Prime minister Boris Johnson has pledged today to give schools the “powers they need to deal with bad behaviour and bullying”.
In a statement released on A-level results days, Johnson also said the government will “do all we can” to improve funding.
Schools are still waiting to hear about the full details of Johnson’s pledge to up school funding by £4.6 billion per year by 2022.
But the comments on targeting behaviour offer an early glimpse into Johnson’s priority for schools heading in to a potential general election later this year.
There were no further details provided about Johnson’s pledge. But improving behaviour in schools seems to be a vote winner.
A study released by pollsters YouGov yesterday found a desire for school discipline to be “stricter” was a popular opinion amongst both right- and left-wing voters.
— Jonathan Simons (@jonathansimons) August 14, 2019
However it’s also a controversial issue among the education community. Advocates for stricter discipline argue it keeps pupils and teachers safe as well as boosting educational standards in schools, but critics say some stricter behaviour policies can sideline the most vulnerable pupils.
Although still small numbers, the rate of pupil exclusions has risen previously – with the latest data showing suspensions (fixed-term exclusions) are now on the rise.
Former education secretary Damian Hinds announced last year plans for the first substantive review of government behaviour guidance in over three years, alongside a £10 million pot to train teachers how to deal with unruly pupils.
The government’s behaviour tsar Tom Bennett will oversee a “behaviour network” to support 500 schools.
Johnson said today: “I congratulate everyone receiving their A level results today.
“The new government will do all we can to improve funding for education and to give schools the powers they need to deal with bad behaviour and bullying so that pupils can learn.”
The new prime minister also called for “much more attention” on providing “great apprenticeships” for all pupils that don’t go to university.