To what extent is behaviour a problem in English schools? Exploring the scale and prevalence of deficits in classroom climate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
132 Downloads (Pure)


The working atmosphere in the classroom is an important variable in the process of education in schools, with several studies suggesting that classroom climate is an important influence on pupil attainment. There are wide differences in the extent to which classroom climate is considered to be a problem in English schools. Some ‘official’ reports suggest that behaviour in schools is ‘satisfactory or better’ in the vast majority of schools; other sources have pointed to behaviour being a serious and widespread problem. The paper details four studies conducted over the past decade which aimed to explore these disparities. The aim of the research was to gain a more accurate insight into the extent to which deficits in classroom climate limit educational attainment and equality of educational opportunity in English schools. The findings question the suggestion that behaviour is satisfactory or better in 99.7% of English schools and the concluding section suggests ways in which deficits in classroom climate might be addressed. Although the study is limited to classrooms in England, OECD studies suggest that deficits in the working atmosphere in classrooms occur in many countries. The study therefore has potential relevance for education systems in other countries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-64
Number of pages33
JournalReview of Education
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2014


  • classroom climate
  • classroom management
  • behaviour in schools

Cite this