Elton (1989)

1989 Elton Report (complete)

The Elton Report (1989)
Discipline in Schools

London: Her Majesty's Stationery Office 1989
Crown copyright material is reproduced with the permission of the Controller of HMSO and the Queen's Printer for Scotland.

Notes on the text


Educated at Eton and New College Oxford, Rodney Elton succeeded to the peerage on his father's death in 1973. As a Tory peer, he held various posts in the Thatcher governments between 1979 and 1986.

In March 1988 education secretary Kenneth Baker asked him 'to lead an enquiry into discipline in schools in England and Wales and to make recommendations'. The seven members of the Committee of Enquiry submitted their report on 31 January 1989.

The report online

The full text of the report (including the Appendices) is online in a single web page.

The formatting of the text (bold, italics, centred etc) is a reasonably accurate representation of the printed version, but there are four differences between the original and this web version:

1. The section headings shown in CAPITALS were printed in blue.

2. The sub-section headings printed in Lower case bold were also in blue and were in the page margins. I have incorporated these into the body of the text.

3. The Recommendations (pages 20-53) were set out on double pages, with the recommendations listed on the left-hand page and a table showing those to whom the recommendations applied on the right-hand page. (You can see an image of pages 20-21 as an example here).

This layout would be difficult to reproduce on a web page, so I have rendered it thus:

R1 Teachers and their trainers should recognise and apply the principles of good classroom management. (T; TT; 3.28)
(KEY: R1: Recommendation 1; T: teachers; TT: teacher trainers; 3.28: reference in text).

4. In the main body of the report, recommendations were printed in blue. I have left them in black, but they are always followed by the number of the recommendation to which they refer in bold, for example:

32 We recommend that initial teacher training establishments should give full weight to the personal qualities required for effective classroom management, particularly the potential ability to relate well to children, when selecting applicants. (R2)
Thus the pages presented here are not exact facsimiles of the original: the font (Times, Arial etc) and size of print - and therefore the number of words to a line and lines to a page - are determined by the settings you have chosen for your web browser. However, the page breaks are correct. In other words, if something is shown here as being on, say, page 103, you can be sure it appeared on page 103 in the original.

I've corrected a couple of dozen misprints. Anything I've added by way of explanation is shown [in square brackets].

The report's main points

The report made 138 recommendations, including:

  • good behaviour in schools is the shared responsibility of government, local authorities, voluntary bodies, governors, head teachers, teachers and parents;
  • teachers should be helped to become more effective classroom managers;
  • curriculum content and teaching methods are key factors in the motivation and behaviour of pupils.

The 1989 Elton Report and the above notes were prepared for the web by Derek Gillard and uploaded on 29 October 2006.

1989 Elton Report (complete)