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Publication - Research Publication

Behaviour in Scottish schools: 2016 research

Published: 12 Dec 2017
Part of:
Children and families, Education, Research
ISBN:
9781788513319

This report is from the fourth (2016) wave of behaviour in Scottish schools research, first undertaken in 2006.

98 page PDF

2.8MB

Contents
Behaviour in Scottish schools: 2016 research
4 Overall perceptions of behaviour

4 Overall perceptions of behaviour

4.1 This chapter sets the scene by providing an overview of the survey findings relating to staff perceptions of behaviour in general; the impact of different behaviours on the overall ethos/atmosphere of the school and on the experience of staff; and the differing patterns of response among categories of staff.

Key findings

4.2 Overall, the majority of staff report that they encounter positive behaviour from pupils all or most of the time. Headteachers were particularly likely to report this (99% did so).

4.3 Serious disruptive behaviour, low-level disruptive behaviour and disengagement were viewed as a having a broadly similar level of impact on the overall ethos/atmosphere of a school.

4.4 However, when asked to choose from a list of specific behaviours, support staff and teachers identified the most common low-level disruptive behaviours as having the greatest impact on their experience – because they experience them more frequently than serious disruptive behaviours, which are much rarer.

4.5 As in previous waves of the survey, the results from headteachers tend to be more positive than the results from teachers ( e.g. headteachers experience more good behaviour and less low-level disruptive behaviour), and the results from teachers are more positive than the results from support staff.

Overall perceptions of behaviour

4.6 Overall, the majority of staff report that they encounter positive behaviour from pupils all or most of the time.

4.7 In the primary sector, 99% of headteachers, 87% of teachers and 79% of support staff say that all or most pupils are generally well behaved during lessons and almost all (96% or more) feel that all or most pupils are generally well behaved around the school.

4.8 Similarly, in secondary schools, 100% of headteachers and 86% of teachers say that all or most pupils are generally well behaved during lessons. Secondary support staff are somewhat less positive, but nonetheless, 54% report that all or most are generally well behaved. Secondary staff are also postive about pupils behaviour around the school: 99% of headteachers, 94% of teachers and 89% of support staff say that all or most pupils are generally well behaved.

The impact of disruptive behaviour and disengagement

4.9 Staff were asked to rate the impact of serious disruptive behaviour, of low-level disruptive behaviour, and of disengagment by pupils on the 'overall ethos/atmosphere' of their school. The scale ran from 1 (very little impact) to 5 (a great deal of impact). The mean scores are shown in Figure 4.1 below. In most cases, the mean ranged between 2 and 3 out of 5

4.10 Within each category of staff, there was relatively little difference in the mean score for each type of behaviour: in other words, they felt that serious disruptive behaviour, low-level disruptive behaviour and disengagment all had similar levels of impact.

4.11 Support staff and teachers felt the behaviours had more impact than headteachers did. Secondary support staff and teachers felt the behaviours had more impact than primary support staff and teachers.

Figure 4.1: Perceptions of the impact of disruptive behaviour and disengagement on the overall ethos/atmosphere of the school
Figure 4.1: Perceptions of the impact of disruptive behaviour and disengagement on the overall ethos/atmosphere of the school
Bases: combined primary and secondary support staff n=1061; primary and secondary teachers n=2495; primary and secondary headteachers n=486.

4.12 When support staff and teachers [5] were asked about the behaviours that had the greatest negative impact on their experience during the last week, they identified the most common low-level disruptive behaviours [6] (rather than more serious disruptive behaviours, which are much rarer) as having the greatest impact:.

Differences between staff groups

4.13 Overall, the results from headteachers tend to be more positive than the results from teachers ( e.g. they experience more good behaviour and less low-level disruptive behaviour), and the results from teachers are more positive than the results from support staff.

4.14 There are a number of possible reasons for this. Different staff groups have different perspectives on behaviour in the school - although that is not to say that the perspective of any one group is more 'true' than any other. Headteachers probably have a broader overview of behaviour in their school but will have to manage more serious cases of disruptive behaviour than low-level disruptive behaviour. Managing serious disruptive behaviour more frequently may mean that headteachers have a higher threshold for the types of behaviour they consider disruptive. On the other hand, teachers have a class level focus and have to manage with low-level disruptive behaviour more often. Support staff often work with the most challenging individuals or small groups within the whole class. Differences between staff groups may also relect levels of training and support received to manage relationships and behaviour as well as different levels of involvement in meetings and discussions around behaviour. For example, support staff, in particular, may feel less involved in meetings where behaviour is discussed and may, as a result, feel less well equipped to effectively support relationships and behaviours (see paragraphs 11.47 to 11.66 for support staff views on the support they receive).

4.15 In terms of serious disruptive behaviour, there was a different pattern. Headteachers encountered this type of behaviour more often than teachers. Headteachers were asked not only about their personal experience of serious disruptive behaviour but also about behaviour that had been referred on to them. For this reason we would expect them to have encountered more than teachers who were asked to think of their own experience only. However, support staff were also more likely to encounter serious disruptive behaviour than teachers and were asked only about their own experience. The most likely reason for this is that they have more one-to-one contact with pupils who display challenging behaviour.


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