Teachers cannot teach and pupils cannot learn in an environment where there is disruption and violence and when behaviour issues occur they cannot be explained away simply by attributing it to teachers’ ability to plan and deliver lessons appropriately.
The NASUWT works to ensure that Government, employers and inspectors and parents accept this self-evident truth.
Thanks to the hard work of teachers, headteachers and support staff, the vast majority of schools are relative havens of peace, security and good order whatever the social circumstances of the community where the school is located.
Serious, widespread violence and disruption are a real concern for staff, pupils and families, but such behaviour remains confined to a minority of pupils in a small number of schools.
The main concern for staff in all schools, and in all areas, is the growing pressure from what is now the most common form of poor behaviour, so-called ‘low-level disruption’.
Constant challenges to authority, persistent refusal to obey school rules and frequent, regular verbal abuse of staff are hallmarks of this behaviour.
Its effects, if unchallenged, are corrosive and can have a devastating impact on the health and welfare of teachers and mean that hundreds of effective teaching hours are lost.
It is vitally important that Governing bodies and independent appeals panels consistently support the professional judgement of teachers and headteachers in tackling behaviour problems including where pupil exclusion is deemed to be the appropriate school response.
The NASUWT Position
Staff are entitled to work in an environment free from violence and disruption and to appropriate access to training and support on behaviour matters. Equally importantly, pupils are entitled to a safe and orderly learning environment.
All schools should establish behaviour policies and strategies and a range of rewards and sanctions in consultation with staff and school workforce unions to promote acceptable standards of behaviour.
Schools should ensure that their behaviour management policies are non-discriminatory in their scope and operation, including on the grounds of ethnic or national origin, culture, religion, gender, disability or sexuality.
Schools should collect and regularly review data on behaviour to ensure that their behaviour management policy is operating fairly and equitably.
The NASUWT has produced a number of publications which address issues associated with pupil behaviour.