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Behaviour and attendance

DCSF recognises that teachers are only able to teach effectively and pupils learn effectively in orderly classes with good behaviour. Only pupils who attend regularly and concentrate on their learning will be able to achieve to the best of their ability.

On 30 September 2009 the Secretary of State launched the Behaviour Challenge to encourage and support all schools to achieve consistently higher levels of behaviour and attendance. It reflects the key recommendations of Sir Alan Steer's final report on behaviour practices, and also links with the 21st-Century Schools White Paper proposals.

The Behaviour Challenge set an ambition that, by 2012, all schools will either have a good or outstanding Ofsted rating on behaviour or be on track to reach one at their next inspection. The national network of Lead Behaviour Schools, announced in March 2010, will lead the drive to ensure that this happens. Revised guidance on behaviour and attendance partnerships was also launched in March 2010.

The vast majority of schools already have good or outstanding behaviour as a result of:

Guidance on school behaviour policies

This guidance aims to help schools understand their overall legal powers and duties as regards establishing a school behaviour policy and disciplining pupils. It does not, however, provide a definitive interpretation of the law. It also provides more specific advice on certain key sanctions (detention and confiscation).


The 'Attendance' section covers current guidance on the 2006 pupil registration regulations that govern the admissions and attendance registers that all schools must keep; the current regulations and guidance for attendance targets as set by local authorities (LAs); LAs' duties and legal measures to ensure attendance and guidance and effective practice in dealing with attendance issues. It is supported by a section on the parental measures for behaviour and attendance, including parenting orders and contracts and prosecutions.


This section includes the most recent guidance on when and how exclusion should be implemented, and procedures for appeals against exclusion. It includes training materials for exclusion appeal panels.

Alternative provision

The 'Alternative provision' section includes the latest guidance and legislation with regard to alternative provision and pupil referral units (PRUs) and information about the current strategy to modernise alternative provision, Back on Track, launched May 2008.


The Safe to Learn package of guidance on tackling bullying includes specialist advice on cyberbullying, homophobic bullying and bullying involving children with SEN and disabilities, as well as guidance on tackling bullying related to race, religion and culture.

Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL)

The 'Social and Emotional Aspects of Learning (SEAL)' section outlines the principles and purpose of the SEAL programme in schools, with links to information and resources on SEAL, including guidance on social and emotional aspects of development (SEAD), Family SEAL and Pastoral Support Programmes (PSPs).

Guidance on the education of children with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties (BESD)

The revised guidance aims to help schools and LAs consider what support and provision are most likely to help remove barriers to the achievement, health and emotional well-being of children and young people with BESD.

National Strategies

The National Strategies site contains a range of materials dealing with behaviour and attendance issues, including the National Programme for Specialist Leaders of Behaviour and Attendance (NPSLBA) training programme.


Last updated: 05 October 2009

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