Behaviour and Discipline in Schools - Education Committee Contents

6  Equipping teachers with the skills and tools to manage behaviour: teacher training and continuing professional development

77. We welcome the proposals set out in the Schools White Paper for additional powers to improve standards of behaviour, but recognise they will be limited in their impact. Witnesses placed much greater stress on the importance of increasing and improving initial teacher training and continuing professional development on behaviour management for teachers.

78. In oral evidence to the Committee, Dr David Moore (a former HMI and Divisional Manager for Ofsted) highlighted the low levels of training offered to trainee teachers on child development and managing behaviour. Dr Moore pointed out that "since Kenneth Baker was Secretary of State for Education, there has been no training in child development and child psychology. That is extraordinary. If you do a three-year course, you get four to five hours if you are lucky, and if you are on a PGCE course—on which most teachers now come into the profession—you are lucky if you get between an hour and two hours on classroom management and behaviour. Marks and Spencer spends more money on training their staff to handle angry customers than we actually give teachers, which is extraordinary".[143] Professor Pam Maras, Honorary General Secretary of the British Psychological Society, told us that training in child psychology was "crucial" and was heavily overlooked at present in teacher training and development.[144]

79. In oral evidence, Dr Mary Bousted, General Secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers, said that this assessment was "misleading", claiming that "an awful lot of [the 24 weeks of school-based training during ITT] will be on issues around behaviour management".[145] However, Sir Alan Steer warned against focusing too exclusively on the impact of a teacher's initial training, telling us that "it is absolute nonsense to say that we are going to transform our educational system by looking at initial teacher training". He added, "you can train somebody brilliantly, but if they go into an environment that is not receptive to their skills, what will their skill level be after three years?" Sir Alan concluded that training on behaviour management should develop "over an initial period of time [...] as your experience develops".[146] The majority of witnesses to our inquiry agreed with this assessment, with much support for training which is provided in school, relevant to the circumstances in which the teacher finds him or herself. This suggests that school-based training routes may be more effective in equipping teachers with the skills they need to manage behaviour effectively.

80. The Schools White Paper contains a range of proposals on teacher training and development. A major strand is the announcement that initial teacher training will be reformed so that more training is on the job,[147] focusing on key teaching skills—including teaching early reading and maths, managing behaviour, and responding to pupils' special educational needs.[148] The White Paper also contains a commitment to improve continuous professional development through a network of 'Teaching Schools', whereby outstanding schools will take the role of providing and quality assuring initial teacher training in their area.[149] This will be accompanied by an increase in the number of Local and National Leaders in Education (excellent head teachers who provide support to head teachers in other schools) and Specialist Leaders of Education (excellent professionals in leadership positions below the head teacher, who will support peers in other schools). 'Teaching Schools' and the National Leaders programmes will be accredited by the National College.[150]

81. When asked whether the proposed move to more school-led training would improve the quality of the workforce, Jacquie Nunn, representing the Training and Development Agency for Schools, answered:

At the moment, our employment-based trainees say that they are more satisfied with the training in behaviour. There are three reasons for that. The first is their status - they are employed in the school and, therefore, their status is different from that of the trainee teacher coming in for a 12 or six-week practice. [...] The second thing is about continuity. Typically, a larger percentage of our employment-based trainees move on to do their induction year in the school in which they had their initial teacher training. For that reason, there is a pull-through - they are working within the same set of expectations, so we would expect them to be more confident. Thirdly, there is an issue about mentoring and coaching [which] tends to be more about behaviour management and so on, whereas in the university-led, rather than based, courses—they are all very much school-based—there is a strong focus on their subjects. I would say that, in teaching and learning, strong focus on subjects is as much about what we are here for in terms of engagement of children and young people in their learning.[151]

82. In her Annual Report for 2009-10, the Chief Inspector of Education, Children's Services and Skills said that "There was more outstanding initial teacher education delivered by higher education-led partnerships than by school-centred initial teacher training partnerships and employment-based routes".[152] While this is true of employment-based routes, analysis by Professor Alan Smithers and Dr Pamela Robinson of data collected by the Training and Development Agency for Schools shows that training provided by schools consortia was more likely to receive the highest Ofsted rating than that provided by higher education institutions.[153] Research by Musset et al suggests that trainees who have had extensive training in schools perform better as teachers.[154]

83. Russell Hobby, General Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, suggested that a balance between the academic and practical aspects of training needs to be struck, telling us that

there are some topics around behaviour that are best addressed in an academic or higher education environment, particularly when you are phasing into some of the more complex needs—health, mental health and special educational needs. Getting a whole view of child development and how children grow and learn may not be the right thing to take place within a school environment. Nor […] would every school welcome the requirement to train teachers. What we are probably talking about is a balance of a school-led provision with suitable academic input.[155]

This view was supported by Dr John Dunford, who commented "I hope that the pendulum does not swing too far [towards school-led training]: it is important to keep a link to theory and to understand a bit about child psychology.[156]

84. We welcome the increased focus on the importance of initial teacher training and continuing professional development on behaviour contained in the Schools White Paper and we support the shift towards more school-centred and employment-based training and development—including the introduction of 'Teaching Schools' and University Training Schools. We have noted Jacquie Nunn's comment that all ITT courses are now very much school-based, whether school or university led, and we have seen that Ofsted has recognised outstanding teacher training in both types of course. However, as trainees on school-led courses are more satisfied with their training in relation to behaviour, there are good grounds for optimism about the impact on behaviour of the proposals in the Schools White Paper. It is also essential that all routes develop strong links with higher education to ensure that teachers maintain up-to-date subject knowledge, access to—and understand of—research, and a solid grounding in theories of child development, particularly for children with special educational needs.


