Mouroutsou S (2020) Beyond Disruption: identifying effective behaviour support in schools. The British Academy. Stirling: University of Stirling.
Behaviour in schools is a continuing policy concern internationally (Hue, 2010; Ball et al., 2012). Many countries develop policies to promote inclusion of all pupils, including those whose behaviour is considered as ‘challenging’, in mainstream schools (Wearmouth and Glynn,2004). Much of the literature suggests that the most common form of pupil misbehaviour is low-level disruptive behaviour which includes talking out of turn, work avoidance, hindering other pupils and making distracting noises intentionally (Sullivan et al.,2014; Scottish Government, 2016).
In Scottish schools, there is an increase in low-level disruptive behaviours, and class exclusion and internal exclusion are some of the different practices adopted by schools in terms of exclusion (Scottish Government, 2016). However, rates of disciplinary exclusion/expulsion have reduced (Scottish Government, 2015), representing schools' and councils’ efforts to adopt a range of approaches to engage pupils in their education.
Research shows the different approaches that are used in schools to achieve greater inclusion including restorative and nurturing approaches, but also illustrates the challenges that schools experience (Black et al.,2012; Mouroutsou,2017). Those approaches employ different strategies and practices. For example, a restorative approach employs practices such as emotional and social literacy skills, circle time, solution focused interventions, relational pedagogy training for teachers, restorative ethos building, use of restorative language informal restorative conversations, and restorative group work with students and/or families (McCluskey, 2018).
Taking the Scottish Attainment Challenge into consideration, the emphasis on positive relationships and behaviour (Scottish Government, 2013) as well as the link between learning and behaviour (Head, 2005) (such as for example the association of school-level behaviour approaches with improvements in attainment), it is important to explore the practices that schools have adopted and are considered to be effective and the adaptations that make a difference in practice. Therefore, the aim of this study was to identify practices that are considered to be effective and the characteristics that make an approach effective. This project was funded by the British Academy. This short report presents a summary of the key findings.
The study sought to answer three key research questions:
1. What approaches and practices are considered by teachers to be effective in terms of behaviour support?
2. What are the differences in the adaptations of similar approaches adopted by different secondary mainstream schools?
3.What are the important characteristics that can make an approach effective?