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Evaluation article: Know your strengths Evaluation article: Developing an ethos of high expectation Achieving an ‘Outstanding’ Grade: Focused on Excellence Evaluation article: HR and the successful school: A case study Evaluation article: Leading the way to outstanding learner progress Evaluation article: Attainment and progress: The Rochford Review Evaluation article: How to create a leadership team that drives school improvement Evaluation article: Prioritising the budget for school improvement Evaluation article: Transforming a failing school Evaluation article: Evaluating alternative and specially resourced provision Evaluation article: Taking a school-wide approach to mental health and wellbeing Evaluation article: The latest developments in education - January 2016 Evaluation article: Managing uncertainty Evaluation article: Pupil voice as an evaluation technique Evaluation article: The latest developments in education - September 2016 Evaluation article: Deconstructing Ofsted: Reflection after inspection Evaluation article: MAT expansion: Don’t let school improvement become a casualty Evaluation article: Ten rules for outstanding leaders Evaluation article: The governing body as a critical friend Evaluation article: Developing an ethos of high expectations Evaluation article: The exam post-mortem Evaluation article: Safeguarding: Everyone’s responsibility Evaluation article: How do inspectors make the judgement about overall effectiveness? The Ofsted model Evaluation article: Effective leadership builds effective teams Evaluation article: Baseline assessment and SEND Evaluation article: Making performance management count in school improvement Evaluation article: Joining or setting up a multi-academy trust Evaluation article: Case study from Carlton Bolling College: Ensuring high-quality governance Evaluation article: Using pupil voice to support school evaluation Evaluation article: What are the signs of a good school improvement service adviser? Evaluation article: Headteachers’ appraisal Evaluation article: Making CPD work harder Evaluation article: Using the Framework for governance Evaluation article: Interpreting the inspection dashboard Evaluation article: The government's Prevent guidance Evaluation article: Improving provision for the most able Evaluation article: Personal development, behaviour and welfare Evaluation article: Is there a mental health crisis in our schools? Evaluation article: Evaluating the effectiveness of assessment Evaluation article: Raising boys’ achievement Evaluation article: National standards of excellence for headteachers Evaluation article: Governors and the inspection interview Evaluation article: Monitoring and coaching through lesson observation Evaluation article: CPD: Less measurement and more development Evaluation article: Challenging 
the most able Evaluation article: Using the teachers’ standards as a framework for CPD and accountability Evaluation article: Managing behaviour outside the classroom Evaluation article: Managing pupils’ behaviour in lessons Evaluation article: Keeping Children Safe Statutory Guidance Evaluation article: Four steps to school improvement Evaluation article: Finding a way through the jungle: The essence of leadership Evaluation article: How to audit your whole-school literacy provision Evaluation article: Professional development: the growing case for evidence Evaluation article: Getting personal  with CPD Evaluation article: Making performance appraisal an objective and helpful process Evaluation article: Parent View — an update Evaluation article: Raising pupil achievement through parental engagement: a practical approach Evaluation article: Effective parental engagement

Evaluation article: Know your strengths

Can you make inspection an enriching learning process that is actually good for your school? Heather Clements of Best Practice Network offers some advice. 

Evaluation article: Developing an ethos of high expectation

In this article, Steve Burnage shares some practical strategies to enable school leaders to develop an ethos of high expectation in their schools. 

Achieving an ‘Outstanding’ Grade: Focused on Excellence

Tony Powell outlines a step-by-step approach to support schools in achieving the accolade of ‘outstanding’ as defined by Ofsted.

Evaluation article: HR and the successful school: A case study

Adrian Kneeshaw, Headteacher of Carlton Bolling College, gives a personal viewpoint of the benefits of bringing in the experts.

Evaluation article: Leading the way to outstanding learner progress

Steve Burnage discusses engaging with good practice in the leadership of teaching and learning.

Evaluation article: Attainment and progress: The Rochford Review

Tony Powell reports on the findings of the final Rochford Review.

Evaluation article: How to create a leadership team that drives school improvement

A high-performing leadership team is at the centre of any school improvement mission. But how do you go about creating an excellent SLT? Colin McLean of Best Practice Network asks…

Evaluation article: Prioritising the budget for school improvement

Adrian Kneeshaw of Carlton Bolling school gives advice on how to focus school spending on improvement planning.

Evaluation article: Transforming a failing school

Matt Bromley offers some advice on turning around an underperforming school in a short space of time while laying down the foundations for sustainable improvement.

Evaluation article: Evaluating alternative and specially resourced provision

Tony Powell explains how inspectors gather evidence and make judgements on the quality of alternative and specially resourced provision.

