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What's going on with behaviour?

29 November 2022

Here at Teacher Tapp Towers, we keep a close eye on behaviour 👀

We already know that there’s a perception that behaviour is getting worse over time, but in this week’s blog we’re going to take a deep dive into the reality.

But first…

Quick stats

Our favourite stats from this week’s questions! If you spot a great finding in your Teacher Tapp results let us know and we’ll include it in next week’s blog.

5️⃣8️⃣% of secondary heads have their own parking space

7️⃣8️⃣% of heads report their school has a security lockdown drill

1️⃣9️⃣% of middle leaders have called in sick because they were so behind on work

Is behaviour getting worse?

To look at the reality of behaviour, we use questions that meet three criteria:

Factual: on X day did Y happen? This helps you to answer easily without having to guesstimate or think back too far after a hectic day.

Specific: which of the following happened? Teacher Tapp was set up by teachers, so we know the normal issues & you can easily tick the ones that happened

– Timebound: in lesson X did Y happen? We’re this specific so that if you’ve taught 9 lessons back-to back, you can still easily answer.

In research terms, these questions are longitudinal so they need to be consistently asked. We cannot compare them robustly if we change the details. Sometimes you tell us:

“But all of my lessons had poor behaviour except the one you asked about!”

Sadly that’s just the way it rolls, next time it may be the other way around but it’s important we stay consistent.

Anyway, enough about us! Let’s look at the data!

Last week, we shared a chart that showed behaviour over time since 2019. This week, using the same data, we have a chart that shows how behaviour fluctuates over the school year. From this we can see that behaviour was slightly worse than average in September & October this year, but back in line in November… will we see a big dip in disruption in December like previous years? We’ll have to wait and see!

Proportion saying their most recent lesson was disrupted due to poor behaviour
Facing the consequences

But disrupted lessons don’t measure how bad behaviour is, just that something happened, and that could have been anything from a bee distracting the class to a full on physical incident.

One way to look at severity is via the consequence. A relatively common consequence in secondary school is giving out detentions. So are they on the rise?

No! In 2018, 33% of secondary teachers gave out at least one detention on the day we asked; in 2022 it was 29% (but the number of secondary tappers in 2018 was a lot smaller than it is today, so TBH this difference is probably swept up within a margin of error).

How many detentions did you give out today

How about a more severe consequence… how many teachers had to remove a student from the classroom over the past term? Again this has fallen, albeit only slightly: from 59% to 54% in primary, and from 75% to 67% in secondary.

Are any behaviours on the increase?

Only two behaviours have increased since 2019: ‘slow getting settled’ and ‘slow to start work’. Most other poor behaviours are roughly the same as when we started asking in 2019 or better.

In the last lesson you taught, did any of the following happen?
What about outside of lessons?

While the data above isn’t showing good behaviour (a third of lessons being stopped, multiple detentions and students being sent out etc.), it is suggesting behaviour in lessons it isn’t getting worse. So why are do so many people think behaviour is worse now?

We have three hypotheses…

– Expectations are getting higher

– Behaviour is more problematic out of lessons than in

– The poor behaviour that is happening is more extreme

When we checked in the summer, you told us that behaviour is at its worst in lunch, break, and transition times. This does give us some clues to follow up on, look out for more questions on behaviour in the coming weeks and let us know if you have any other hypothesis we should test.

When is student behaviour worst?

Don’t forget 🎟️🎟️🎟️

Our Golden Ticket prize draw continues 🤑

In December, one lucky Tapper will win £1,500. Every 50 questions you answer earns you a ticket, so keep tapping!

Finally… we know you love the daily read, so here are the ones from last week

The top tip of the week (with almost twice as many clicks as each of our other tips) was What did Ofsted want schools to improve in 2021-2022?

The remaining tips were:

– Homework: three big questions (plus one more)
– Let’s go for a walk
– Why templates tend to fail, and what we should do instead
– Schemas determine what we learn
– Beyond motivation