Behaviour in Schools

Behaviour in Schools

The DfE has updated guidance on behaviour in schools February 2024. It adds to the previous advice to schools on behaviour and the related legal duties of headteachers, and members of staff with an updated section on mobile phones.

The behaviour in schools advice includes guidance on support for pupils to behave well and the powers of staff when responding to misbehaviour. This non-statutory guidance should not be taken as a complete or definitive statement of the law nor as a substitute for the relevant legislation. Legal advice should be sought as appropriate.

The guidance provides advice on interventions and approaches schools may wish to take to promote good behaviour and prevent the recurrence of misbehaviour.

There are sections on:

  • Creating and maintaining high standards of behaviour which includes advice on: the role of school staff, parents, pupils, the whole school approach and pupils with SEND.
  • Responding to behaviour which includes advice on: sanctions, SEND, support after sanctions, detentions, use of reasonable force, searching, screening and confiscation, removal from classrooms, suspensions and exclusions and behaviour outside of school.
  • Preventing recurrence of misbehaviour which includes advice on: initial intervention following behavioural incidents, pupil support units, reintegration, and monitoring and evaluating school behaviour
  • Specific behaviour issues which includes advice on: child-on-child sexual violence and sexual harassment, behaviour incidents online, mobile phones and suspected criminal behaviour.

Advice on removal from classrooms

The guidance has moved awaway from terminology in the previous guidance on 'isolation and seclusion rooms'. The new guidance sets out advice on removal from classrooms which should be considered a serious sanction. This is where a pupil, for serious disciplinary reasons, is required to spend a limited time out of the classroom at the instruction of a member of staff. This is to be differentiated from circumstances in which a pupil is asked to step outside of the classroom briefly for a conversation with a staff member and asked to return following this.

The use of removal should allow for continuation of the pupil’s education in a supervised setting. The continuous education provided may differ to the mainstream curriculum but should still be meaningful for the pupil.

Removal from the classroom should only be used when necessary and once other behavioural strategies in the classroom have been attempted, unless the behaviour is so extreme as to warrant immediate removal. Parents should be informed on the same day if their child has been removed from the classroom. 

For further guidance and governance of removal advice for Head teachers please see pages 23-26 of the Behaviour in Schools Guidance

Behaviour outside of school premises

Schools have the power to sanction pupils for misbehaviour outside of the school premises to such an extent as is reasonable. Maintained schools and academies’ behaviour policies should set out what the school will do in response to non-criminal poor behaviour and bullying which occurs off the school premises or online and which is witnessed by a staff member or reported to the school, including the sanctions that will be imposed on pupils.

The decision to sanction a pupil will be lawful if it is made on the school premises or elsewhere at a time when the pupil is under the control or charge of a member of staff of the school (Section 91 of the Education and Inspections Act 2006).

Preventing recurrence of misbehaviour

Schools should adopt a range of initial intervention strategies to help pupils manage their behaviour and to reduce the likelihood of suspension and permanent exclusion. This is achieved by helping pupils understand behavioural expectations and by providing support for pupils who struggle to meet those expectations. Some pupils will need more support than others and this should be provided as proactively as possible. It will often be necessary to deliver this support outside of the classroom, in small groups, or in one-to-one activities.

Initial intervention to address underlying factors leading to misbehaviour should include an assessment of whether appropriate provision is in place to support any SEND that a pupil may have. The ‘graduated response’ should be used to assess, plan, deliver and then review the needs of the pupil and the impact of the support being provided.

Where a school has serious concerns about a pupil’s behaviour, it should consider whether a multi-agency assessment such as an early help assessment or statutory assessment that goes beyond the pupil’s educational needs is required.

Page owned by Karen Roper, last updated on 20/02/2024. This page has been viewed 4,332 times.