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How easy is it to get rid of poor teaching staff?

(66 Posts)
Amaaazing Mon 11-Feb-13 22:36:44

Rumour has it that DD's primary school is seeking to improve by getting rid of poor performing teachers, but how easy is it for this to happen?

I don't work in education but I would have thought that performance managing staff out in schools would be tough.

mrz Thu 14-Feb-13 19:20:13

When I worked in the private sector I don't think I was assessed once in 15 years hmm

deleted203 Thu 14-Feb-13 20:09:59

Thank you heggie. That post was spot on!

As to parents observing, Past I wouldn't have a problem with it, personally. I'm never bothered at anyone coming to have a look at what I'm doing, and have frequently had NQTs, trainee teachers, etc come and observe a lesson to try and help them if they are struggling. Teaching secondary though, I suspect most of my teens would be mortified if their mother came in for the day!

ReallyTired Fri 15-Feb-13 10:18:13

What frustrates me is that bad managers are not got rid of in state schools fast enough. The shit has really hit the fan at my son's school because the teacher assessments have been a complete work of fiction. In reality some of the children have made no progress in writing in the last two years.

The deputy head is starting a job at a new school after Easter smelling of roses. She has been able to run away from the shitty mess she has created. Our head teacher has gone on the sick and the local authority has taken over the running of the school.

I believe that if bad managers were got rid of then we would not have to worry about bad teachers.

heggiehog As parent I cannot assess teachers, but I can assess whether my son is behaving himself and what he is like in class. I can tell my son off for not having any equipment and ask him why he is picking his nose rather than doing his work.

shanefolan29 Sun 18-Jun-17 12:55:18

i know it's an old thread but i'll reiterate what others have said, having worked in the supply circuit for years across u.k. i can tell you that teachers get pushed or leave controversially all the time. It's alot easier than you would think-i've seen schools where a teacher with known friction between the slt will be gone overnight or the slt will not support the teacher or mount big pressure on them leaving it inevitable that they will quit. I think more heads are using one year contracts also these days which makes it easier to push.

BubblesBuddy Sun 18-Jun-17 16:43:57

As a Governor we take the quality of teaching very seriously and we know it is how children learn and make good progress. If a teacher is giving concern regarding their performance, they are given training and support to improve. The problems we have experienced is that improvement is temporary and then another issue crops up. It is very difficult to know how to tackle this in the long term because clearly the other teachers are picking up the pieces to some extent and it is not fair that the children are not taught as well as they should be.

We would never force anyone out without giving substantial support to improve. Our PM is rigourously conducted by the Head and it is evidence based. The PM of the Head is equally rigourous and quality first teaching is required of her too.

None of this is about personality. In nearly every job you can think of, some people are not so good as others. I have rarely met a poor teacher in recent years and I am full of admiration for the ones I know. I am also acutely aware that we owe it to our children to get it right because they only get one chance at this.

user1497480444 Sun 18-Jun-17 17:46:11

My understanding through my SIL (teacher) is that teachers are not assessed enough and poor to satisfactory teaching is extremely common.

This is rubbish, there is in fact no way of actually assessing a teacher accurately, the statistics that are produced about teaching and schools are statistically invalid, and can be skewed any way you want. There is absolutly no point in introducing MORE assessments o teachers when the ones they are subjected to are not at all fit for purpose.

Be very wary of teachers with "good" statistics and performance management. I've known many teachers having to choose between doing a good job teaching, or forgetting all about teaching and doing a good job looking good. You would be surprised how rarely the two coincide. They are in fact, often opposites.

In practice, the most common reason for getting rid of a teacher is cost.

An expensive teacher is chosen and targeted. Steps are taken to ensure their statistics are "bad". Mostly, they will know which way the wind is blowing and resign.

Other than cost there is no point in getting rid of teachers, as they are frequently impossible to replace. My school is whooping with joy to have people to teach 95% of lessons next year. ( That includes agency and day to day supply)

That is every single child in the school having half a day a fortnight without a teacher, even a supply or agency teacher. This is considered exceptionally good.

BringOnTheScience Sun 18-Jun-17 20:40:08

This time last year I was in the process of being forced out.

Jumped up poor observations with ridiculous expectations set.
Increased stress levels.
Fail to achieve new targets.
Capability threatened.
End up resigning because that's less unpleasant.
Then go off sick as a result of the additional stress, just to add to it.

It's very easy for a Head to bully out a teacher.

Ask for union support... Head reminds you that you'll need a reference.

Head offers to put in a good word about you with local Heads so that you then daren't kick up a fuss.

Happens to good teachers as well as poor ones. Replace an experienced teacher with a cheap NQT who won't answer back.

BubblesBuddy Sun 18-Jun-17 21:23:40

Good Heads don't have any staff who answer back. They work together for the good of the children. Teachers who are on the top pay ranges are expected to do more than the average teacher. Replacing all expensive teachers with a NQT is obviously crass. People who have experienced poor management are not reflecting the quality of management in all schools. In some schools there is a massive need to improve but good management allows this to happen by taking responsibility for good teaching because nothing less will do.

user1497480444 Sun 18-Jun-17 22:45:09

by taking responsibility for good teaching because nothing less will do.

you are speaking as if "good teaching" can be defined and measured. It can't.