Evaluation article: Taking a school-wide approach to mental health and wellbeing

With concerns about mental health rising, what can schools do to help their pupils? Suzanne O’Connell outlines the advice available from the National Children’s Bureau and how it might be…

Evaluation article: The latest developments in education - January 2016

Suzanne O’Connell provides a look at what’s currently being discussed, debated and determined in the world of education.

Evaluation article: Managing uncertainty

If you are struggling with a sense of uncertainty, be reassured: you are not alone. 2016 has been a year of upheaval, with the promise of big changes on the…

Evaluation article: Pupil voice as an evaluation technique

Tony Powell provides guidance on how to use discussion with pupils as a tool for self-evaluation.

Evaluation article: The latest developments in education - September 2016

Suzanne O’Connell provides a look at what’s currently being discussed, debated and determined in the world of education.

Evaluation article: Deconstructing Ofsted: Reflection after inspection

Tony Powell looks at how to use the feedback from your inspection in school improvement planning.

Evaluation article: MAT expansion: Don’t let school improvement become a casualty

How can an expanding multi-academy trust ensure that school improvement doesn’t become a casualty of change? Colin McLean of Best Practice Network looks at the issue and offers some guidance.

Evaluation article: Ten rules for outstanding leaders

Adrian Kneeshaw looks at how leadership is important to the success of the school, and how to lead effectively.

Evaluation article: The governing body as a critical friend

In his second article on the headteacher and governor relationship, Tony Powell defines what is meant by a ‘critical friend’.

Evaluation article: Developing an ethos of high expectations

Steve Burnage shares some practical strategies to enable school leaders to develop an ethos of high expectations in their schools.

Evaluation article: The exam post-mortem

Matt Bromley considers how schools can learn from exam performance data and build this into school improvement.

Evaluation article: Safeguarding: Everyone’s responsibility

With new safeguarding guidance released, it’s time to check your arrangements and update your staff.

Evaluation article: How do inspectors make the judgement about overall effectiveness? The Ofsted model

This article outlines the Ofsted methodology for determining whether a school is ‘outstanding’, ‘good’, ‘requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’.

Evaluation article: Effective leadership builds effective teams

Steve Burnage offers advice on motivating staff, getting the best from them and building effective teams.

Evaluation article: Baseline assessment and SEND

Suzanne O’Connell looks at a report on baseline assessment in primary schools and it’s affect on identifying children with SEND.

Evaluation article: Making performance management count in school improvement

What do you need to do to make performance management a watertight process that makes a real contribution to school improvement? Keith Wright has some suggestions.

Evaluation article: Joining or setting up a multi-academy trust

Tony Stephens, of the Co-operative Academies Trust, looks at what is the best type of multi-academy trust for a school to join or establish.

Evaluation article: Case study from Carlton Bolling College: Ensuring high-quality governance

Adrian Kneeshaw, Headteacher of Carlton Bolling, gives a personal take on renewing a failing governing body having designed and built one from scratch.

Evaluation article: Using pupil voice to support school evaluation

David Birch explains how capturing the views of students can sharpen school self-evaluation and have a positive impact on your school improvement strategies.

Evaluation article: What are the signs of a good school improvement service adviser?

Frank Norris offers advice on how to choose the most appropriate school improvement partner to work with your school.

Evaluation article: Headteachers’ appraisal

David Birch outlines best practice in the management of the headteacher appraisal process and offers advice for headteachers on how to make the most of appraisal in their own professional development.

Evaluation article: Making CPD work harder

Professional development is a crucial factor in school improvement and improving pupil outcomes, but it could work harder, says Keith Wright.

Evaluation article: Using the Framework for governance

Tony Powell looks at how the Framework for governance can be used to clarify the strategic direction of your school.

Evaluation article: Interpreting the inspection dashboard

There is a new inspection dashboard to go with Ofsted's new Common inspection framework. Tony Powell explains how it can be used.

Evaluation article: The government's Prevent guidance

Suzanne O'Connell considers the guidance available regarding Prevent and school leaders' responsibilities.

Evaluation article: Improving provision for the most able

Ofsted reports are making it clear. The DfE wants to see secondary schools challenging their most able students. In this article, Suzanne O’Connell summarises the criticisms and recommendations from ‘The…

Evaluation article: Personal development, behaviour and welfare

Tony Powell looks at the new key area ‘personal development, behaviour and welfare’ under the new Ofsted inspection framework.

Evaluation article: Is there a mental health crisis in our schools?

The mental health of children and young people is at the top of the agenda at the moment. Increased anxiety, self-harm and eating disorders are bringing some schools to crisis…

Evaluation article: Evaluating the effectiveness of assessment

Tony Powell interprets government guidance on assessment to help schools support self-evaluation.

