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Squaring 'recruitment crisis' and 'threat of capability'

(66 Posts)
Tariqa Sun 13-Mar-16 11:20:57

Apologies if I'm being really thick here but:

A) I'm reading about how hard it is to fill teacher vacancies

B) I'm reading about long hours teachers work, with pressure of data/marking policies/lesson plans/paperwork.

Given (A) - would a teacher refusing to engage in (B) really have action taken against them?

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 13-Mar-16 11:25:59

If the teacher wasn't fulfilling the requirements of the job, yes they would have action taken against them.

mercifulTehlu Sun 13-Mar-16 11:35:34

Yes they would. And the additional scrutiny and stress following their refusal would make life even more unbearable. My dh is an excellent teacher and a deputy head. He was threatened with capability proceedings in spite of putting in unbelievable hours and generally working his butt off, just because the HT took a dislike to the way he handled a few things. I'm afraid the (denied) recruitment and retention crisis is not having any kind of positive effect on the way teachers are treated or managed.

Tariqa Sun 13-Mar-16 11:37:47

So if you were effective at teaching the kids, but strolled in and out at sensible hours with only a pencil tucked behind your ear, then they'd fire you and prefer to have a vacancy confused .

Because it's better to have an expensive supply teacher strolling in and out at sensible hours, with no commitment to the school beyond the end of the week hmm .

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 13-Mar-16 12:35:14

"So if you were effective at teaching the kids, but strolled in and out at sensible hours with only a pencil tucked behind your ear, then they'd fire you and prefer to have a vacancy"

Teaching isn't just standing in front of the class, it does require a certain amount of paperwork, marking, feedback, lesson planning to name a few, if you aren't doing enough of the paperwork to support the pupils that you teach effectively then you are not doing your job correctly.

Tariqa Sun 13-Mar-16 12:50:44

But square that for me with (B) - teachers saying that the peripherals make the job impossible and demotivating.

Is it impossible to completely ignore unhelpful interventions and to just teach the way you want to?

Say - marking. My A-Level teacher had a special way she expected us to format our work, so that she could scan down the page to the answers, and then refer sideways to the workings only if there was a problem. In the current climate, could you insist that you only mark work set out to your instructions?

SueLawleyandNicholasWitchell Sun 13-Mar-16 12:53:00

Yes you can insist on that.

Tariqa Sun 13-Mar-16 12:53:53

And pressure to show improvement for SATs.

Ofsted downgrades etc etc.... but headteacher recruitment is (if anything) tougher than teacher recruitment.

How much action would OFSTED realistically take if the headteacher was capable but refusing to do more than pay lip service to targets?

Pico2 Sun 13-Mar-16 13:22:10

Presumably it also depends on the school. Some schools must find it easier to recruit than others. If you are busy trying to poach teachers from overseas out of desperation the you probably have less time to start capability procedures on the staff you already have. Similarly if you can't find a head of department then you have no one to do the legwork for lots of scrutiny to back up the capability procedures.

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 13-Mar-16 13:27:17


As you haven't given a back story it is hard to figure out exactly what you want from this.

If a teacher is doing the paperwork in such a way that it meets the requirement of the school and it is proved to be doing that that, then the teacher can argue that they are doing enough.

The HT bit would depend on how much support they have from the governors and which targets they are meeting and which ones they are paying lip-service too.

Tariqa Sun 13-Mar-16 13:47:30

I would make an awesome STEM teacher.

I'm motivated, well qualified, SEN experience and get on well with kids.

But since I have small DC of my own, I'd never be in a position to do crazy hours.

I'm hearing of my local schools running years with (e.g.) physics teacher posts unfilled - so I'm wondering if they would genuinely be that intransigent if someone rocked up and offered precisely 40 hours per week. 40 good, honest hours. But absolutely no more.

MrsGuyOfGisbo Sun 13-Mar-16 14:33:20

Re the rocking up - yes that is what I do. I am a supply teacher and do precisely that. If I don't like a school I just don't go back there. But I have a few regular ones that I like and like me, have got to know the kids and staff, and vice versa, and mostly get 5 days a week work from just those. I would not stick with only one as would inevitable get sucked into all the peripheral stuff. I am not a physics teacher, but know enough to deliver the pre-planned work - if you are a real physics teacher you would have no shortage of work at a good rate.

partystress Sun 13-Mar-16 14:35:11

I can see why it is hard to comprehend, because it is a bit like Alice in Wonderland. Much of Educationland makes absolutely no sense. It ought to be possible to complete 25 hours of teaching, with 40 hours of work (although most high performing countries have a ratio closer to 1 hour teaching to 2 hours prep/mark/adjust prep), but actually simply preparing lessons could easily eat up a big chunk of that 15 hours. Making slides and resources, thinking about how to group the students, working out how to make the learning accessible to all students, including those with eg reading difficulties and then recording all this on whatever planning format your school uses, is quite time consuming. In secondary, when there aren't huge curriculum changes going on, you can re-use materials, so you would save time there, but if you are moved to work with a higher or lower set or year group, or you have a particularly strong or weak cohort, or you get a new head who imposes a different planning format, then you are closer to starting from scratch.

