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Thursday, July 22, 1999 Published at 09:58 GMT 10:58 UK


Teachers 'need training' in behaviour problems

The report recommends specialised courses for teachers

Training to help teachers understand pupils with behavioural problems could mean more children staying in mainstream schools, according to a report.

School inspectors say that specialised courses are needed for teachers in all kinds of schools to improve understanding of pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties.

The report, published by the Office for Standards in Education (Ofsted), suggests a number of topics which could be covered in the courses as part of teachers' in-service professional development.

These include ways of reducing unacceptable behaviour, defusing "potentially problematic" situations, and re-engaging pupils whose behaviour has interfered with their learning.

'Ad hoc diversity'

The recommendation follows inspections of special schools by Her Majesty's Inspectors from Ofsted.

The watchdog is also calling for improvement in procedures for allowing pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties to move between special and mainstream schools.

And it wants the "ill-considered and ad hoc diversity" of provision for these pupils in different parts of the country to be reduced.

The report states that currently, pupils with similar characteristics can be found in a wide range of different kinds of education across England.

These include day or residential schools for pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties, home tuition, adolescent psychiatric units and even secure units.

The report, Principles into Practice: Effective Education for Pupils with Emotional and Behavioural Difficulties, is based on evidence from surveys of parents, headteachers, local education authorities, psychologists and pupils themselves.

Exclusion and absenteeism

It notes that a much higher proportion of schools for pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties have been judged by inspectors to need special measures or have serious weaknesses than other kinds of special schools.

Higher levels of exclusion and absenteeism are also found in these schools.

But the report also says there are a significant number of good schools, which are valuable models of good practice.

Some of the most successful schools for pupils with emotional and behavioural difficulties attribute much of their success to the strong links they have forged with mainstream schools.

They continually look for ways to reintegrate their pupils into mainstream or further education.

The report says: "It is vital that EBD (emotional and behavioural difficulties) schools, in order to do their job well, do not become 'out-of-sight, out-of-mind' dumping grounds for those pupils with whom ordinary schools cannot cope."

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