Thursday, 19 November 2009

Are schools now going to stop recording incidence of poor behaviour?

The outline guidance for inspectors regarding the assessment of pupil behaviour states that "Inspectors should take account of documentary evidence about pupils’ behaviour, including records of: racist and bullying incidents; the use of any ‘on-call’ system; the use of ‘remove’ or ‘seclusion’ rooms; and the types of incidents which occur at break, lunchtime and social times"
It also says "Where records or observations indicate that behaviour disrupts learning or threatens well-being more than very occasionally, it is likely that behaviour will be judged inadequate overall". Correct me if I'm wrong, but there seems to be much scope here for schools shooting themselves in the foot; inspectors will want to see records of poor behaviour. If the records show that the misbehaviour occurs "more than very occasionally" (whatever THAT means!) then you're graded 4 (inadequate). So, a school which rigorously pursues good behaviour and diligently records all incidences of misbehaviour is clearly lighting the petard fuse well before it's time to run. On the other hand, St Mayhem's High School down the road cunningly only records a fraction of the misbehaviour and thereby gets a glowing report. Here's a cautionary tale in a similar vein:
Remember when we had half an inch of snow last winter and the country ground to a halt? One school near me lost no time in closing down to give the head a few days extra holiday. Another school struggled valiantly on with teachers arriving by dog sled and skis to keep the school open - for the 15 kids who actually turned up. As the school was open, all the absences were counted against the school stats, putting them near he bottom of the LA league table for attendance. But Closedown High School however, being closed, did not have any absences counted. The head told me, as he scanned the skies for signs of snow, that in future he will close at the first available opportunity, which I thought was being rather optimistic, it being the middle of June.
So the message is clear; play the game by your own rules. Given that 27.6% of all statistics are made up on the spot anyway, why should any school return the correct numbers, and get thrashed for it, when they can simply ... cheat? Answers on a postcard ...


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