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We know how important it is for educators to model the kinds of behaviour we expect of our students.

Chief Officer, Mary Rodrigues

Published 24th June 2014, 7:11pm

Joint Statement from the Chief Officer and Chief Education Officer

There is no place for negative behaviours by students or teachers in our schools. As Chief Officer and Chief Education Officer, we expect appropriate interventions to be taken when or if this occurs.

Most teachers are committed and professional. At the recent graduation ceremonies, there were many tributes to teachers who have gone out of their way to help our children achieve their very best and to nurture them along the way. Based on the academic achievements our students displayed at the recent graduation ceremonies, this indicates that academic environments are being created that are conducive to effective teaching and learning.

Unfortunately, not all teachers respond well to negative behaviours in students, and frankly there are a few who let us down.

We know how important it is for educators to model the kinds of behaviour we expect of our students. At every level in the system, we expect that our educators are held to the highest professional standards. The tool to achieve this is effective performance management. The Ministry and DES have also worked together to create the first set of National Professional Standards for our teachers. These standards make very clear our expectations for our educators.

At the same time we have set out expectations for school discipline and student behaviour.

Statement from the Chief Officer

The 2012 Behaviour Review notes that most of our students behave well. However, there is a small number who create very significant challenges for our teachers.

What the 2014 Behaviour Review by Ms Annita Cornish, the Senior Policy Adviser for Inclusion in the Ministry, has identified, is that we are not using these tools effectively and consistently throughout our system. Her recommendations provide ways forward which are being aggressively pursued by schools, Ministry and DES staff. These include:

• A National Code of Student conduct with tiered rewards and sanctions aligned to identified positive and negative behaviours

• National expectations around dress and use of electronic equipment

• A new home school agreement outlining expectations for parents

• Bullying/complaints policies

• Specific training to help teachers explicitly teach behaviour expectations and the rights and responsibilities that come with these

We also already have in place:

• Professional standards for Teachers

• A performance management programme for Teachers

Ms Cornish’s report is comprehensive and it addresses the key question of how we are managing the considerable behaviour resources we have, and what changes we need to implement as a system to ensure that we use them more effectively to meet our students’ needs.

The research was based on an on-the ground review and analysis of the current system, resources, data and outcomes, and included feedback from students as well feedback provided to the Hon Minister from parents and teachers.

In Finance Committee and the press, comments are being made about two versions of a 2012 Behaviour Report. As explained by the Chief Officer in Finance Committee, there is a first draft of the report and a final version of the report. As supported by emails sent to the consultant by the Chief Policy Advisor in the Ministry, there were serious concerns about the quality of the first draft of the 2012 report, which were addressed in a clear and frank manner with the consultant. The final version of the report, finalised by the Senior Evaluator, a 22 year veteran of the education system, ensured it met the quality standards set out for all reports. She was the deputy lead inspector on the 2012 review and the only other person to have the complete overview besides the consultant. Therefore, it was appropriate in her role to have contributed to finalising the report.

The Ministry’s intention in undertaking reviews of this nature is to gather information and identify weaknesses and strengths, based on actual evidence, in order to put in place corrective measures, and not to withhold information from the general public. In this instance the aim was to review the organization and effectiveness of educational and specialist provision for students at risk-including those with behavioural challenges.

The costs of the 2012 review were as follows:

• Desk Top Review: £7,000

• On-island site visits and leading and developing a team of educators in field work and observation: £10,500

• Report writing: £3,500

• Travel expense: £1,582.82

• Subsistence: £1,155

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