This report presents the findings from the Behaviour in Scottish Schools 2012 study, and builds on previous research carried out in 2009 and 2006. The overall aim of the research was to provide a clear and robust picture of behaviour in publicly funded mainstream schools and of current policy and practice in relation to managing behaviour. The research involved quantitative surveys of heads, teachers and support staff; qualitative in-depth interviews with local authority representatives; and qualitative research with pupils, heads, teachers and support staff in 12 case study schools. It asks about positive behaviours, low-level disruptive behaviours and seriously disruptive/violent behaviours, both in the classroom and around the school.
The report shows that, where there have been changes since the previous surveys in 2006 and 2009, the trends are almost all in a positive direction. The vast majority of both primary and secondary staff were very positive about pupils’ behaviour. They felt that most pupils were well behaved all or most of the time, and only a very small minority of pupils were quite disruptive. Low-level disruptive behaviours were much more common than serious disruptive behaviours or violence - and were felt to have more of a day-to-day impact on the learning environment. The most common type of low-level disruptive behaviour in the classroom was ‘talking out of turn’. This was experienced at least twice a day by around 70% of staff in both primary and secondary schools.The use of mobile phones, however has increased markedly in secondary schools since 2009.
Staff in case study schools and local authority representatives generally felt that approaches to promote positive behaviour had improved over time. A wide range of approaches are used to encourage positive behaviour and staff talked of the value of having a range of different approaches on which to draw. There is a continued move away from more punitive methods (e.g. punishment exercises) to more positive approaches (e.g. restorative practices) and heads, teachers and local authority representatives all emphasised the importance of good relationships between staff and pupils.