Pupils left at risk of extremist ideologies by school behaviour policies, report says

The Telegraph is reporting that a new study that suggests pupils are at risk of being exposed to Islamic extremism because most schools link good conduct to top grades rather than a moral purpose. 

The research revealed that most school policies explained pupils should behave well in class in order to support their own, or fellow pupils’, “learning and academic achievement”. 

The academics argued that a lack of moral purpose in school policies may leave pupils open to “movements which seek to offer an alternative, more explicitly moral or religious, vision, such as the alleged attempted ‘Trojan Horse’ takeover of schools in Birmingham”. 

The researchers – from Edge Hill University – studied the behaviour policies of 36 secondary schools in England. 

From the sample, 34 schools made a link between good behaviour and strong academic achievement, with some policies labelled as “behaviour for learning”. 

One school called its policy “Ready for Learning Policy”. This school policy said: “The promotion of a ‘Ready for Learning Policy’ reflects our pro-active attitude to behaviour management, creating a positive climate to allow all to succeed and fulfil their potential.” 

The academics argue that such thinking left students with little virtues to be applied after they left school. 

In the paper, which was presented at a conference by the British Educational Research Association, the scholars argued that virtues such as curiosity, critical thinking and respect for evidence should be the overall objectives of schools. 

Good academic results, they said, should be seen as “mere by-products of these aims, rather than the defining mission”…

More at: Pupils left at risk of extremist ideologies by school behaviour policies, report says


Not sure I totally follow the extremism link, but is there something to the idea that schools are conditioning pupils to think of good behaviour too narrowly?

How would you suggest behaviour policies could be changed for the good?

Please let us know in the comments or via Twitter…


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Categories: Policy and Teaching.


  1. Such behaviour policies seem to appeal to selfishness (ie behave well and you’ll get on) rather than stressing the benefits to other people as well as oneself (ie making a pleasant environment for everyone, do as you would be done by etc).

  2. It is interesting to note that, according to some research about 5 years ago, primary schools base their behaviour policies more on values, whereas secondary schools base their behaviour more on rules and outcomes (eg achievement). The more behaviour is linked to a bigger picture of human values, the more we will inculcate in our pupils (and our staff) that how we behave is an expression of who we are, and what we expect of ourselves and others is a statement about what we hold to be important. Values, couched within SMSC, is the key to improving behaviour, learning and schools because it focuses us all on what we hold to be important and what we want our pupils and staff to be like.

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