85. Witnesses representing young people with special educational needs and disabilities reported serious weaknesses in teachers' abilities to identify and support pupils with special educational needs, recommending that "all teachers should be properly trained in SEN, in order to recognise whether behaviour is a result of an unidentified or unmet SEN".[157] We were told of children on the autistic spectrum whose behaviour, although apparently mocking or challenging, in fact resulted from the child's literal interpretation of an instruction.[158] We note wider concerns about identification of children with special educational needs, notably those expressed by Ofsted in its recent SEN and Disability Review, which concluded that "despite extensive statutory guidance, the consistency of the identification of special educational needs varied widely, not only between different local areas but also within them".[159]

86. Sir Alan Steer told us that "I worry about our SEN identification" and he described Ofsted's SEN and Disability Review as "excellent." In his view, it was "ludicrous" and "not credible" that a summer-born child was twice as likely to be on the SEN register than an autumn-born child.[160] Jane Vaughan, Director of Education for the National Autistic Society, suggested that secondary schools were showing considerably weaker progress than primaries in identifying pupils with SEN.[161]

87. To address weaknesses in identifying and supporting pupils with SEN, National Strategies launched the Inclusion Development Programme (IDP), which supported schools and early years settings in helping staff to analyse the causes of poor behaviour. In 2008, the IDP focused on dyslexia and speech, language and communication needs. In 2009, the focus was on supporting pupils on the autistic spectrum. There was strong support for the Inclusion Development Programme amongst witnesses,[162] and Virginia Beardshaw (Chief Executive of I CAN)[163] recommended that the programme should be refreshed and disseminated further to the benefit of all teachers.[164] However, with the ending of National Strategies, it is unclear how central coordination and dissemination of good practice and training concerning teaching pupils with SEN and disability will be managed in future. The Government accepts that "correct identification and appropriate provision for pupils with SEN is a priority";[165] but details of how the Government intends to provide for this will not be known until the Green Paper on special educational needs is published in February 2011.

88. Poor behaviour is often linked to an unidentified special educational need. There is widespread recognition that current practice amongst teachers in identifying and working with pupils with SEN is inconsistent. The Inclusion Development Programme, provided through National Strategies, was valued highly. The Green Paper on special educational needs and disability should include a clear expectation that schools should invest in training their staff on identification of special educational needs and on links between special educational needs and behaviour. The Department should be able to demonstrate that high quality initial teacher training and continuing professional development is available to equip all teachers with the skills to identify special educational needs, particularly speech, language and communication needs; and it should refresh and disseminate further the Inclusion Development Programme (IDP).

143   Q 1  Back

144   Q 1 Back

145   Q 29 Back

146   Q 80 Back

147   The "school-based routes into teaching" to which the Schools White Paper refers (para 2.21 of The Importance of Teaching), refers to both School Centred Initial Teacher Training (SCITT)-training which is delivered by consortia of schools and leads, in most cases, to the awarding of a Post Graduate Certificate in Education-and Employment Based Initial Teacher Training (EBITT), such as the Graduate Teaching Programme (GTP). In this report, these training routes are referred to as "school-led" training, as opposed to "university-led" training routes such as the Postgraduate Certificate in Education (PGCE).  Back

148   The Importance of Teaching, para 2.6 Back

149   The Importance of Teaching, para 2.24 Back

150   The Importance of Teaching, para 2.43  Back

151   Q 339 Back

152   HC 559, Session 2010-11, p 59 Back

153   In 2008-09, 5 of the 60 universities offering primary initial teacher training (ITT) achieved maximum Ofsted ratings (8.3%), compared to 7 out of 28 primary school-centred ITT (SCITT) programmes (25%). 8 out of 71 universities offering secondary ITT achieved maximum Ofsted ratings (11.2%), compared to 4 out of 27 secondary SCITTs (14.8%). Source: TDA Back

154   Musset, P. (2010) Initial Teacher Training and Continuing Training Policies in a Comparative Perspective. OECD Working Papers, No. 48, OECD Publishing, p 9 Back

155   Q 174 Back

156   Qq 340, 341 Back

157   Ev 149 [Special Educational Consortium] Back

158   See Qq 188, 202 [Jane Vaughan]; also Ev w107-8 [Oxfordshire County Council] Back

159   The Special Educational Needs and Disability Review, Ofsted, 14 September 2010, Executive Summary, p 7 Back

160   Q 89 Back

161   Q 190 Back

162   e.g. Q 192 Back

163   A charity working for children with speech and language difficulties Back

164   Q 193 Back

165   Ev 166 Back

previous page contents next page

House of Commons home page Parliament home page House of Lords home page search page enquiries index

© Parliamentary copyright 2011
Prepared 3 February 2011