The definition changes constantly, round and round in circles.

Four years ago text books were written into the SOW, two years ago being caught with a text book was practically a disciplinary offence in itself. Now they are swinging back in.

Four years ago we HAD to refer to ECM EVERY 20 MINUTES during observations, so in a lesson on measuring voltage in a series circuit you HAD to include something on healthy eating etc. two years ago ECM was out and prevent was in, so your lesson on voltage had to include "British Values" so somewhere in the middle of demonstrating how to buid a circuit, you were required to refer to democracy.

Two years ago I hadn't had a working computer in my room for over a year, two weeks ago I was turned down at an interview because I hadn't touched a computer for a whole 20 minutes - unacceptable, apparently.

You can teach, OR you can gather the evidence required for performance management and statistics, but not both.

Five years ago it was fine to speak to a pupil in lessons, you could speak to as many as you liked. Three years ago you had to record what was said to each one, so could only speak to as many as you could record, and spent more time recording than speaking.

Five years ago, you had to write Aims on the board. Three years ago, Aims were banned and you had to write objectives instead. But could still fail an observation if they were not on the board. So that meant you couldn't write anything ELSE on the board during an observation. Some students in local schools organised an "objectives" strike, and put their pens down and refused to pick them up if objectives were written on the board.

who judges what is "right" I've hardly started on the three part lesson.. right, then evil, then right, then evil, now currently right again.

"Educational research" published in the uk, and supported by ofsted, is a load of bollocks dreamt up by people who don't know what the word "research" even means.

Of course you can fail any teacher you want. They are too loud/not loud enough/ talk for too long/ don't talk for long enough/ differentiate too much/don't differentiate enough/ have expectations that are too high/not high enough / are too inclusive/not inclusive enough.etc etc etc etc

An individual is chosen, and hounded out, then another individual is chosen, and hounded out, and so it goes on. 9 times out of 10, the basis for choosing an individual is cost, pure and simple, nothing else.

shanefolan29 Mon 19-Jun-17 02:33:18

''Other than cost there is no point in getting rid of teachers, as they are frequently impossible to replace. My school is whooping with joy to have people to teach 95% of lessons next year. ( That includes agency and day to day supply)''

exactly, from supply experience I have seen plenty of schools with staffing problems in both primary and secondary-this is due to little to no applicants for advertised jobs and teachers quitting during term[this can be quite common in challenging schools,schools with difficult slt or schools where ofsted are targeting]. I think heads in certain areas are realizing that sacking staff these days can be outright dangerous as replacing teachers is becoming increasingly and worryingly difficult. The irony is that even though there is a recruitment and retention crisis some schools do nothing to retain the staff they have got.

viques Mon 19-Jun-17 20:39:40

Mrs, I have worked with one of those too, several in fact, one who never actually engaged with children but always had his personal laptop open, facing away from any other adults in the room, I suspected Facebook or eBay! He relied heavily on other team members for planning and resources in key areas and somehow wangled getting the best TA in the year group who did all his amazing displays, filing and record keeping as well as supporting less able children about whom he did not have a clue. He later went into special education because he said it would be fewer children and more support! He really did have the gift of charming birds from trees, except for one old turkey who resolutely stuck on her branch!

BubblesBuddy Mon 19-Jun-17 20:59:23

I would trust a top class Head to know when a teacher is not good enough. It's not about petty little issues it's far more fundamental than that.

viques Tue 20-Jun-17 12:53:55

bubblesbuddy

Unfortunately top class heads are becoming a rare breed.

Very often indifferent teachers take the management route, often too early, they then become indifferent managers, and unfortunately some go on to become indifferent heads.

There are also good heads who become overwhelmed by the pressures of the job and are then liable to be influenced by other managers ,governors or the authority into making poor decisions.

There are also good heads who have personal issues at home which distract them from managing.

Then there are weak heads ..........who are another story.

A school who has a good head, well supported by an experienced and knowledgeable SMT , with no health or emotional problems is a rare and wonderful thing and the good head should be a protected species, but they aren't .

Good heads are put under increasing pressure from all sides,to maintain Ofsted grades, to support other schools, to take on difficult children that other schools don't want, to increase their schools size, to maintain support for children with reduced budgets, to maintain poorly constructed buildings, to innovate and change the curriculum on the whim of a temporary minister...... No wonder so many are leaving and schools are finding it harder and harder to recruit good heads.

And poor leadership at the top is what is causing the stress further down, which is why teacher training recruitment is in crisis, teacher retention is in crisis, stress levels are through the ceiling and bullying is rife throughout the system.

