their progress in lessons’ and ‘pupils’ attitudes to learning are of an equally high standard across subjects, years, classes and with different staff’.
It’s coming as a surprise to some schools where good behaviour in lessons has been identified by the school as outstanding. Too often good behaviour is confused with good behaviour for learning. There is a big difference and David Didau has explained it clearly here. Schools need to show that learners are engaged and motivated. Now, this does not mean all singing all dancing performances. It is often quieter and can be seen when students are concentrating, working things through and persevering. Sometimes on their own, sometimes with others. It’s a big ask and it’s not something that happens overnight.
In order for outstanding behaviour to be evident in lessons, there must be consistent, whole-school systems in place. It’s a whole school issue and primarily an expectation that senior leaders have this in place. There have been several posts recently describing schools where behaviour is not managed well. Where behaviour is regarded as the teachers’ ‘problem’ and where unacceptable behaviour is not managed consistently or fairly. In which case, leadership and management are unlikely to be good. Andrew Old posted about how to ruin behaviour http://teachingbattleground.wordpress.com/2013/10/19/how-to-be-bad-smt/ A number of senior leaders are using this as a ‘what not to do guide’. And one headteacher emailed Andrew to describe simply and coherently what needs to be in place: http://teachingbattleground.wordpress.com/2013/10/20/a-solution-to-poor-discipline-in-challenging-schools/ To quote: ‘Securing good discipline is down to the headteacher and senior leaders. Our role is to serve and support our staff, and to guarantee that they can teach their carefully prepared lessons without the stress of dealing with deliberate defiance and unruly behaviour’.
The behaviour and safety judgement needs to take account of the views of staff, pupils and parents. The views of pupils are gathered during interviews, parents from Parentview and meetings. And the views of staff on behaviour come from meetings with middle managers and senior leaders. If a teacher wants to let the inspection team know about behaviour in the school, there is the staff questionnaire, or a direct message to the team during inspection. These inform the overall judgement and will not have an individual response.
For terrific advice on evidencing the rest of the behaviour and safety judgement Stephen Tierney has written about how his school is approaching it http://leadinglearner.me/2013/11/10/ofstedsefplanner-behaviour-and-safety/