This weekend is mainly dedicated to writing essays, I obviously have to fit in all of the other jobs that always need doing, washing, drying, cooking, planning. Actually I’m an expert at expanding this list so that the writing essays falls to the bottom.
The SENCO accreditation course is now a legal requirement for all new SENCOs within 3 years of taking up the post. This year is my year to do it, failure is not an option. The first part of the first assignment is all about critically reviewing a section of a government document of my choice, it just needs to have something to do with being a SENCO. I am aware of how many exclusions we have at school, all of them necessary, we have exhausted all other options. I am aware of how children who have SEN are more likely to be excluded so I chose chapter one of the 2009 Steer report – sounds thrilling already doesn’t it!
This chapter looks at the perceptions and reality of challenging behaviour in schools. I started the reading for the essay with dread, how boring was this going to be? The more I read, the more I wanted to read, it started to become more interesting. Facts such as in 2011 78% of teachers surveyed felt that poor behaviour was a widespread problem but only 43% felt that there was a problem in their school. Also how different people perceived behaviour – 84% of head teachers and governors thought behaviour in their schools was good, the local authority and school staff were a little less positive and only 66% of the parents thought behaviour was good – the children weren’t asked. These are very different views of the same behaviour.
The media love a bit of drama, I’ve not seen a headline that says, “All children in school X were on task and well behaved” whereas statements such as the 2014 OFSTED press release, “Failure of leadership in tackling poor behaviour costing pupils up to and hour of learning a day” are more widely published. The BBC issued a reply saying, “Heads reject Ofsted’s poor classroom behaviour claims” but the negative message has still been implanted in people’s brains.
Hunting through journals and the university library I came across a wonderful coloured leaflet produced by the DCFS in 2009 – Delivering the Behaviour Challenge, it proudly boasts, “… it is right that we are guaranteeing to pupil and parents good behaviour in every school.” Whatever the perceptions of behaviour in our schools I think the reality shows that we haven’t met that promise. I don’t have a solution, a magic wand but I agree that Marjorie Boxall had it right when she said “All behaviour is communication”; we just need to help some of our children communicate in a slightly more socially acceptable way