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BASW England comments on DfE scheme tackling bad behaviour

More than 500 schools will be part of a pioneering scheme to tackle bad behaviour in schools, backed by £10million investment

BASW England's Children and Families PPEG group supports the Department for Education (DFE) position that calm and safe classrooms benefit students and teachers alike and create cohesive and supportive school communities.   

We are concerned however, by the DFE position that it will “crack down on the bad behaviour in 1 in 3 schools”.   

The DFE commissioned Timpson Review identifies children with some types of SEN, boys, those supported by social care or disadvantaged as more likely to be excluded and notes exclusion rates vary by ethnicity.  

These issues are complex and multifaceted and the DFE rhetoric fails to acknowledge these complex matters that teachers have to respond to in their classrooms each day.  

At a time when Human Rights Watch are highlighting poverty and missing meals as a significant issue for children which schools have to address and cuts to SEND budgets by local councils are reducing support to children, leading to legal challenges, cracking down on behaviour is like to further marginalise children. 

It is clear many teachers are working hard for the welfare of the children they teach and there have been regular media reported incidents of children needing basic needs for food met when they arrive at school. 

Some children’s needs, often those supported by social workers are complex and the impact for looked after children, adopted children, those experiencing CSE, domestic violence and other multiple factors impact children’s behaviour at school.    

Much research into the neurobiology of behaviour has taken place and a strong evidence base is developing around support of children’s social, emotional needs impacting their behaviour and improving behaviour and attainment in the classroom. 

The positive relationships school can offer children are vital to better outcomes.  OFSTED has given high praise to schools who are able to incorporate attachment focussed approaches both in mainstream and specialist provision.    

BASW England would like to see the DFE support the Timpson Review recommendations that schools should create the best conditions for every child.  We would also like to see the DFE Behaviour Support Networks strategy reviewed to ensure that it communicates effectively children’s behaviour is best understood within its context. 

It is vital that in doing so knowledge and understanding that helps teachers understand the impact on the brain and behaviour of adverse and traumatic social experiences in provided to staff that are responding. 

To support those children and families where behaviour is communicating a high level of need multidisciplinary support is needed.

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