Behaviour in Scottish Schools

Anne Wilkin, Kay Kinder, Fiona Johnson, Jenny Murfield, Helen Moor

01 October 2006

Download the report from the Scottish Executive website

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The findings reported here are from research conducted by the NFER for the Scottish Executive between November 2005 and July 2006. The study was mainly quantitative, involving a major survey of headteachers, teachers and additional support staff in schools across Scotland, together with a survey of almost 1,500 pupils in seven schools, but also including qualitative interviews with local authority staff and focus groups with school staff and pupils.

Key Findings

  • Overwhelmingly, the headteachers surveyed considered pupils to be generally well behaved in the classroom, as did the majority of teachers, additional support staff and pupils, albeit less emphatically than headteachers. Positive behaviour was reported much more frequently in primary schools than at secondary level.
  • Headteachers thought that indiscipline was less serious a problem than did teachers and additional support staff. Secondary school staff were consistently more likely than their primary counterparts to identify indiscipline as a serious problem.
  • The classroom behaviours most frequently encountered by school staff on a weekly basis were low level; more serious indiscipline such as physical aggression or violence was far less likely to occur on a daily basis and was hardly ever directed at school staff.
  • The more confident teachers were and the more supported teachers felt by their schools, the more likely they were to register encountering positive behaviour in the classroom and around the school, and the less likely to report incidents of negative behaviour.
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