Evaluation article: Raising boys’ achievement

John Viner looks at research into boys’ underachievement and reviews some successful strategies.

Evaluation article: National standards of excellence for headteachers

Tony Powell looks at the revised national standards for headteachers and how they should be used by schools.

Evaluation article: Governors and the inspection interview

Tony Powell discusses how to prepare governors in advance for an inspection interview.

Evaluation article: Monitoring and coaching through lesson observation

John Viner explores ways to develop a culture of continual improvement in teaching through lesson observation.

Evaluation article: CPD: Less measurement and more development

How can schools translate CPD into genuine improvement for staff? Keith Wright asked leaders to share their views, and discovered an emerging consensus about which approaches work best.

Evaluation article: Challenging 
the most able

Tony Powell looks at how to identify the most able pupils, and the key factors that enable the brightest pupils to achieve.

Evaluation article: Using the teachers’ standards as a framework for CPD and accountability

Tony Powell looks at how the teachers’ standards can be used to evaluate performance and support improvement.

Evaluation article: Managing behaviour outside the classroom

Since January 2014 there has been increased emphasis on the behaviour of pupils. In this article, Jim Donnelly offers advice on managing behaviour around the school.

Evaluation article: Managing pupils’ behaviour in lessons

David Birch offers advice on effective classroom management and argues that effective practice relies on a combination of the consistent application of agreed policy and the development of awareness and…

Evaluation article: Keeping Children Safe Statutory Guidance

This is statutory guidance, which means that schools and colleges (including academies and free schools) must have regard to it. It contains what schools should do and what they must…

Evaluation article: Four steps to school improvement

School improvement is a complex recipe that takes time to perfect. Keith Wright looks at some of the key barriers to school improvement and suggests strategies and systems to overcome…

Evaluation article: Finding a way through the jungle: The essence of leadership

Louise Wingrove gives practical advice on how to become a leader your team will want to follow.

Evaluation article: How to audit your whole-school literacy provision

Given that whole-school literacy is central to raising standards of achievement in schools and that it is a key focus for Ofsted, David Birch outlines some of the actions schools…

Evaluation article: Professional development: the growing case for evidence

Teachers are good at gathering evidence of pupil progress, but many find it difficult to do the same with regard to their own professional development.  Keith Wright looks at the…

Evaluation article: Getting personal with CPD

Less than a fifth of teachers in England’s schools think their continuing profession development (CPD) is any good, according to a recent survey. One of the keys to unlocking the…

Evaluation article: Making performance appraisal an objective and helpful process

Performance appraisal is crucial to school improvement, but many schools are still without a rigorous and transparent way of carrying it out, says Keith Wright. Here, he analyses the challenges…

Evaluation article: Parent View — an update

Jenny Townsend looks at the importance of Parent View in achieving an outstanding rating in inspection, and how comments from parents are used by Ofsted.

Evaluation article: Raising pupil achievement through parental engagement: a practical approach

Jenny Townsend explores how parental engagement can contribute to school improvement and in particular the role this can play in raising pupil achievement levels.

Evaluation article: Effective parental engagement

Ofsted’s Parent View means that parents have a direct influence on the decision to inspect. Jenny Townsend examines why this matters to schools.

Evaluation article: Managing pupils’ behaviour in lessons

Published: Friday, 04 July 2014

David Birch offers advice on effective classroom management and argues that effective practice relies on a combination of the consistent application of agreed policy and the development of awareness and key skills for individual teachers.

Summary

  • It is important that teachers follow the school policy on behaviour and take a consistent approach in order for the policy to be effective.
  • Consistency is vital in the following areas: the beginning and end of lessons; the use of rewards; the application of sanctions; the management of discussion and questioning.
  • Strategies for teachers include: learning pupils’ names quickly; developing awareness of what is going on throughout the classroom; getting lessons off to purposeful starts; anticipating situations where poor behaviour might develop; modelling appropriate behaviour; recognising that behaviour strategies work differently for different people.
  • The school should work towards pupils managing their own behaviour.

‘Pupils are highly adept at managing their own behaviour in the classroom and in social situations, supported by systematic, consistently applied approaches to behaviour management.’ (Ofsted Evaluation Schedule for Schools: grade descriptor for ‘outstanding’).

In order to secure outstanding classroom behaviour, there are three elements that need to work together:

  • the consistent application of the school’s policy by all teachers
  • the skill and awareness of the individual teacher
  • the extent to which pupils learn to control and manage their own behaviour.

