Schools face behaviour inspections

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SCHOOLS with behaviour problems will face no-notice inspections from next week to crack down on disruption in the classroom, Ofsted has announced.

The move comes amid concerns by chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw that England’s schools are suffering from a culture of “casual acceptance” of misbehaviour.

An inspection could be triggered if parents express worries about discipline through an online survey, or if behaviour issues have arisen during previous Ofsted visits. Around 700,000 pupils are currently attending schools with behaviour issues, according to Ofsted statistics.

“Parents want to send their children to schools where they can be confident in the knowledge that behaviour is good,” Sir Michael said. Ofsted is there to champion this cause.

“Headteachers and leadership teams determine the culture of the school and they must ensure that high standards of behaviour are maintained both in and outside the classroom.

“Good headteachers understand that positive behaviour underpins effective teaching and learning.

“They make themselves visible and make sure lessons aren’t undermined by a disrespectful attitude towards staff or authority.

“Ofsted is determined to ensure that those who are failing to get a grip on poor behaviour take action to create the right conditions for children to learn.”

Schools will be selected for the one-day unannounced inspections based on concerns raised by parents through Ofsted’s Parent View website, as well as on evidence gathered through previous visits. Inspectors will assess the culture of the school during visits, Ofsted said, as well as pupils’ behaviour in and out of the classroom, including between lessons, breaks, lunchtime and after school.

They will also speak to teachers and students about how misbehaviour is dealt with. The findings will be published.

Plans for the one-day unannounced inspections were first announced by Sir Michael in his annual report, published in December.

It suggested that low-level disruption in lessons and poor attitudes to education are stopping pupils from learning, and preventing the nation from moving up international league tables.

This disruption and inattention has been tolerated for too long, Sir Michael said.

Behaviour and safety of pupils is one of four key inspection areas which Ofsted assess a school on. The others are pupil attainment, teaching and the leadership and management.

According to an Ofsted website behaviour of pupils is actually the area in which the nation’s schools perform best.

Eight per cent of schools were rated less than good for behaviour at the start of this academic year compared with 22 per cent of schools for pupil attainment, 21 per cent of schools for teaching and 17 per cent for leadership and management.

Kevin Courtney, Deputy General Secretary of the National Union of Teachers, the largest teachers’ union, said: “As Ofsted recognises, behaviour in the majority of schools is good. Snapshot, ‘no notice’ inspections by Ofsted are already highly subjective and are not the right way to judge a school. To now find them inspired by online reporting, which could well have been written in anger or through malice, is not the best way to resolve parents’ issues with a school. The bull in a china shop approach of Ofsted solves nothing.”