The secondary education issue I have chosen to focus on for this presentation is Whole School Behaviour Policies and how such policies can influence the teaching and learning experiences in school through the use of sanctions and rewards. I chose this area to focus on because, as a student teacher on a teaching placement, behaviour in schools is one of my biggest concerns and also because, according to the Elton Report and other literature I have read, it appears that this is a major area of concern throughout secondary schools in the UK. The Elton Report, a national enquiry into discipline in schools, was established by the Secretary of State for Education and Science in March 1989 in response to concern about the problems facing the teaching profession. Their task was to “recommend action to the government, local authorities, voluntary bodies, governors, headteachers, teachers and parents aimed at improving behaviour in schools for effective teaching and learning to take place”. (Elton Report, DES, 1989) The Elton Report has formed the basis of much of the current legislation on school behavioural policies and offers guidance for schools in drawing up their own behaviour policies. The main findings and recommendations of the Elton Report can be summarised in the following points (Teachernet, 2008): •School’s should adopt a ‘whole-school’ approach to their behaviour policies and the teachers’ approach should be one of consistency and fairness •Schools should have a clear vision for managing behaviour through establishing clear rules and boundaries, with emphasis on the positive.
•All must adhere to policy principles, and teachers should model behaviour and interactions in a positive and supportive way.
•Boundaries should be made clear and sanctions should be in place, but the emphasis is on praise and rewarding good behaviour.
•All staff should recognise that the quality of teaching and learning has a significant impact on pupils’ behaviour
“A school's central purpose is that children should learn. Good behaviour makes effective teaching and learning possible. Bad behaviour disrupts these processes.” (Elton Report, DES, 1989) In September 2003, the government’s Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) launched the Behaviour and Attendance strand of the Key Stage 3 Strategy. This programme aims to provide advice, support and training for all secondary schools in England to promote positive behaviour and tackle issues of low-level disruption. It recommends that senior leadership teams in schools will carry out audits of behaviour and attendance and, from these, will establish priorities for the whole school. They will then plan actions to further improve their policy and practice and will draw up training plans for their staff. (Behaviour4learning, 2008) At my year one placement school I witnessed these recommendations put into practise in the classroom through the implementation of the school’s Behaviour Policy. The placement school is a mixed comprehensive school in the London borough of Tower Hamlets. The head teacher’s perception of the school’s catchment area is that it is a predominantly working class area of London with high levels of poverty and unemployment.
According to the school’s latest Ofsted inspection report the number of pupils who are registered SEN (Special Educational Needs) is above the national average. Although not all special needs are connected to behaviour, it is largely acknowledged that if a child finds learning very difficult it is possible that incidents of poor behaviour can occur. (Cowley, 2006)...