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To think keeping teachers' pay low shouldn't be hailed as a positive in an OFSTED report?

(113 Posts)
thinkingmakesitso Sat 30-Jan-16 09:53:53

I am looking for a new job and always check the OFSTED report of any schools I consider, though I obviously don't take it as gospel and would do other research as well - I think I know how to 'read' them, iyswim.

Anyway, one I saw last night has left me so angry. The school is good and all aspects of teachers' work are praised. The school takes in pupils who are well below average at KS3, so the achievements made are all the more hard won. It then goes on to praise the fact that teachers have a 'score card' to monitor their performance, and praises the fact that performance management is rigorous and pay progression only takes place in exceptional circumstances.

AIBU to think this is no way to treat professionals - a 'score card' ffs? I am at the top of the upper pay spine anyway, so would not be eligible for pay progression, but no way am I carrying a score card, and I would fear my pay being put down due to factors beyond my control. How is a school which, reading between the lines, and knowing the area as I do, needs to attract excellent teachers to do so if that is how they treat their staff? Surely they should be doing all they can to attract staff? Well, they are- this isn't mentioned on TES, of course, but who on earth would want to go there once they know about it?

Why are teachers not valued by this government? Well, I know the answer, but just wanted to rant. angry.

SnuffleGruntSnorter Sat 30-Jan-16 10:09:15

sad I really wish all the essential public sector workers - teachers, police officers, fire crew, NHS staff were more valued by the government and the general public too. I think their hard work should be recognised, rewarded and shouted from the rooftops.
flowers thank you for working hard to improve the futures of our children

queenoftheworld93 Sat 30-Jan-16 10:19:13

It's crap isn't it. I trained as a teacher and the standards expected in new teachers these days are insane. Much happier as a TA these days. Teaching is all responsibility with little respect!

Siolence Sat 30-Jan-16 10:20:10

Most organisations have a system to ensure that progression is rewarded in a consistent way.

Did they go into detail about how the system works which makes you think it is loaded in an unfair way?

noblegiraffe Sat 30-Jan-16 10:20:53

I wonder if the head and SLT have a score card.

noblegiraffe Sat 30-Jan-16 10:22:17

Why should pay progression only be awarded in exceptional circumstances? That would effectively mean a pay cut every year given inflation and the pay-freeze.

MotherKat Sat 30-Jan-16 10:44:42

Giraffe: progression and cost of living increase are different things.
The unions negotiate the cost of living each year, progression is to do with banded structure pay, previously all government staff would have an annual pay increase based on their band, it's why the government had to pass off the janitorial staff to private companies, they couldn't afford to fix the broken system quickly enough. In the private sector you only get an actual pay increase for exceptional work, why should it be different in the public sector?

noblegiraffe Sat 30-Jan-16 10:48:40

Yes but if you don't get a cost of living increase, (which we haven't, or only a minimal one for years) then you are effectively cutting the pay of teachers.

Experience is valuable in teaching. Schools should expect to pay more for this.

honeysucklejasmine Sat 30-Jan-16 10:49:45

Because in the private sector you generally have more control over your outcomes. Children are people, not machines, and you can do absolutely everything perfectly, but if something happens in their life or they decide they don't want to revise etc, there's bugger all you can do about it. Effectively you are penalised for circumstances beyond your control.

Farahilda Sat 30-Jan-16 10:58:11

All public sector workers have had some sort of pay freeze. It's not unique to teachers, nor harder on them than anyone else; and because it applies to all in the public sector, it's not really making a comment on non-cash value of the roles (unless someone is determined to play 'divide and rule')

It is common in the public sector for those staying in the same role to receive only the annual increase. Actual progression often depends on changes to the role.

Rigorous performance management is a good thing, where in schools, hospitals, police stations, fire stations etc; assuming it is being done properly.

thinkingmakesitso Sat 30-Jan-16 11:00:09

And there are only 9 bands, the top 3 of which last for a minimum of 2 years, so there was never a system of huge par rises every year anyway. The starting salary is relatively low for a graduate job - I can't see many people staying in the profession on that income when they could get more for far less stress elsewhere.

Of course experience should come at a price.

AnthonyBlanche Sat 30-Jan-16 11:00:14

In any decent organisation pay progression is linked to performance. Why should teaching be any different? In my experience there are some shockingly bad teachers out there, I'm not happy at the idea those teachers should automatically get pay rises so a proper assessment of performance is a very good thing.

elkiedee Sat 30-Jan-16 11:01:59

MotherKat, if you're talking about incremental increases, there are usually 3 or 4 incremental increases on a scale point, and no one got that every year for ever, only until they'd reached the maximum for their grade. At my level, that just meant two increments.

I'm sure that the head and SLT are regularly judged, just as other teachers are, actually. Most teachers are under a lot of pressure, including the headteachers and deputy/assistant HTs, as their career frequently depends on results, and those are affected by all sorts of factors, not all of which can easily be dealt with by a school. I'm not a teacher, I am a parent governor at primary, OP is posting about secondary school.

Is the school in question a community school or an academy?

I don't think you're unreasonable. Presumably not all schools use scorecards for teaching staff, and I hope you can find a job in a school with a more positive culture.

noblegiraffe Sat 30-Jan-16 11:04:36

In any decent organisation pay progression is linked to performance. Why should teaching be any different?

How do you measure teaching performance?

In my experience there are some shockingly bad teachers out there

This will only increase when teachers are not paid adequately for their work and the good ones clear off elsewhere.

I'm not happy at the idea those teachers should automatically get pay rises so a proper assessment of performance is a very good thing.

