More than six weeks of lesson time may have been lost to misbehaviour over the last year, the government’s first-ever national behaviour survey has found.
The research, dubbed a “huge wake-up” for the sector, also revealed the health and wellbeing of 60 per cent of teachers had been impacted.
It found around a quarter of youngsters only felt safe at school on “some days” or at no point in the week before they were quizzed.
DfE behaviour tsar Tom Bennett, who helped pen the report, said the results show “we need to refocus our efforts on making sure schools are safe for all”.
“There is a lot of learning time lost to misbehaviour. Even if the recorded data is an exaggeration the suggestion that almost 20 per cent of time is lost in a school day is a huge wake-up to the sector.
“If we could claw most of that back, then we could add a whole year of learning onto a child’s school life. I think most children could really use that extra year, especially the most disadvantaged.”
Sixty-two per cent of school leaders and teachers said poor behaviour had interrupted teaching in lessons in the week before they were quizzed last June.
On average, about six minutes for every half an hour in class was eaten up by poor behaviour. Over the course of a normal school day, this represents 50 minutes lost.
Our analysis found this would equate to about six-and-a-half weeks of classes that could have been lost over the academic year.
“In June 2022, 61 per cent of school leaders and teachers reported that pupil misbehaviour had a negative impact on their health and wellbeing to any extent in the past week,” the report added.
“Of these, 7 per cent reported it to ‘a great extent’, 23 per cent to ‘some extent’ and 31 per cent to ‘a small extent’.”
Heads and teachers more likely to report ‘calm’
When asked if they felt they could access training for behaviour management, 27 per cent of teachers and a fifth of leaders answered they could not find any relevant to their experience and needs.
Ninety-two per cent of leaders also reported “their school had been calm and orderly ‘every day’ or ‘most days’ in the past week”. This compared to 70 per cent of teachers and 55 per cent of pupils.
Two-fifths of youngsters responding to the survey “said they felt safe at school ‘every day’” over the previous week. Meanwhile, 24 per cent answered “some days” or “never”.
The study also found more than one in five children had been a victim of bullying in the past 12 months. The most common reason cited for being picked on was the way they looked.
The DfE said the survey was designed to provide it “with a tool to monitor pupil behaviour in mainstream primary and secondary schools”.
“Understanding concerns related to pupil behaviour and engagement is a priority for us.
“The regular survey data will provide evidence to build on our programme of work to support school leaders and teachers in managing pupil behaviour and to create a positive culture.”