CPI School Behaviour Survey - Part 1

13 June 2022
Group of people sitting around a table chatting

CPI School Behaviour Survey Results

The results are in from our CPI School Behaviour Survey 2023 and it's revealed some eye-opening trends.
Over 400 teachers across the UK responded to provide insight into what has become an increasingly important topic in the discussion around why more teachers are leaving the profession every year.
According to Schools Week, in the 12 months covering 2020-21, over 36,000 teachers left the profession – a jump of 12.4% in the numbers of teachers leaving the previous year and yet, only a small percentage of those leaving were due to retirement.

1. Learner behaviour is significantly worse post covid

To those working in education, this won’t come as any surprise. However, those outside the profession may be interested to learn about the shift in behaviour trends as respondents answered the question: “Generally, how has learners' behaviour changed since COVID-19?”. As many as 54.8% said behaviour had deteriorated, 34.7% said behaviour had significantly deteriorated.
To find that in total, approximately 9 in 10 teachers felt behaviour changed for the worse since covid is a significant response. This trend was representative across primary and secondary schools, and all school settings (inner city, suburban and rural).
Responses from teachers cited causality for the trend to include:

  • The link between mental health (increase in anxiety and lack of resilience, post covid) and behaviour

  • Difference in concentration levels (citing common causes of social media and mobile phones) and general apathy towards learning

  • Lack of a consistent approach from staff, to behaviour management

  • Decreasing parent support

  • Detachment of learner-teacher relationship

2. One in five teachers experiencing physical aggression on a weekly basis

In what was probably the most alarming statistic in the survey, almost 1 in 5 teachers (19.1%) reported experiencing physical aggression from learners on a weekly basis. 5.7% of teachers reported this to be a daily occurrence.
Furthermore, almost a third of teachers (30.5%) reported experiencing verbal aggression on a daily basis.

Physical aggression and verbal aggression were both reported to occur more frequently within secondary schools (than primary schools) and schools situated in suburban settings (in comparison to schools within inner city or rural settings).
Why is this? Respondents provided additional insight by commenting:

  • Increase in learner mentality of ‘standing up for yourself’ following teachers’ instructions

  • Lack of safety in corridors during lesson changeovers

  • Lack of ‘consequence’ and consistent approach from staff

  • Behaviour excused by parents or caused by poor parenting

3. Teachers suffer from lack of support from senior leadership and parents

A recurring theme from educators responding to our survey was the lack of support from senior colleagues and parents.
The reported lack of support from senior colleagues was vocalised in two ways:

  1. Inconsistent approach to applying rules and policies

  2. Inadequate training opportunities for managing medium- and high-level disruptive behaviour

Inconsistent approaches to applying rules was largely expressed via qualitative feedback, with some educators complaining they do not feel they receive adequate ‘back up’ from SLT members who do not apply rules consistently when facing learners directly, rather than when advising other colleagues.

Less than half of educators (47%) feel their schools’ behaviour policy is understood and consistently modelled across all classrooms. Covid-related disruption was cited as one reason for this, in particular for newly-qualified educators.
As per the statistics reported in section 2 above, educators are subject to regular occurrences of verbal and physical aggression. This level of risk goes well beyond low-level disruptive behaviour – which almost all teachers will experience on a day-to-day basis.
When asking educators to comment on their preparedness for different types of behaviour, the following diagram was illustrated as a point of reference:

Behavior pyramid

When asked to what extent respondents agreed with the following statement, "I feel well-equipped to manage high-level disruptive behaviour" – almost half (41%) disagreed. In another question, 1 in 3 teachers stated they did not feel appropriate training to manage learner behaviour was available in their school.
The ongoing debate about whether it is staff’s responsibility to break up fights between learners was also commented on, by many. In an analysis of qualitative responses, approximately 50% of staff felt they had a responsibility (or felt obligated) to break up fights whereas approximately 50% did not, or did not feel confident to do so. Only 21% of educators reported being offered training for how to safely break up fights, by their schools.

"Parents generally respect teachers' authority to discipline learners?"

Only 40% of respondents agreed with the statement above. Educators that work in primary schools responded much more favourably (66% agreed with the statement) than secondary school educators (32%).

Some educators cited parents actually supporting negative behaviours demonstrated by learners, while others reported incidents where parents actively encourage learners to respond physically to frustrating experiences.
As many as 93% of educators believe parents should be provided with more support/resources from schools to promote good behaviour. This goes some way to illustrating educators’ views regarding where poor behaviour stems from.

CPI's School Behaviour Survey Continued 

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