With both Ofsted and DfE adopting Big Brother tactics, it's been a bad week for teachers first no-notice inspections and then new arrangements for teacher appraisal and capability.
"The Government has launched a bullies' manual. Mr Gove might talk the talk about supporting and praising good teachers, but at the same time his new regulations will intimidate others.
"'Poorly performing' is not the same as 'incompetent' or 'weak'. Using the word 'sack' is intimidatory and inflammatory and is more about playing to the tabloid press than sensible performance management. Greater freedom to 'sack' could lead to hasty decisions, unfair dismissals and the summary end to careers.
"A term is not long enough to address the issues that a teacher could be facing for a variety of reasons.
"Problem resolution should not be about sackings, but about sensible discussion and negotiation. There are many instances where underperforming teachers are returned to former levels of performance through advice, training and support.
"Just because a teacher performs poorly in one school does not mean that they cannot perform effectively in another school.
"I disagree that the current guidance is 'unnecessary' One person's 'bureaucracy' is another's protection. We would be very concerned if a reduction in the guidance given to schools increased poor treatment of staff by senior managers.
"It is crucial that proper processes are in place to support underperforming teachers, and that each case is judged individually.
"We do not want to see open season for some headteachers to bully people out of their jobs.
"Voice does not agree that the 'three hour rule' was a barrier to observing teachers in the classroom. It was a consensus reached after much debate as to what was proportional and appropriate observation to meet the requirements of the performance management process.
"Whilst many school managers appropriately observe their staff teaching, we have evidence that in a significant minority of schools observation is over used as a punitive measure, in the worst cases to bully and harass teachers. The 'three hour rule' set out a clear guidance and expectation and safeguarded both teachers and managers. It was agreed to be a reasonable period of observation for performance management purposes and did not preclude observation for other reasons."
Recruiting the general secretaries of the headteacher unions to provide quotations for the DfE's press release does nothing for collegiality in the classroom or at DfE-unions forums. It's a classic attempt at divide and rule that's a favourite tactic of governments that are performing poorly themselves.
Do let us know your thoughts
- Voice's Official Response to the DfE's consultation: Proposed changes to performance management and capability arrangements for teachers (August 2011)
- "Schools get more freedom to manage teacher performance"
- "New-arrangements for teacher appraisal and capability to be introduced from September 2012"
- "Consultation On Proposed Changes To The School Staffing (England) Regulations 2009 To Require Governing Bodies To Share Information With Prospective Employers About Whether Head Teachers And Teachers Have Been In Capability Procedures"