Low-level disruptive behaviour in classrooms is impeding children’s learning and damaging their life chances, according to Ofsted. A recent report by the education watchdog finds that pupils are potentially losing up to an hour of learning each day in English schools because of disruption in the classroom; this is the equivalent of 38 days of teaching lost per year.
The findings draw on evidence from nearly 3,000 inspections of maintained schools and academies conducted this year, together with findings from two specially commissioned YouGov surveys of parents and teachers and 28 unannounced inspections targeted at schools where there were concerns about poor behaviour.
Two-thirds of teachers questioned for the survey complained that school leaders are failing to assert their authority when dealing with poor discipline and pupils flouting the school rules.
Typical examples of the sort of behaviour identified in the survey of teachers include pupils making silly comments to get attention, swinging on chairs, passing notes around, quietly humming and using mobile phones.
Secondary school teachers identified a greater impact on learning from low-level disruption than those in primary schools. Over two-thirds of those surveyed said that it was a major problem, having a medium or high impact on learning. Parents agreed, with over 20 per cent of those surveyed agreeing that their child’s learning was adversely affected by the behaviour of others.
The report also confirms that the inconsistent application of school behaviour policies in some schools is a source of annoyance to teachers, pupils and parents. Only a quarter of secondary teachers agreed that the behaviour policy in their school was applied consistently. Of parents who took part in the survey, just under two-thirds said that the headteacher should make sure all staff applied the behaviour policy as a way of improving the learning culture.
The report, Below the radar: low-level disruption in the country’s classrooms, is available on the Ofsted website: