The Government has published a report – Creating a Culture: How school leaders can optimise behaviour – written by Tom Bennett, who has carried out an independent review of behaviour in schools. This report follows on from work carried out by the IITT Behaviour Review Group who were commissioned by the Secretary of State for Education in 2015 to look at ways to improve teacher training to support classroom management.
The report explores how successful schools implement strategies to support behaviour systems and the barriers that can prevent school improvement. The Introduction to the report is clear about the impact behaviour has on pupil outcomes, stating:
“Behaviour in school is inseparable from academic achievement, safety, welfare and well-being, and all other aspects of learning. It is the key to all other aims, and therefore crucial. Its correct direction is equally crucial, and should be viewed as an issue of the highest strategic importance.”
Source: Creating a Culture: How school leaders can optimise behaviour. Page 12
The Report makes clear recommendations to both the DfE and Ofsted in terms of proposals for national strategies and pilot schemes as well as changes to the focus of school inspection around behaviour management. In this article EIS looks at how schools could use SIMS to support this key area and effectively track, monitor and evidence behaviour management policy.
Consistency of Approach
The Report identifies that one of the common features of successful behaviour management is consistent practice. The SIMS Conduct Module, which allows for the recording of behaviour incidents and achievements, is highly configurable and can be tailored to suit the needs of individual schools. Further, the report states the importance of effective use of consequence and data monitoring, in particular highlighting a challenge around inconsistency between staff and departments.
Schools can set up their own behaviour incident and achievement types, as well as the action taken, through the use of Lookups (drop-down lists). EIS suggest that schools adopt the approach of “pairing up” behaviours and achievements with the appropriate action taken, perhaps by having a coding system, so that staff consistently use an appropriate outcome. Adopting this method can ensure that a consistent application of policy is maintained. An example of this is shown below:
The report identifies that:
“All schools should have a clear and clearly communicated policy on consequences, what they are, how they are incurred and avoided. Most importantly, they must be used consistently, across the whole community. The absence of this consistency is one of the key factors in the failure of a school behaviour policy to sustain or support good behaviour.”
Source: Creating a Culture: How school leaders can optimise behaviour. Page 42
Using SIMS Discover, school leaders can quickly explore whether this is the case, analysing the Action Taken for prevalent behaviours takes a few minutes to achieve.
An example of this seen below. With the generation of two pre-defined graphs in SIMS Discover, consistency of consequence is very easily explored. The Behaviour Type of “Defiance” is the most prevalent in this example and this has been dragged onto the Behaviour Incidents by Action Taken to filter the data and understand what consequences have been applied.
Achievements AND Behaviour Incidents
The report identifies the need to promote good behaviour, in particular:
“When we say ‘is there a behaviour problem?’ we must ask two questions: ‘is there too much misbehaviour?’ and ‘is there enough excellent behaviour?’ The first question, addressed by some of the research already mentioned, can be answered with ‘yes’ and the second ‘almost certainly not’. The mistake when considering the features of a behaviour system is to see it only in terms of minimising poor behaviour that disrupts efficient and civil learning although this is an important and vital aspect to expect. A more empowering and aspirational model is to understand that good behaviour surpasses merely minimising the negative and seeks to maximise positive behaviour.”
Source: Creating a Culture: How school leaders can optimise behaviour. Page 23
The Achievements area of the SIMS Conduct Module can be an equally powerful tool in a school’s behaviour strategy. It is often the case the schools are actively recording Behaviour Incidents (a number of which will be “bad social behaviours”) but do not effectively exploit the Achievements functionality to effectively support positive social behaviour.
By recording positive social behaviour in the Achievements module, it is then easy for a school to look at Behaviours and Achievements over time and explore the relationship between the two. Ultimately, the aim being to evidence that the promotion of positive social behaviour supports a reduction in the negative.
Attendance and Punctuality
The impact of attendance and punctuality on conduct is also explored within the Creating a Culture Report:
“Attendance and punctuality are an important part of good behaviour. Students who miss valuable time in classrooms fall further behind, and become more disengaged from the work of the class, which in turn encourages misbehaviour.”
Source: Creating a Culture: How school leaders can optimise behaviour. Page 49
SIMS Attendance provides schools with the ability to record minutes late, and in a Secondary School, Lesson Monitor extends this functionality to lesson registration. The recording of this data provides schools with strong evidence to support discussion about the importance of punctuality with pupil and parents/carers. The Pupil (Student) Teacher View provides an Attendance Summary showing the number of instances and total minutes late for statutory registration:
SIMS also provides pre-defined reports which allow schools to look at lateness across both sessions and lessons and understand the cumulative effect of the lack of punctuality.
Analysis of attendance data, including lesson absence is provided through a variety of reports, dashboards and graphs in SIMS, all of which can be used to understand and evidence the current position in school.
The importance of home-school communication is also explored and successful strategies include:
- Fast communication
- Multiple communication channels (SMS, email, web)
- Contact for positive as well as negative behaviours
EIS provides schools with a method of messaging parents through the KLZ HomeConnect product and, in addition, MyPortal provides parents/carers with access to assessment, behaviour, achievement and attendance data. The products make use of SIMS data ensuring that contact information is as up to date as possible and saving schools time as records are only updated once.
SIMS also provides school with functionality to send text messages (SMS) or email messages through the purchase of an additional module – SIMS In-Touch. This can automatically generate messages in relation to a wide range of SIMS data such as behaviours, achievements and attendance to pupils, parents/carers and staff. Where schools have purchased SIMS Learning Gateway this information can be published securely and made easily accessible.
How EIS Can Help Your School
EIS provides training and support in all areas of SIMS as well a consultancy services working with schools to exploit SIMS to its fullest potential. If you would like to find out more about how EIS and SIMS could support behaviour management, or any other area of SIMS, in your school, contact the EIS SIMS Support Team on 0300 065 8888.