Hallam, Susan, Rhamie, Jasmine and Shaw, Jackie
Evaluation of the Primary Behaviour and Attendance Pilot , London, UK Department for Education and Skills 227pp.
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Behaviour and attendance are amongst a number of key priorities for the Primary National Strategy. The Primary behaviour and Attendance strategy pilot took place form 2003-2005 and involved 25 local authorities who were not eligible for other funded programmes. . The four strands of the pilot included a universal element providing professional development opportunities to all schools in the pilot authorities (the CPD strand); a targeted element providing focused support to schools where behaviour and attendance had been identified as key issues (the school improvement strand); a universal element providing curriculum work focusing on the social and emotional aspects of learning for all children in pilot schools ( the curriculum materials or SEAL Strand); and a targeted element providing group work for children needing extra help in this area, and their parents/carers (small group interventions strand).
The evaluation aimed to test out the effectiveness of the range of measures proposed by the DfES, singly and in combination, assessing the impact of the measures in relation to: improvements in behaviour, attendance and attainment for individual children; teacher skills and confidence; and the promotion of effective whole school approaches to positive behaviour an, attendance and improvements in attainment. The research involved a range of methods including, document analysis, interviews, questionnaires, case studies and analysis of attainment and attendance data.
Questionnaire responses were received from a range of school staff and parents. Questionnaire data were available for 4237 children at Key Stage 1 prior to the pilot and 2163 following it. At key stage 2 5707 children completed questionnaires prior to the pilot and 3311 following the pilot. Interviews were undertaken with 17 head teachers or senior school managers, 34 teaching teachers/teaching assistants, 19 parents and 102 children. The children were interviewed in small groups which varied in size.
Twenty case study examples of pupils receiving individual support and attention were collates. Pre and post Strengths and Difficulties questionnaire data were collected for pupils participating in the small group work.
• There was a significant reduction in authorised absence among the pilot schools on average. The school improvement and small groups strand were effective in improving some scores on national tests at KS1 and KS2.
• The CPD cluster work enabled LA to send consistent messages about behaviour policies to schools and was effective in encouraging a solution focused approach and enabling consideration of behaviour issues in a non-threatening environment.
• The work of the teacher coaches in the school improvement strand was highly successful and greatly valued by teachers, who also thought that it had had a positive impact on children’s behaviour.
• As perceived by teachers, the SEAL programme had a major impact on children’s well being, confidence, social and communication skills, and relationships, including bullying, playtime behaviour, pro-social behaviour and attitudes towards school. It increased children’s awareness of emotions in others and the calmer environment in the classroom also led to some perceived improvement in learning and attainment.
• The small group work was effective in improving the emotional symptoms and pro-social behaviour of the children participating in it.
• The pilot operated effectively at a number of different levels. The cluster groups provided support for all schools. The schools improvement strand and the SEAL programme operated at the level of the whole school, addressing the needs of teachers and pupils, while the small group work enabled a focus on children with particular needs.
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