Add in team meeting, staff meeting, answering queries from parents and students, dealing with disciplinary and pastoral issues, keeping up with developments in your subject and your 40 hours start to be stretched a bit thin. And that's before we have even thought about assessment. Secondary marking is less relentless than primary, but the peaks are huge. And marking is only part of assessment - teachers are expected to record data on each student, analyse and explain it. This involves looking at lots of different demographic splits and looking at attainment (results) and progress (how far the students have moved) and comparing against targets which will have been based on the child's performance in very flawed tests in year 6 (tests which are undergoing yet more change this year and which are so high stakes for primary heads that in some schools, children are significantly 'helped').

The answer could well be hoping that lots of people like you come into teaching and simply refuse to jump through the hoops. There does need to be a critical mass though, because for now, school cultures and leadership styles make life so unpleasant for anyone who doesn't toe the line, that people roll over or get out.

Tariqa Sun 13-Mar-16 15:06:45

Yeah - but what if I say 'fuck this' to all the paperwork - and just explain my subject. Follow the set curriculum - but just improvise differentiation. Stick then in front of a computer implemented benchmarking test now and again to check progress.

fourcorneredcircle Sun 13-Mar-16 15:38:26

Saying "fuck this" will mean you'll be on capability - all of the things you're saying you'd skip are the things you have to do as a perfectly normal part of the job.

Tariqa Sun 13-Mar-16 15:44:33

OK - so I'm on capability - and I still say 'fuck this'. Teach to my best, but refuse to get drawn in to excessive demands.

Not necessarily saying I'd be quite so tough - but just working through the logic, iyswim.

So people come in and see me and give me instructions and paperwork and stuff. I keep missing the targets and not being up to date with whatever. Stroll off home at 5pm or whatever with the newspaper tucked under my arm.

They really fire me and leave a vacancy? Of course - this all relies on me being awesome and irreplaceable grin !

SueLawleyandNicholasWitchell Sun 13-Mar-16 15:48:45

You need to teach in France with that approach. Good teaching and none of the surrounding crap.

noblegiraffe Sun 13-Mar-16 15:51:43

When you say you're well qualified, do you mean as a teacher?

Because if you aren't an experienced teacher then you won't be able to rock up and teach lessons without a significant amount of preparation time. I spend hardly any time lesson planning because I can just roll up and teach fractions off the top of my head with nothing but a pen and whiteboard (OK, so my lessons aren't Ofsted outstanding but the kids say I'm a good teacher and they wouldn't be slow to tell me if I wasn't). However if it comes to a topic that I've never taught before, I have to put a good few hours in getting my head around how to approach it and assembling resources. With new teachers, they have to do that for every lesson.

Most of my time outside of lessons is spent marking.

FannyGlum Sun 13-Mar-16 15:56:54

They can fill the vacancy with a cheaper unqualified teacher (if an academy) or a school's direct teach first youngster who will be a yes man and do everything they want. They'll work them to the bone for a few years until they burn out. Then they'll replace again. They aren't interested in experience

Tariqa Sun 13-Mar-16 15:57:45

I do really understand the first few years would be longer hours (in fact - I'd have to train part time I think - or wait 5 years for DC to grow up). But I just want to understand what's stopping a teacher in a shortage subject just saying 'no' to bullshit demands.

OddBoots Sun 13-Mar-16 16:01:20

Can you imagine how all the other teachers that are working long hours and putting the work in would feel and act if one teacher was kept on if they didn't do what is expected of them?

I'm not saying the workload of teachers is right, I think it's a disgrace, but unless it is a collective act then one teacher working below expectations won't work.

antiqueroadhoe Sun 13-Mar-16 16:33:35

Well what stops teachers pissing off their headteachers is that they rely on them for a reference. They control your career. Does that help?

BoneyBackJefferson Sun 13-Mar-16 16:48:26

I would make an awesome STEM teacher.

Which aspect of STEM would you be awesome in?

mercifulTehlu Sun 13-Mar-16 16:58:43

Is it impossible to completely ignore unhelpful interventions and to just teach the way you want to?

Yes. Teachers haven't been allowed to 'just teach the way they want to' for a long time.

I understand why you find it odd that schools would rather get rid of a non-compliant teacher even if they risk not being able to find a replacement, but I suppose ultimately, a HT is going to be judged more harshly for failing to make the school and its teachers follow government requirements than for being unable to recruit new staff (which is arguably not their fault).

If it were as easy as just saying "Nah - actually I don't fancy doing any of that paperwork stuff. And I'm not staying for that meeting. And I'm going to teach however the hell I like", don't you think thousands of teachers would be doing exactly that? We're not a bunch of thickos you know. But go on OP - you go into teaching and try it! Let us know how you get on...

mercifulTehlu Sun 13-Mar-16 17:01:38

Theyreallyfire me and leave a vacancy? Of course - this all relies on me being awesome and irreplaceable!

Yes but a teacher who refuses to do half of what the job currently entails isn't awesome and irreplaceable, are they? However awesome they think they are at 'standing in front of a class and explaining their subject' hmm

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