You are here:

Last reviewed on 7 August 2019
Ref: 38283
School types: All · School phases: All

Learn how Ofsted inspects 'behaviour and attitudes' under the 2019 framework. The new judgement covers behaviour, attendance, exclusion and attitudes to learning.

What inspectors are looking for  

Inspectors will consider how well leaders and staff create a safe, calm, orderly and positive environment, and the impact this has on behaviour and attitudes. They'll look for: 

  • Clear routines in the school and classroom
  • A strong focus on attendance and punctuality, including clear and effective attendance policies that staff apply consistently and fairly
  • Pupils who are committed to learning, know how to study effectively, are resilient to setbacks and take pride in their achievements
  • An environment where pupils feel safe
  • Relationships between teachers and pupils that reflect a positive and respectful culture
  • Zero tolerance for bullying, peer-on-peer abuse and discrimination
  • Staff to deal with issues quickly and effectively (where they occur), and to not allow them to spread

See page 52 of the inspection handbook.

Aspects of the 'behaviour and attitudes' judgement relate to safeguarding. We look at how safeguarding is inspected here.

What you need to prepare 

You don't have to provide any additional evidence over and above what you would normally collect (e.g. behaviour logs or attendance reports from your MIS). Your records and evidence don't need to be in a specific format, as long as it is easily accessible for inspectors.

Inspectors will ask to see: 

  • Records and analysis of exclusions, pupils taken off roll, incidents of poor behaviour and any use of internal isolation
  • Records and analysis of sexual harassment or sexual violence
  • Records and analysis of bullying, discriminatory, and prejudiced behaviour (either direct or indirect), including racist, sexist, disability-focused and homophobic/biphobic/transphobic bullying, use of derogatory language and racist incidents
  • A list of referrals made to the designated person for safeguarding in the school and those who were subsequently referred to the LA, along with details of the resolution
  • A list of pupils who have open cases with children's services/social care and for whom there is a multi-agency plan
  • Up-to-date attendance analysis for all groups of pupils

You have to provide this to inspectors on the morning of inspection.

Inspectors will also ask for your:

  • Analysis of, and response to, pupils' behaviour over time, in whatever format you have this (such as behaviour records/logs)
  • Analysis of absence and persistent absence rates, for all pupils and for different groups, compared to with national averages (including information on whether low attenders are improving their attendance over time, or whether attendance is consistently low)

How inspectors will gather evidence 

In addition to evaluating and discussing the evidence listed above, inspectors will:

Observe pupils

Including their:

  • Behavior in a range of different classes at different times of day
  • Punctuality when they arrive at school and at lessons
  • Respect for, and courtesy and good manners towards, each other and adults, and their pride in themselves and their school

Inspectors will also observe pupils at breaktimes, lunchtimes, between lessons and before and after-school clubs (if these are led and managed by your school).

Hold group and individual discussions


  • School culture and practice with pupils and staff
  • Support for staff in managing behaviour (with particular focus on staff most likely to be affected by bad behaviour, including trainees, supply staff, NQTs and support staff)
  • The school's approach to behaviour with staff, governors and other stakeholders (including pupils who have a range of backgrounds and experiences of your behaviour system)
  • The results of Ofsted pupil and staff surveys with leaders, especially questions related to:
    • Safeguarding
    • Behaviour and discipline
    • Bullying
    • How staff/pupils about the school
    • How well supported and respected staff/pupils feel

Evaluate your approach to exclusions and referrals


  • How prevalent permanent exclusion is, the procedures surrounding it and the reasons for it, and the support given to make sure it's a last resort
  • How effective your use of fixed-term and internal exclusions is, including the rates and reasons for exclusion
  • How you follow-up on, reintegrate and support pupils who have had fixed-term exclusions
  • How well you recognise, and act to address, any patterns in exclusions that exist
  • Whether you're developing alternative strategies to exclusion, and taking into account any safeguarding risks to pupils who may be excluded
  • How you work with your multi-agency group to support pupils who need referrals (such as pupils with SEND, looked after children, or pupils with medical or mental health needs)

Visit any off-site unit your school runs

They'll assess:

  • Safeguarding procedures
  • The quality of education
  • How effectively the unit helps improve pupils' behaviour, learning and attendance

See pages 53-55 of the inspection handbook.

Inspectors will balance any evidence seen during inspection with evidence of trends over time. 

Grade descriptors 


To achieve an outstanding grade you must meet all the criteria for a 'good' school securely and consistently.