VeryPunny Tue 20-Jun-17 13:08:04

Governor here. It is possible to assess teacher quality. Our intake is very solidly middle class, we have few SEN pupils, we are a small school, parents are involved and staff know every pupil well. Our children should be flying. We had problems with teachers who had not changed their methods in 20 years and were at odds with the new head who was trying to improve things. We knew they weren't good enough, we knew we weren't making enough progress with learning behaviours and achievements, OFSTED came in and confirmed it, gave us RI. One teacher was put on capability after at least a term being supported by the local authority, the Head and SLT, and they resigned rather than make improvements (which most of the other staff members were capable of doing). Interestingly they walked straight into a job at another local school.

There are several stakeholders looking at teacher performance - as a Governor, all our teachers are anonymously RAG rated at our Personnel meetings, we have LA advisors conduct visits, and we have the SLT. I'm confident our Head knows what good teaching looks like.

kesstrel Tue 20-Jun-17 14:33:59

We had problems with teachers who had not changed their methods in 20 years and were at odds with the new head who was trying to improve things

Out of interest, what were the methods that needed to be changed, and what was it the head wanted them to change to?

VeryPunny Tue 20-Jun-17 19:21:08

Kesstrel - It was behaviour management, primarily around learning behaviours. Teacher was refusing to implement behaviour policies and measures adopted by the rest of the school. Behaviour issues in her class were preventing good progress so it really did need adressing.

shanefolan29 Tue 20-Jun-17 21:45:27

''Interestingly they walked straight into a job at another local school.''

considering how hard it can be to recruit teachers nowadays that's not in the lease surprising or interesting-just the way teaching is today, i know in my current school we have had staffing problems throughout the year.

user1497480444 Tue 20-Jun-17 21:53:53

It is possible to assess teacher quality. it is impossible to objectively quantify.

Our intake is very solidly middle class, we have few SEN pupils, we are a small school, parents are involved and staff know every pupil well. Our children should be flying

and the staggering ignorance apparent in basing this conclusion on these observations leaves me in no doubt that you are the last person suited to even try to assess a teacher.

NoHopeToday Wed 21-Jun-17 20:03:04

^agree

admission Wed 21-Jun-17 20:49:15

Sorry user1497480444 but your last post says to me that you might be the last person suited to even try and assess a teacher rather than VeryPunny. At no point did VeryPunny say that they were assessing a teacher's performance, they were taking the professional opinions of the head teacher, the LA and Ofsted and backing their judgement of someone who had clearly lost their way as a teacher.
It might be impossible to objectively quantify teaching without reaching for a tick box mentality but it sure is easy to see a lesson where pupils are engaged and learning well and one where they are not.

mrz Wed 21-Jun-17 20:53:07

I would hope that heads and governors are aware

BubblesBuddy Wed 21-Jun-17 21:11:45

VeryPunny says Ofsted confirmed what they knew. Therefore they didn't use Ofsted observations. Ofsted confirmed no progress. I agree that good heads are hard to find but Governors have to rely on the SLT. They do not make judgements on teaching performance in classrooms but they do scrutinise data and listen to the Head regarding evaluation of the school and what needs to improve. Any decent Governor has to ensure quality first teaching and teachers who will not change are supported but in the end the children matter more.

NoHopeToday Wed 21-Jun-17 21:43:32

It's funny though, isn't it. The governors know exactly what's going on etc etc they have absolute faith in the head etc etc they back the head all the way etc etc

Yet, all they have is the word and 'evidence' of the head.

I've seen (and have now experienced) this 'evidence'. Unless you are there in the classroom days in and day out, you (as governor) cannot comment. Though you think you can.

Do you know I witnessed an awful incident at work yesterday. Awful behaviour. I witnessed something that cold have been dangerous and gave me cause for concern. Yet I didn't. Or did I? You don't know. You only have my word. Of course, the teacher will deny it. They don't want to go on a support plan, or worse, capability, do they?

NoHopeToday Wed 21-Jun-17 21:47:31

(Of course there are some great heads, but more and more there seems to be a wave of younger, cheaper, less experienced heads who have rushed out of the classroom and onto leadership why?).

Some teachers are good, some aren't. Same for governors and heads, but it's not black and white.

Good teaching is about far more than levels and grades and (dare I say it? Constant progress).

BubblesBuddy Thu 22-Jun-17 10:13:59

The few of us on this thread who are Governors have to rely on the SLT. Having doneextensive training on this topic, there is no other way teaching can be judged. We are not allowed (and nor should be we be) to go into classrooms to judge teachers. We do not have that role. We can observe lessons because we have a focus but we would never say to a Head that we thought a lesson was unsatisfactory. It is the job of the Head and SLT to support teachers who are struggling. Putting them on capability is the last resort but we clearly want good teaching for every child and I will defend that position.

The mistrust NoHope has in good Governance is rather upsetting to be frank. We challenge the Head. We ask for evidence. The Head carries out performance management. There are no snap judgements made about anyone. If you feel you are working in a school that has Governors that just support the Head and do not challenge them, then you need to move if you are not happy. However, when it comes to teaching quality, governors have no option but to trust the SLT because they cannot, and must not, judge teaching themselves. I suggest you find out more about the role of the Governor before you spit so much bile towards people who work for nothing and try and do a good job.

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