Behaviour interventions seek to improve attainment by reducing challenging behaviour. This entry covers interventions aimed at reducing a variety of behaviours, from low-level disruption to aggression, violence, bullying, substance abuse and general anti-social activities. The interventions themselves can be split into three broad categories:
Other approaches, such as Parental engagement and Social and emotional learning programmes, are often associated with reported improvements in school ethos or discipline, but are not included in this summary, which is limited to interventions that focus directly on behaviour.
Overall, it is clear that reducing challenging behaviour in schools can have a direct and lasting effect on pupils’ learning. This is based on a number of meta-analyses that review robust studies of interventions in schools.
Some caution is needed in interpreting the headline finding as the majority of the meta-analyses of behaviour interventions focus on pupils diagnosed with specific emotional or behavioural disorders, not on low-level classroom disruption. Further research is needed to investigate links between universal approaches to improving general classroom behaviour and better learning outcomes.
One meta-analysis of an anger management intervention shows a positive effect on behaviour but an overall negative effect on learning. This implies that careful targeting and evaluation is important, and demonstrates that it is possible to reduce problematic behaviour without improving learning.
Before you implement this strategy in your learning environment, consider the following:
Targeted interventions for those diagnosed or at risk of emotional or behavioural disorders produce the greatest effects.
Programmes of two to six months seem to produce more long-lasting results.
The wide variation in impact suggests that schools should look for programmes with a proven track record of impact.
Have you considered what training and professional development is required for any programmes you plan to adopt?
Have you explored how to involve parents or communities in behaviour programmes? This appears to increase impact.