You must also meet the following criteria:

  • Pupils behave with consistently high levels of respect for others. They play a highly positive role in creating a school environment where commonalities are celebrated, difference is valued and nurtured, and where there's no tolerance for bullying, harassment and violence
  • Pupils consistently have highly positive attitudes and commitment to their education. They're highly motivated and persistent in the face of difficulties, make a positive contribution to the life of the school and/or the wider community, and they actively support the well-being of other pupils
  • Pupils behave consistently well, demonstrate high levels of self-control and positive attitudes to their education. If pupils struggle, the school takes intelligent, fair and effective action to support them


Inspectors will judge whether your school is 'good' or 'requires improvement' in this area using a 'best fit' approach based on their professional judgement. 

To be 'good', your school will:

  • Have high expectations for pupils’ behaviour and conduct which are commonly used and applied consistently and fairly. This is reflected in pupils’ behaviour and attitudes
  • Not tolerate low-level disruption
  • Support all staff well in managing pupil behavour
  • Make sure pupils follow appropriate routines
  • Have a positive environment in which bullying is not tolerated
  • Deal with bullying, aggression, discrimination or derogatory language quickly and effectively, and prevent it from spreading
  • Demonstrate improvement in the behaviour and attendance of pupils who have particular needs
  • Use fixed-term and internal exclusions appropriately, and reintegrate excluded pupils well when they return to school
  • Only use permanent exclusions as a last resort
  • Take swift and effective action to address issues with attendance or punctuality
  • Nurture good relations between pupils and staff

Pupils will:

  • Display positive attitudes towards their education and commitment to learning
  • Take pride in their achievements, and demonstrate resilience in the face of setbacks
  • Have high attendance
  • Be punctual
  • Be safe and feel safe

'Requires improvement'

You'll be rated 'requires improvement' if inspectors feel behaviour and attitudes aren't yet good, but that pupils are still safe and they feel safe.


You'll likely be rated 'inadequate' if any of the following applies:

  • You don't take effective steps to secure good behaviour and a consistent approach to discipline
  • You don't support staff well enough to manage behaviour
  • Pupils aren't engaged, and persistent low-level or high-level disruption contributes to reduced learning or disorderly classrooms
  • A significant minority of pupils show a lack of respect for each other and/or staff, and a lack of self-discipline.
  • Pupils frequently ignore or rebut requests from teachers to change their behaviour
  • Pupils show negative attitudes towards the value of good manners and behaviour
  • Attendance is consistently low for all pupils or groups of pupils, and shows little sign of sustained improvement
  • Incidents of bullying, or prejudiced or discriminatory behaviour, are frequent
  • Pupils have little confidence in the school's ability to tackle harassment, bullying, violence and/or discriminatory behaviour successfully
  • Pupils, or particular groups of pupils, aren't safe or don't feel safe (either at school or at alternative placements)

The grade descriptors are set out on pages 56-58 of the inspection handbook (linked to above). 

Special considerations

Pupils with particular needs 

If your school is working with children who have particular needs, inspectors will expect to see that you're making improvements in the attendance and behaviour of these pupils.

To demonstrate this you'll need to:

  • Make sure you know who these students are
  • Show how you're working to improve their attendance and behaviour (for example, by using pupil premium funding to provide behaviour interventions)

You don't have to write any additional evidence down, or provide a case study. You just need to be able to talk about this with inspectors.

Pupils who are absent during the inspection

Inspectors will gather evidence on pupils who are absent on the day of inspection.

Inspectors will likely judge both 'behaviour and attitudes' and 'leadership and management' to be inadequate if:

  • There's evidence to suggest that any pupils absent have been deliberately removed from the school site or that you've arranged for them to be absent, and
  • Inspectors reasonably believe that this was done in order to impact the inspection

Make sure you can provide, if asked, evidence for why pupils are absent. This will come from your register or MIS.

You don't need to prepare this in advance.

More from The Key


Bitesize training with a big impact

Our on-demand training has your whole board covered and lets them learn at a time and pace that suits them.

Help your new governors hit the ground running with our expertly-designed induction training, and our role-specific courses support your link governors develop key skills and confidence in their role.


Upskill your staff, any time, anywhere with CPD Toolkit. 

 The most effective way to deliver engaging virtual training to support the professional development of your staff. 

Downloadable courses and 5-minute online summaries provide flexibility for training, whether staff are participating in-school, via video call or independently at their own pace.

The Key has taken great care in publishing this article. However, some of the article's content and information may come from or link to third party sources whose quality, relevance, accuracy, completeness, currency and reliability we do not guarantee. Accordingly, we will not be held liable for any use of or reliance placed on this article's content or the links or downloads it provides. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.