Behaviour in Schools: Department for Education Guidance

The Department for Education has updated its guidance, Behaviour in Schools. This blog summarises the guidance and examines the changes and updates that have come into effect.

You can read the full Behaviour in Schools guidance HERE. 

Purpose of the Guidance 

The guidance provides advice to schools on both behaviour in schools and the duties of members of staff. It includes guidance on support for students to behave well and the powers of staff when responding to misbehaviour.  

The purpose of the guidance is for individual schools to develop their own practice for managing the behaviours of students and to provide guidance to schools and multi-academy trusts to support them to improve and maintain high standards of behaviour. Good behaviour is central to good education and managing student behaviour will provide calm, safe and supportive environments where children and young people can grow and thrive.   

Creating and maintaining high standards of behaviour 

There are several requirements for creating and maintaining high standards of behaviour within a school including:  

  1. The behaviour policy is implemented effectively to create a positive behaviour culture in which students are encouraged to also reflect the values of the school  
  2. All headteachers take responsibility for implementing measures to secure acceptable standards of behaviour. The minimum national standards are: 
    • The school has high expectations of pupils’ conduct and behaviour 
    • School leaders consistently support all staff in managing pupil behaviour  
    • Measures are in place and targeted interventions are used to improve pupil behaviour 
    • Support is provided to all pupils to help them meet behaviour standards 
    • Pupil behaviour does not normally disrupt teaching, learning or school routines 
    • All members of the school community create a positive, safe environment in which bullying, physical threats or abuse and intimidation are not tolerated 
    • Any incidents of bullying, discrimination, aggression and derogatory language (including name-calling) are dealt with quickly and effectively
  3. The staff ensure that the school is a safe environment for all pupils. The behaviour policy should be aligned with the school’s legal duties and standards relating to the welfare of children
  4. The policy follows the KCSIE (Keeping Children Safe in Education) guidance and provides a safe environment in which pupils can learn 
  5. Where circumstances arise that endanger the safety of a pupil or staff member, the school should act swiftly and decisively to remove the threat and reduce the likelihood of its reoccurrence 

Creating a Behaviour Policy  

Schools need to develop a culture that promotes excellent behaviour and is clear of acceptable and unacceptable forms of behaviour. A place to start this is within a Behaviour policy which is an ideal way to communicate the school’s ideals and beliefs to staff, students and parents/caregivers.  

It is important that the behaviour policy includes: 

  • Purpose – including the underlying objectives of the policy 
  • Leadership and management – including the role of designated staff and leaders, any systems used, the resources allocated and engagement of governors/trustees 
  • School systems and social norms – including rules, routines, and consequence systems 
  • Staff induction, training, development and support  
  • Pupil transition – including induction and re-induction into behaviour systems, rules, and routines
  • Pupil support – including the roles and responsibilities of designated staff and the support provided to pupils with additional needs where those needs might affect behaviour 
  • Child-on-child abuse – including measures to prevent child-on-child abuse and the response to incidents of such abuse 
  • Banned items – a list of items which are banned by the school and for which a search can be made 

Responding to Behaviour 

Schools should positively reinforce the behaviour that reflects the values of the school and respond to misbehaviour. 

Acknowledging good behaviour encourages repetition and communicates the school community’s expectations and values to all pupils.  

Misbehaviour should be responded to predictably, promptly, and assertively in accordance with the school behaviour policy. The main priority is to ensure staff and student safety and maintain a calm environment.  

A response to behaviour may have various purposes. These include:  

  • Deterrence: sanctions can often be effective deterrents for a specific pupil/s 
  • Protection: keeping pupils safe is a legal duty of all staff 
  • Improvement: to support pupils to understand and meet the behaviour expectations of the school and reengage in meaningful education 

Staff should be aware of contributing factors that can be identified after a behaviour incident has occurred, such as: 

  • Bereavement 
  • Abuse or neglect 
  • Mental health need 
  • Bullying 
  • Criminal exploitations 
  • Needs including SEND  
  • Experiencing significant challenges at home 

The use of reasonable force  

Detailed advice is available in Use of Reasonable Force – advice for school leaders, staff and governing bodies. Headteachers and all school staff should read this guidence.  

Guidance on specific behaviour issues  

Child-on-Child Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment  

Part 5 of KCSIE sets up general safeguarding principles for any reports of child-on-child sexual violence or harassment both on and offline. Schools should be evident in every aspect of their culture that sexual violence and sexual harassment are never acceptable, will not be tolerated and that pupils whose behaviour falls below expectations will be sanctioned. All staff should understand the importance of challenging all inappropriate language and behaviour between pupils and ensure it is not normalised.  

Behaviour Incidents Online  

While it can be difficult to manage behaviour online schools should be clear that the same standards of behaviour are expected online as apply offline. Inappropriate online behaviour including bullying, the use of inappropriate language, the soliciting and sharing of nude or semi-nude images and videos and sexual harassment should be addressed in accordance with the same principles as offline behaviour. 

Mobile Phones  

When students are allowed access to mobile phones in school complexities and risks can emerge including distraction, disruption, bullying and abuse, and can be a detriment to learning. In order to reduce risks teachers should consider restricting or prohibiting mobile phones. 

Suspected Criminal Behaviour 

If criminal behaviour is suspected that school should make an initial fully documented assessment of whether an incident should be reported to the police only by gathering enough information to establish the facts of the case. If a decision is made to report to the police, the school should ensure any action they take does not interfere with police action.  


You can read the full Behaviour in Schools guidance HERE. 

Posted Date

1st August 2022

Georgia Latief
Marketing Content Manager

Related resources