December 17, 2018

“It Just Grinds You Down”

Disruptive behaviour in schools is damaging children’s learning and causing an exodus from the teaching profession

Persistent disruption is endemic in English schools, according to research carried out for Policy Exchange. In one of the most extensive investigations ever conducted into pupil behaviour, Deltapoll found that 75% of teachers think that low level disruption occurs frequently or very frequently in their schools and that 72% of them know a colleague who has “left the teaching profession because of bad behaviour”. It is also having a major impact on pupils’ ability to learn, according to a majority of teachers.

Policy Exchange would like to thank the Law Family Educational Trust for their support, which made this report and the research involved possible.

Classrooms should be safe, calm and stimulating places for both our children to learn in and our teachers to teach in. Poor behaviour disrupts both learning and teaching, often most keenly affecting disadvantaged young people.

Since 2010 we have taken decisive action to empower teachers to tackle poor behaviour, and many schools are already leading the way in tackling persistent disruption. As these important findings from Policy Exchange show, we now need all schools to follow the lead of the best-performing so that we can build on the rising standards in our schools.

To help school leaders make that happen, we have pledged £10 million for schools to share best practice on behaviour management so that teachers can focus on the most important task – teaching.”


Dr Joanna Williams

Head of Education and Culture

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