The consistent application of agreed classroom behaviour policies

In some ways, consistency is more important than what the particular elements of the policy might say. Classroom behaviour is undermined when weaker or less experienced teachers struggle to apply agreed strategies because established teachers rely on their own experience and disregard the importance of a consistent approach. There are a number of crucial areas where consistency is vital to support the development of excellent behaviour:

  • the beginning and end of lessons
  • the use of rewards
  • the application of sanctions
  • the management of discussion and questioning.

The beginning and end of lessons

The beginning and end of lessons are a crucial time. For example, if it is agreed policy that classes line up outside the room at the start of each lesson to be welcomed by the teacher before they enter, teachers who let pupils wander in casually make it much harder for everyone else to insist on the practice themselves. Failing to end lessons promptly or keeping pupils behind and making them late for the next lesson is also likely to be disruptive.

The use of rewards

Teachers who do not make use of agreed reward systems devalue those systems in the eyes of pupils.

The application of sanctions

If there is a system of progressive warnings prior to a pupil’s removal or referral from a lesson, then it must be used by all teachers consistently. This will prevent pupils arguing that, ‘Ms X or Mr Y wouldn’t have done that’.

The management of discussion and questioning

Strategies to ensure that pupils wait their turn, listen and do not interrupt others may be difficult to apply but are worth pursuing in order to prevent discussion becoming a ‘no-go’ area as a last resort in some lessons.

Developing behaviour management awareness and skills

There are some aspects of behaviour management that may lie outside the school’s system but depend on the ability of the teacher to be aware of and adapt and respond to different situations. Some will come with experience, but there are some pointers to follow from the earliest days in the classroom:

  • learning pupils’ names quickly
  • developing awareness of what is going on throughout the classroom
  • getting lessons off to purposeful starts
  • anticipating situations where poor behaviour might develop
  • modelling appropriate behaviour
  • recognising that behaviour strategies work differently for different people.

Learning pupils’ names quickly

This is much easier when it is linked to a seating plan. If the school does not insist on one, it is invaluable to develop one yourself.

Developing awareness of what is going on throughout the classroom

It is easy for teachers to get absorbed in the work of groups of pupils and become detached from what is happening elsewhere in the room. It is vital to look up constantly to check that each group is on task.

Getting lessons off to a purposeful start

Meeting the class in the corridor may be the ideal and help start the lesson more sharply. Rather than wait for latecomers before taking the register, it is usually better to have something for students to do as soon as they arrive.

Anticipating situations where poor behaviour might develop

Are students sitting in the ‘right’ place? Are there times when they will have to move around? Will there be times when concentration is interrupted because, for instance, materials will be handed out or collected in?

Modelling appropriate behaviour

While insisting that classroom rules are applied consistently, teachers should follow them as well, for example, ensuring that pupils’ views are listened to.

Behaviour strategies work differently for different groups

It is important to recognise that behaviour strategies work differently for different groups and to be prepared to adapt your practice accordingly.

Supporting the development of skills in teachers

Supporting the development of these skills in new and inexperienced teachers needs to be an absolute priority within the school’s continual professional development (CPD) programme. Peer observations and learning walks can usefully focus on these aspects of classroom management and bring to teachers’ attention aspects of their practice that they are unaware of. It is also important that they have the opportunity to see how experienced practitioners develop these skills themselves.

Pupils’ management of their own behaviour

This is much more likely to be in evidence if the elements in the first two sections above are implemented. Self-management of behaviour is likely to follow on as a result of the consistent application of policy. However, there are some strategies that can promote the active engagement of pupils in securing outstanding behaviour:

  • Classroom rules are made fully clear and pupils are given a role in refining or prioritising them. For example: ‘What does this rule in mean in practice for the way in which we organise, say, group work?’
  • Pupils are given responsibility for planning and leading learning episodes and are given active roles in group discussion. They should be working harder than the teacher for learning to be really effective.
  • It is important to recognise the contribution of pupils who find it difficult to participate actively, for example, a brief word after the lesson along the lines of, ‘Well done. I noticed how hard you worked at … today”.

An observer watching a lesson where pupils are active in managing their behaviour should, above all, be able to see that behaviour is outstanding. This, not because of the absence of low-level disruption or lack of concentration, but because pupils actively contribute to the lesson: they are listening actively, they are sensitive to others’ contributions and they show resilience when tasks are challenging.

Further information

Toolkit

Use the following itmes in the Toolkit to help you put the ideas in this article into practice:

About the author

David Birch is Associate Director of the National Education Trust and a freelance education consultant. He is a school improvement adviser working with local authorities in the southwest and was formerly principal of a secondary school in Devon following a career teaching English in London and Oxfordshire. David can be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

This article was first published in July 2014 edition of School Inspection & Improvement magazine. 

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