Passing notes, swinging on chairs and pupils whispering to each other in class could become a thing of the past in schools in the future.
Ofsted has announced plans to crack down on bad behaviour in the classroom during future school inspections.
Under the new proposals, schools will start being judged on the learning environment they provide for students, with the new framework including the introduction of separate judgments about learners’ personal development, and behaviour and attitudes.
Ofsted says this approach will mean behaviour and learners’ attitudes will be given the importance they are due.
Sean Harford, Ofsted’s national director for education, said: “We want to really update the profile of behaviour.
“It is my personal opinion that if every child behaved in school that the standard would rocket up.”
Referring to a previous report Ofsted published on behaviour, he added: “And what it said effectively was, there aren’t the terrible examples as often as there were if you go back 15-20 years of behaviour.
“The problem now is more one about low level disruption – swinging on chairs, tapping when the teacher is talking, passing notes, whispering, mobile phones, you know getting distracted by electronic devices.
“That kind of thing is what has been on the rise, and is the bane of teachers’ lives.”
The separate behaviour judgment will assess whether schools are creating a calm, well-managed environment free from bullying.
Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said: “Ofsted already judges schools on behaviour, so we know that the overwhelming majority of schools are orderly places where children learn effectively.
“What parents really want to know is whether their children are happy and safe in school, and making good progress. In nine out of 10 schools, this is the case. In places where it’s not, support rather than sanction is what is needed.”
Other proposals in the consultation include a revised framework to focus on what children are being taught through the curriculum, rather than an over reliance on performance data covered by a quality of education judgment.
They are also geared towards bringing to an end the culture of teaching to the test, and off-rolling – the removal of students from the school roll.