Bad week for teachers

13 Jan

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.

Commenting on the latter, General Secretary Philip Parkin said:

"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

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2 Responses to “Bad week for teachers”

  1. Richard Fraser 16. Jan, 2012 at 11:27 am #

    Bad week for teachers: General Secretary Philip Parkin talks to BBC Derby []

  2. Joyce watts 17. Jan, 2012 at 1:42 pm #

    Thoroughly endorse responses above. In my experience of representing teachers, it can take a little time to get to the bottom of the cause of a teacher suddenly underperforming.

    It can be stress at home and not to do with the school, and can take time to discover there is a personal problem. Over the years I have had more that one case where a teacher’s stress has been caused by wife/husband/partner being made redundant. This then means that the teacher has suddenly become the sole bread winner, with all the attendant problems that brings. It’s a roller coaster, because the teacher is coping with stress at home which can then lead to underperforming at school which compounds the stress she/he is under.

    This serious lack of understanding only indicates that many of our politicians have very cosy lives.

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