Tackling Pupil Indiscipline

Teachers cannot teach and pupils cannot learn in an environment where there is disruption and violence.

Not part of the job

In the NASUWT’s annual Big Question survey of teacher opinions, pupil indiscipline now ranks in the top three of teachers’ concerns about their job.
 
Increasing class sizes, the narrowing of the curriculum, lack of access to internal and external specialist support and advice and the increasing number of pupils with special needs in mainstream classrooms are amongst the day-to-day realities faced by teachers and some of the main contributory factors to the pupil indiscipline problems teachers increasingly face. 
 
Teachers who raise concerns too often find that they are blamed for the indiscipline or told that it is ‘part of the job.’ Being told it is part of the job is a particularly common experience for teachers who work in special school or pupil referral units.
 
Every teacher has a right to work in an environment free from violence and disruption, regardless of the setting in which they work.
 
The NASUWT has a record second-to-none in supporting teachers in tackling pupil indiscipline and ensuring they are provided with a safe working environment.
 
Posters which can be displayed on notice boards can be downloaded from the expandable panels on the right/below depending on which device you are using.
 
Whatever the concerns you and the members in your workplace are facing on performance management, pupil indiscipline or any other issue, please talk to us and let us help and support you.



Teachers' views on pupil behaviour

Nation Believe that there is a widespread problem with pupil behaviour in schools today Believe that there is a pupil behaviour problem in their school Believe that there is an issue of low-level disruptive behaviour among the pupils they teach
England 72% 39% 78%
Northern Ireland 78% 42% 80%
Scotland 85% 50% 88%
Wales 85% 53% 82%
 
Teachers' top causes of pupils' poor behaviour Teachers' top day-to-day behaviour problems
- lack of parental support
- lack of support from senior managers
- lack of pupil readiness to learn
- chatter in class
- failure to complete work
- inability to follow rules

Teachers report being subject, in the last 12 months, to the following by pupils...

Nation Threats of physical assault Physical assault Verbal abuse Abuse on social networks Not feeling supported by
senior managers
Not always having access to
external support when
they need it
Engalnd 23% 19% 89% 5% 71% 86%
Northern Ireland 24% 4% 79% 11% 59% 81%
Scotland 26% 21% 84% 68% 61% 92%
Wales 23% 19% 89% 5% 71% 86%

The NASUWT supporting and empowering teachers

Unchallenged, low-level disruption is corrosive, taking its toll on the health and wellbeing of teachers. 
The education of all pupils is affected. Hundreds of teaching hours can be lost each year dealing with such behaviour. However, wherever violence and disruption occur, they must be challenged. No teacher should go to work with the expectation that verbal and physical abuse are part of the job. 

The NASUWT has a record second to none of supporting teachers where problems arise with pupil indiscipline.

Teachers have a right to expect:

  • a safe environment in which to work; 
  • access to appropriate training;  
  • appropriate resources to enable them to respond to pupils’ behavioural needs at an early stage; 
  • access to external advice, support and specialist provision; 
  • parents to take responsibility for the behaviour of their child; 
  • effective school leadership, working in partnership with staff to maintain high standards of behaviour; 
  • respect for their professional opinion and any concerns they have to be taken seriously; 
  • the support of a non-discriminatory pupil behaviour policy, drawn up in consultation with the NASUWT, which promotes acceptable standards of behaviour;
  • regular monitoring and review of data on pupil behaviour to ensure that the behaviour policy is working effectively. 

    Make sure your school is meeting these expectations

In brief - what to do if you are ...

...verbally abused and threatened
- Report the incident in accordance with the school's behaviour policy.

- Make sure the incident is entered into the school's accident/incident book.

- Keep a copy of any written report that you make.

- Seek advice and support from the NASUWT as soon as possible.


...abused on social media
-Keep a record of the incidents, including screenshots of any abusive or offensive material, to be used as evidence.

- Avoid retaliating to, or personally engaging with the pupil


Do not submit a written report to anyone or make a statement to the police without the advice and support of the NASUWT
 

Professional development and support

The NASUWT provides:

  • professional development seminars on pupil behaviour management for all teachers. the seminars provide new teachers with practical advice. They also provide more experienced teachers with the opportunity to discuss and reflect on their practice. For more details, conferencesandevents@mail.nasuwt.org.uk;

  • advice and guidance on behaviour management, including top tips for teachers on maintaining high standards for pupil behaviour.

  • in-school support - the NASUWT will arrange to meet with members, in their workplace or off-site, to discuss any concerns they have either on an individual or collective basis and identify strategies for dealing with any issues of pupil indiscipline members may be experiencing.

    Where schools fail to address teachers' concerns, the NASUWT with the support of members, will ballot for members to refuse to teach and supervise the pupil(s) concerned, in order to protect members' health and welfare.