How do private schools ensure quality teaching????

(14 Posts)
loveyouradvice Sun 27-Jan-13 11:09:20

Just wondering how they do it?

I hear stories of poor teachers in most private schools - how are they still there?

How do they ensure teachers continue to teach well, and help them develop as they move forward?

Mominatrix Sun 27-Jan-13 11:41:09

I have yet to encounter a bad teacher at the schools my elder son went/goes to. In fact, although perhaps we have been very lucky, every teacher he has had has been excellent. However, the two schools he has been at have a parent population which is very pushyvocal, and any issue which may have come up is not allowed to fester and immediately flagged up.

I think that the more demanding the parent population, the less likely that poor teaching will remain for long. As there are many, many good private schools in London, parents have the choice to move their children if they are not happy. Additionally, reputation is everything at these schools, and prolonged parent rumbling would definitely impact on how the school is perceived to upcoming customers.

trinity0097 Sun 27-Jan-13 12:03:27

As a head of dept in a private school I observe the teachers in my dept teaching, giving feedback to improve if necessary. We have training, both whole school and subject specific to keep up to date and implement what we feel if appropriate from any national strategy (I.e. we don't have to do everything that some MP says we should, but can use our best judgement, or wait until implementing something when there are decent resources available).

We are encouraged to go on courses to further our professional development

Ronaldo Sun 27-Jan-13 12:18:33

I dont want to throw any spanners in the works really, but can we step back a moment and have some kind ofdefinition of what is meant by the phrase
"quality teaching"?

I ask because it is such a difficult area. I know that education speak defines it in some form of singing and dancing lessons, observations, and INSETS of latest thinking and practice but in my experience, that isnt the same thing as a good quality lesson - so can we know what we are talking about first please? How is the OP using this term? (ie some form of definition / criteria for it)

Lonecatwithkitten Sun 27-Jan-13 12:53:44

A lot of private schools submit themselves to ISI inspections similar to ofstead inspections and these assess the quality of teaching.

happygardening Sun 27-Jan-13 13:49:27

I firmly believe that one mans quality teacher can be another mans crap teacher. The best teacher I ever had was at university ( he was voted university lecturer of the year once) he had a beginning middle and end you never left his class thinking "what was all that about" he was a slightly dysfunctional individual and many thought terrifyingly strict. Many of us selected his subjects because he taught them. But my friend was in the small minority who hated his style and avoided his subjects like the plague.

Mutteroo Sun 27-Jan-13 16:08:54

DD had some appalling teaching at her first private school! Second school had exemplary teaching, while DS generally had fantastic teaching at his prep and senior schools. We had an issue with one teacher and after numerous conversations with him decided to step the matter up and speak to DS head of department. We were told that the teacher had been observed and any issues were being addressed. the following term the classes were 'rearranged' and DS had a brilliant teacher for the remainder of his GCSE. All schools DCs attended had been inspected by ISI, but its still easy for a HT to manipulate to ensure poor teaching is missed.

NuclearStandoff Sun 27-Jan-13 19:20:34

The private sector is not immune from bad teaching, in my experience, at both primary and secondary level.

We are in a rural area, so it may be harder to recruit good staff. Also, not sure whether you can get rid of a teacher just because they are not great/are neurotic (problems we have had).

But it is always worth mentioning concerns to the HT because they will make the effort to ensure your dc don't suffer from the bad teacher (although others might).

crazycarol Sun 27-Jan-13 21:48:42

As well as "quality teaching", at the independent school my dd attends I have noted that there are far less temporary teachers and non-subject teachers supervising classes. At another local school a friend of dd told us that she had 5 maths teachers in 2 months. How can that be good for the kids?

lisad123everybodydancenow Sun 27-Jan-13 21:53:54

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Ronaldo Mon 28-Jan-13 11:33:52

Since no one can seemingly answer the question about what precisely is meant by quality teaching - although it seems that several believe it really doesnt exist in independent school I will venture the following.

Since, despite, apparently anacdotal evidence that quality teaching isnt prevelent in independent schools but they are still aoutstanding in achievement on most external criteria ( league tables, ecxam results, getting pupils to Oxbridge etc) one has to suggest that quality teaching is not important - so why bother asking about it?

The reality is that there are significant "hygeine" factors in most independents which make them apparently more successful. Those factors are (if it has to be run out again), the motivation and work ethic of the pupils, good discipline and high standards of expected behaviour, freedom from the National Curriculum and the ability to de select pupils who are disruptive and challenging.

It may not be liked but that is the reality. Thats what you pay for.

Good resources and smaller classes - maybe, not always.

Teaching is largely the same in both. It has been since the advent of ITT by numbers nearly 30 years ago. However, I would say, independent schools possibly attract teachers who want to teach and that may make a difference, especially in an environment where pupils want to learn and conditions are that they can learn.

NuclearStandoff Mon 28-Jan-13 11:49:20

Ronaldo I don't think anyone on this thread said that quality teaching does not exist in the private sector, just that there are some bad teachers.

My dc have had a mixture of excellent teachers, mediocre and bad in the independent sector - much as they did when we were in the state sector.

However the main difference is the size of the classes, the standard of behaviour of the pupils - and if you have any issues the Head will listen and do their best to sort them out.

Ronaldo Mon 28-Jan-13 12:08:30

Whilst I accept that there may be " bad teachers" ( whatever is really meant by that) I am convinced that the idea of " quality teaching" a la Ofsted and similar is a myth.

The reality is mostteachers these days can sing and dance for the inspectors.
Too often I hear about this in schools. I have had a belly full over the years. The idea that we have to improve our teaching, differentiate, make progress oor all pupils, have pace, show objectives and pupil learning etc. is nothing more than BS wrapped up.

I am sick to the high teeth of being told to goand watch ( in my own time I suppose) so called AST or ( since they seem to have disposed with the term) "outstanding teachers " so I can learn...... not that I am saying I cannot improve or I dont need to learn, I am just not sure those outstanding BS ers a are the ones I need to learn from!

I have spent many years perfecting achieving what is required at the end of the day ( ie exam results and pupils actually knowing what it is they are supposed to know) but despite knowing I am nominated for teacher of the year this year ( by some ex students) not a dicky has been said in my school and I am still being told to watch the BullSh*tters so I can learn from them . One in particular who frankly cant run a dept, cant recruit kids to GCSE and Sixth form and whose results do not bear scrutiny - yet they are observed and labelled as "outstanding".

Tell me what that means then ( btw I have a successful dept, My results are second to none, I have one of the largest uptakes in the school at A level and it isnt just the very clever kids I get)

There are ways to do what I do do it well and engage students but they are rarely the skills valued in teaching observations in my experience.

However I stand by the fact that learning is mostly facilitated by factors other than teaching skills.

happygardening Mon 28-Jan-13 12:10:41

I wonder if parents in the independent sector are more likely to complain if teachers are mediocre and although employment law applies equally to both that mediocre teachers are more likely to leave if sufficient parental pressure is applied.
In super selectives mediocre teaching is surely going to have an unacceptable impact on results.

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