Sunday 21 January 2018

British schools look to checklists to improve pupil behaviour

Alison Kershaw

BRITISH Schools are being encouraged to introduce hospital-style "checklists" aimed at improving discipline in the classroom, it was announced today.

It could see teachers displaying school rules, as well as using rewards and punishments for good and bad behaviour in class, and telling parents if their child has been naughty.

The checklist has been drawn up by the Government's behaviour adviser, Charlie Taylor, who is also head of Willows Special School in Hillingdon, north-west London.

He said the idea for a checklist was based on a similar scheme introduced to hospitals by surgeon Atul Gawande.

The surgeon was concerned at the number of patients suffering serious complications after operations and realised many of the cases were down to staff failing to follow basic procedures, such as not washing their hands.

He introduced a checklist to be read out before each operation to ensure basic, essential rules were followed.

The Department for Education (DfE) said the behaviour checklist is designed to be used by schools and teachers to run through in the morning and afternoon to check that basic behaviour rules are in place.

Mr Taylor said his list, which is divided into sections for headteachers and teachers, can be adapted by individual schools.

The list includes:

- Displaying school rules clearly in classes and around the building;

- Headteachers knowing the names of all staff, and praising good performance;

- Heads visiting the lunch hall and playground, and being around at the start and end of the day;

- Headteachers checking up on behaviour outside of school;

- Teachers meeting and greeting pupils when they come into the classroom;

- Displaying sanctions and rewards for behaviour in the classroom;

- Teachers staying calm in class;

- Praising pupils' good behaviour;

- Teachers giving feedback to parents about their child's behaviour - both good and bad.

Mr Taylor said: "As a headteacher I know that where there is inconsistency in schools, children are more likely to push the boundaries.

"If a pupil thinks there is a chance that the school will forget about the detention he has been given, then he is unlikely to bother to turn up. If he gets away with it, the threat of detention will be no deterrent in the future.

"The checklist sets out for all schools the simple but essential things to get right to ensure strong discipline, and therefore strong teaching.

"Teachers can run through the checklist first thing in the morning and again after lunch to ensure the correct preparations."

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