Headlines: June 22nd, 2005

A group of heads and leading teachers who are experts in school discipline have held their first meeting to find ways to press home the drive to tackle pupil behaviour. The Expert Group is chaired by Sir Alan Steer of the Seven Kings High School, Ilford. Its task is to advise the Government on how effective school discipline reaches every classroom, how to improve parental responsibility for their children’s behaviour and deliver a culture of respect in all schools.The Group will draw on the approaches currently used by successful schools, including ways to build up effective collaboration between schools. They will consider whether teachers need further support through initial training or professional development in managing behaviour and whether a national code on behaviour setting out the responsibilities of schools, pupils and parents in promoting good behaviour would be helpful. They will also look at the scope for policy developments and new powers for head teachers which would help in enforcing school discipline. They will focus on practical proposals in those areas which are likely to have the most significant impact on behaviour in schools.

Teaching unions and other professional associations have nominated heads and teachers who have a proven track record in managing behaviour to sit on the Group. It will work intensively over the next few months to produce a detailed report by the end of October for presentation to stakeholders including teacher unions, Ofsted, local authority and Parent Governor representatives. The stakeholder group will be chaired by Schools Minister Jacqui Smith.