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The Chief Inspector of Ofsted has initiated a rolling programme of unannounced visits to schools where standards of behaviour are giving cause for concern.

Sir Michael Wilshaw has vowed to tackle what he calls “a culture of casual acceptance” of low-level disruption and poor attitudes to learning which he believes is holding back too many of England’s schools.

Ofsted’s Annual Report published in December showed that 700,000 pupils were attending schools where behaviour needed to improve. Sir Michael said polling of parents regularly showed that good discipline and behaviour in the classroom was their number one concern – but the issue was often much further down the priority list of schools themselves.

Schools are selected for the one-day unannounced visits on the basis of parental concerns as well as evidence gathered from previous inspections. “Parents want to send their children to schools where they can be confident in the knowledge that behaviour is good”, said Sir Michael.

During the visits, inspectors look at a wide range of evidence to reach a judgement on the standards of behaviour in the school. This includes assessing the culture of the school and how pupils interact with each other and with staff. Inspectors observe pupils’ behaviour in the classroom, between lessons, during breaks, at lunchtime and after school. They also speak directly to teachers and pupils to see how incidents of poor behaviour are addressed.

The behaviour inspection reports will be published on the Ofsted website and made available to parents.

If Ofsted finds that a school is effectively tackling poor behaviour, this will be made clear in the inspection findings. Where there is evidence that behaviour remains a problem, this may result in a full inspection being brought forward.

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