ASCL comment on National Behaviour Survey

Pepe Di’Iasio, General Secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, responds to the publication of the National Behaviour Survey by the Department for Education.
“The vast majority of pupils are well-behaved, and schools remain overwhelmingly safe and positive environments. However, there has been an increase in poor behaviour among a minority of pupils which is posing a challenge for school leaders and teachers. A lack of support from some parents, many of whom are facing challenges themselves, in dealing with behavioural issues only adds to the scale of the challenge. 
“We would like to see the Department for Education carry out work to establish the reasons for this increase in poor behaviour, but the disruption caused by the pandemic and the ongoing difficulties in supporting pupils with mental health and special educational needs are likely playing a part. Budget constraints have severely limited the amount of pastoral support schools are able to provide, and the fact that so many teachers and leaders surveyed report not being able to access timely external support services is particularly worrying. The survey also demonstrates the importance of teaching assistants in providing targeted support, but we know that many schools are struggling to afford and recruit people to take on this crucial role.
“There needs to be far greater investment in education and children’s services to ensure that all pupils can receive the support they need at the time they need it.”