Motivating students is a ‘key method’ to raise school standards

Published

Schools should focus on improving student behaviour and motivation rather than permanently excluding disruptive pupils, according to a new study

The Centre for High Performance, a team of academics from the universities of Oxford, Kingston and the London Business School, analysed the changes made by 160 academies in England that had improved performance having been placed in special measures within the past seven years.

The report, which made a series of recommendations, said: “The best way to create the right environment for good teachers is to improve student behavior and motivation.”

The authors admit that ‘controversially’ the fastest way to achieve this is to exclude disruptive pupils, pay other schools to teach them or build a new school with a smaller capacity in order to change the ‘student profile’.

However, the report adds this this method is “…potentially not the one with the right long-term solution for society as who knows what will happen to these students as they’re moved to other schools or even fall between schools. The better long-term practice we observed was moving poorly behaved students into another pathway within the existing school so that they could be managed differently and then reintegrated into the main pathway once their behaviour had improved.”

ASDAN’s Certificate of Personal Effectiveness (CoPE) has been shown to improve student engagement as well as enhancing academic attainment. The course gives students choice over the modules and challenges they undertake, encouraging them to take ownership of their learning.

“CoPE had given many students their first taste of success and recognised achievement, and this had changed their orientation to study more generally, including raised motivation and confidence,” according to a report produced by the University of the West of England.

In schools where there was wide use of CoPE, pupils who had completed the course raised their chances of gaining five good GCSE passes including English and mathematics by 19%. The impact was most significant in pupils from disadvantaged neighbourhoods.