But why should it only be exceptional performance that requires a rise when, as I said before, experience improves performance, although in ways that are not easily measured.

Siolence Sat 30-Jan-16 11:08:09

Experience is valuable in every job. And the difference between cost of living increase and progression has already been pointed out.

Lots of large private companies used to put people up through bands based on years of service and being at the top of their band. That stopped in many about 10-15 years ago because they simply could no longer justify it. Rolling redundancies, rationalising, trimming down to the minimum are now normal. If you are not exceptional you do not progress through the pay scales.

I don't think I'd judge it until I'd got full information on how it works.

AnthonyBlanche Sat 30-Jan-16 11:08:21

I assume that a school, which is after all supposed to be an organisation which knows more about teaching than I do, knows how to measure performance. And who's to say that they don't take levels of experience into account when assessing? Others may be happy that sub-par teachers are rewarded for poor teaching, I'm not.

AnthonyBlanche Sat 30-Jan-16 11:12:08

I think the whole of the public sector has long had an attitude that performance doesn't matter, if that is now changing it is a good thing.

When I was a student I temped in a public sector organisation to cover for someone off on sick leave. The supervisor was very annoyed with me for finishing the work allotted to me before lunchtime. The person I was covering for had taken the whole day to complete the same work. I know it's an anecdote, but I have heard lots of similar stories. I can only hope attitudes in the public sector have changed over the last 20 years.

Siolence Sat 30-Jan-16 11:12:19

How it is measured is indeed the sticking point.

Haddocksbathingcostume Sat 30-Jan-16 11:13:17

YANBU. I recently left a school (primary) because of a system like this. We had book scrutinies, lesson observations, learning walks and monitoring of planning and assessment 'graded' out of 10 every week. It got so we all dreaded walking post our pigeon holes for fear of finding another impersonal brown envelope with a 'score' in it.

The final straw came at my performance management review when my worth as a teacher was handed to me as a percentage. A bloody percentage.

Most of what I do is not measurable. Children are not little packets of data, they are human beings. No one scored me out of 10 for my day-to-day care and nurturing of children, their social skills, their attitudes to learning...any of the most important a things. The scoring was, by it's nature, pretty subjective anyway.

It was insulting and I wasn't prepared to be treated like that as a professional anymore.

I wanted an appraisal based on a conversation about my aspirations, strengths and areas for development, not arbitrary 'scores' thank you.

And no, teaching is no worse than any other profession. We always get a chorus of 'that's what the whole public/private sector is like, get over it,' comments, but that's not the point. NO professional should have their worth measured in this way. It's dehumanising and patronising.

Foxyloxy1plus1 Sat 30-Jan-16 11:16:52

That's one of the reasons why teaching will increasingly become a short term career, academy or LA. Experience is not valued and the most important aspect these days is that a teacher is inexpensive.

I don't think many would deny that some form of performance management is necessary, but if you meet all the targets set by SLT and you still don't progress through the pay scale, which is what happens increasingly, it's not a surprise that teachers will use their expertise in other professions.

I don't think people generally are aware of the issues in recruitment and retention these days. It's a broken system.

AnthonyBlanche Sat 30-Jan-16 11:17:31

Haddock I am a senior professional in another line of work. My performance is assessed and graded and pay rises awarded accordingly. I don't see why teachers should be any different? As a teachers output and performance can't be measured in money or new clients acquired surely the only plausible way of assessing is observation and monitoring? Your career aspirations are a completely separate thing from your performance.

AnthonyBlanche Sat 30-Jan-16 11:19:25

Perhaps the solution is to pay teachers a lot more but also to expect more in return? If they was better able candidates who don't go into teaching because they can earn a lot more elsewhere might change their minds?

AnthonyBlanche Sat 30-Jan-16 11:23:32

if they were not if they was!

Haddocksbathingcostume Sat 30-Jan-16 11:26:07

Anthony, I am not arguing that performance should not be monitored or assessed, but how do you do that? How can you write a reasonable SMART target based on the performance of 30 small people, who have other things going on in their lives. What do you measure?

Do you measure their progress over a year? That's what happens, and to a degree that is fair enough, but what progress do you deem is satisfactory? And how do you make allowances for the child who makes no progress because his Dad died and not let that affect your percentage?

How do you measure the unmeasurable? How do you measure the progress of a child who is so unhappy he is self-harming (age 9) who ends the year in your class still years behind his peers, but who has actually started coming to school with a smile on his face ready to learn?

I am not arguing that all teachers should be paid more regardless of performance, but how do you measure that performance?

We had targets like 80% of your class should make X points progress in a year, but that is taking no account of how much that 80% is down to what you do and how much is down to factors entirely out of your control.

How do you decide that someone's marking is 'better' than someone else's. How do you get a score out of 10 from an interview with a child?

Yes, development points - fair enough. But a percentage? A percentage of what? You are 83% a good teacher. What does that even mean?!

MotherKat Sat 30-Jan-16 11:27:12

Can I just point out that a teacher said being graded was dehumanizing...

As someone in the private sector who has had to deal with the nightmarish aftermath of public sector banding being applied to front-line staff I can assure you that 30 years ago an annual pay increase based on your band was the norm, and that as there are staff still under these contracts and union protections there are staff that have to be paid these increments no matter what, with 6 months paid sickness annually. Funnily enough they don't leave these posts.
Every professional role has targets that depend on outside influences, your job, whether as a teacher, doctor or barrister is to manage those influences, those that do that well excel, the sense of entitlement from some teachers makes me feel nauseous.

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