Ofsted to rewrite ITT inspection framework with focus on behaviour

Ofsted will introduce a new framework for inspecting initial teacher training next year with an increased focus on how trainees are taught to manage behaviour.

The inspectorate will consult in early 2020 on plans for the new framework, including how far-reaching the new emphasis on behaviour will be.

Ofsted has not revealed any other proposed changes to the framework, which is set to come into force from September 2020. However, Schools Week understands it is likely to also include a greater emphasis on mentoring and subject knowledge.

Amanda Spielman, the chief inspector of schools, said the focus on behaviour management will help ensure that the next generation of trainee teachers “understand the important principles of behaviour management, how to teach pupils to behave and how to create an environment where pupils can learn”.

Current guidance already states that inspectors may ask providers for evidence of how they improve the quality of teachers’ skills in promoting and managing good behaviour.

Emma Hollis, executive director of the National Association of School-Based Teacher Training, said the “sharper focus” on behaviour had been expected in the new framework.

“ITT providers already work hard to ensure that their programmes instil excellent practice around behaviour management for trainee teachers, but the issue of behaviour management in schools cannot be resolved through initial teacher training alone,” she said.

Ofsted’s teacher wellbeing report, published in July, found that poor behaviour is a “considerable source of low occupational wellbeing”, and teachers do not always feel they have support from senior leaders and parents to tackle it.

The inspectorate has been carrying out research into behaviour in schools, and recommended today that schools develop a clear and consistent whole-school behaviour management policy, embed routines to minimise disruption and communicate clearly with parents.

However, it has “continued concerns” about behaviour management in some schools, and said it intends to embark on future projects to understand more about best practice, particularly in pupil referral units and around transitions to primary and secondary school.

In a commentary describing the research findings so far, Spielman said schools they spoke to “rarely made reference to any of the standard approaches so frequently discussed in the media”, including zero-tolerance or restorative justice.

She also reiterated the importance of behaviour policies being applied “flexibly” for pupils with special needs, mental health issues or difficult life circumstances. However, she warned some schools were defining this group of pupils “too broadly” to also include other pupils who misbehave, which risks “undermining” their approach.

The announcement on ITT comes after Ofsted’s new education inspection framework came into force, bringing with it a greater focus on behaviour in schools through the new ‘behaviour and attitudes’ judgement.

Behaviour is also being brought into sharper focus in the Department for Education.

Last year, former education secretary Damian Hinds announced plans for the first substantial review of government behaviour guidance. In May, it was announced that government behaviour tsar Tom Bennett will lead a £10 million project that aims to support 500 schools across England to develop behaviour policies, including detention systems and new sanctions and rewards schemes.

And last month, new prime minister Boris Johnson said he would give schools “the powers they need to deal with bad behaviour and bullying so that pupils can learn.”

A leaked education plan, revealed by the Guardian, said the DfE would back heads to “use powers to promote good behaviour including sanctions and rewards, using reasonable force, to search and confiscate items from pupils (including mobile phones), impose same-day detentions, suspend and expel pupils, ban mobile phones”. However, these are things headteachers are already allowed to do.

Gavin Williamson, the education secretary, said any single instances of misbehaviour can “disrupt learning for every child in a class”, and added that the move from Ofsted would help “empower teachers to deal with low level bad behaviour”.