Pupil voice - damaging?
theduchessstill · 22/11/2019 05:28
I was just wondering what approach your schools take to pupil voice. We have a new SLT member who has conducted a huge amount of it this term. He has stated that he has asked for feedback on every member of staff. According to the union guidelines this is wrong because it shouldn't be used to check up on staff. He's also asking them stuff like are they making progress with X teacher. Now I'm not at all sure that all pupils have a good understanding of this anyway, and surely our data should reveal a more reliable picture of progress levels?
Students are also asked to sign a statement of confidentiality before being interviewed, which I think just adds to the drama and the sense that they are there to say controversial stuff about teachers.
Behaviour is appalling and I feel this hasn't helped - kids don't know whether they're coming into our classrooms to learn or assess us! We've also had no real feedback, though we have been told that the kids think behaviour is good
I thought pupil voice was supposed to be about what clubs they want and whether or not they like the sandwiches in the canteen, not a stick to best teachers with. What's it like in your schools?
SunnySomer · 22/11/2019 05:45
Wow. I’m a parent not a teacher and I would be horrified if my son’s school did this: it is introducing the concept of student as customer even earlier in a young person’s life (I’m already shocked about the way academic friends are treated by their students).
It’s an invitation to undermine and very difficult to see what your slt member is going to do with the data they gather. At my previous place of work we did 360 degree feedback and I’m wondering if this is where the person is coming from. But it was voluntary and very carefully managed - all parties knew from the outset what the point of the exercise was, there was a good understanding of the balance of power etc, and you were dealing with adults who understood the implications of misrepresentation so would cage their comments in a constructive way.
Hasn’t your union rep had anything to say about this?
Wallywobbles · 22/11/2019 06:07
As a teacher in tertiary education I can tell you the feedback is basically worthless. So in younger students it doesn't bare considering.
And it's totally destructive to morale. Nail in coffin for anyone already struggling.
theduchessstill · 22/11/2019 06:19
Re the union rep, ahem: slt person in question is the rep...
WelshMoth · 22/11/2019 06:27
I teach in a secondary school in an area where our catchment has been doing pupil voice, rights of the child and restorative practice for the last 10 years (ish).
Behaviour is appalling. We have many children who show zero regard for authority - not even scared of the Head. No classroom discipline. Pupils dominate classroom and corridor environment. It literally bounces.
churchandstate · 22/11/2019 14:05
Disaster written all over that.
crosstalk · 22/11/2019 16:10
Another one saying disaster.
It's a ridiculous demand eg asking a pupil to say if they've made enough progress with a particular teacher - when the pupil doesn't (a) like them (b) put in enough work (c) doesn't like the subject.
And a statement of confidentiality? So it can't be critiqued? I'd go back to your union and ask them for more advice.
likeafishneedsabike · 22/11/2019 16:13
Wow. Now that is a school I wouldn’t want to work in and a manager I wouldn’t want to work for!
Sorry you’re enduring this.
cabbageking · 22/11/2019 18:22
It can be used for asking if children feel safe, what they have learnt, what would benefit them, if they are being bullied etc.
Then you might address the perception of the issue depending on what the Pv reveals. We did one on bullying which implied nearly every child was being bullied. We then addressed what children consider bullying is and it included fall outs with their friends etc. We did some PHSE on bullying. When we redid the survey we added more detailed questions and got a different response that separated fall outs and other questions to get a more accurate idea of bullying and the impact of the PHSE.
We frequently use them for RE. They can be a useful guage but clearly asking about progress when you have the info is counterproductive. Asking about how much they engage or enjoy a subject \topic and the reasons for it would be more useful perhaps?
tulippa · 22/11/2019 18:45
The secondary school I went to did something like this back in the 90s and I was asked my opinion on my teachers. I was very honest. I got into lots of trouble and my parents were called in .
Agree with other posters - pupil voice is for asking general stuff about the subjects and facilities. Not for picking apart individual teachers.
LolaSmiles · 22/11/2019 20:24
I like student voice and think it has a place, and a place beyond tokenism about snacks for the canteen.
However, whether it is useful and appropriate depends on:
A. the leaders doing the student voice
B. the culture of the school
C. How the feedback is used
Our students are used to student voice (but we have our own internal title for it because we don't like the connotations of student voice as it sounds a bit like a bitching platform). There's zero tolerance for disrespect, no naming staff, students are respectful, they feel their contributions are valued and offer quite insightful views. Equally staff know nobody is trying to catch them out. There's a culture of two way respect with appropriate authority and boundaries.
Unfortunately I've been subjected to a horrible student voice experience once. I've also seen student voice where it's an excuse to tank and rate staff, students feel far too powerful to speak and weigh in on staff quality etc. It was a horrible culture where students knew they could bitch to certain members of SLT and was really unprofessionally handled.
ballsdeep · 22/11/2019 20:26
Our school is massive on pupil voice............... And tbh it can be demoralising.
I'm all for pupils ideas shared but when they are. Coming in to look at lessons, learning environments and have the platform to say exactly what they want..... At 7... I'm not. Convinced
LolaSmiles · 22/11/2019 20:35
That sounds ridiculous balllsdeep
Student voice should be done properly with appropriate consideration for the age of the students
PerkyPomPoms · 22/11/2019 21:43
We have pupil voice but done in class and linked to our values. It works really well.
PerkyPomPoms · 22/11/2019 21:44
I am Primary year 3/4
EightiesBaby · 22/11/2019 21:48
Fuck off that's shit! It's straight out of Phillip pullmans book of dust and the league of Alexander 🤣 Fucking hell I'd have left by now....
MitziK · 25/11/2019 20:24
Much as I dislike the idea in principle, it's bloody good at getting the truth about the lessons where somebody is always late, spends their time screaming and shouting at kids whilst flinging around detentions like confetti when they weren't falling asleep during lessons and really should be considering a change of career. Mainly because it backed up my own comments about inappropriate/aggressive behaviour towards students that they were excusing as being entirely the fault of stupid, arrogant children who were lying about it
EightiesBaby · 25/11/2019 20:31
@MitziK are you for real? Obviously the behaviour of that staff member is #awful& inappropriate but STUDENTS LIE...CHILDREN LIKE TO CAUSE TROUBLE (sometimes)...STUDENTS ARE IMMATURE and when they dislike a teacher, even if teacher has done nothing professionally wrong they LIE because they don't like the teacher BECAUSE THEY ARE KIDS! Ffs
EightiesBaby · 25/11/2019 20:33
Message withdrawn at poster's request.
EightiesBaby · 25/11/2019 20:34
How do I know this I hear you ask? I've overheard the little shits conversations...my friends back in school were exactly these little shits!!!
mineofuselessinformation · 25/11/2019 20:40
It's dangerous if not used properly.
The school that I am at has now recognised that some students misuse the power it gives them.
Sadly, the hangover is that some parents now feel that they can complain about very trivial things, and they expect to achieve some kind of resolution that accommodates their wishes.
It is, indeed, very demoralising.
I've considered leaving teaching several times over the last few years because of it.
MitziK · 25/11/2019 20:57
@EightiesBaby Well, when the children's feedback session happened to directly corroborate with my overhearing a 6'3" and 22 stone staff member corner an autistic child (measuring 4'11.5" and weighing about 5 and a half stone wringing wet) behind the door and scream in their face about being stupid, before shoving the child outside into the corridor and slamming the door so hard that the site team had to come and rehang it, yes I am for fucking real.
It wasn't the children lying.
The staff member is no longer in teaching, thankfully.
LolaSmiles · 25/11/2019 21:38
Oh I agree, some students can be really devious in their use of student voice, just like they can go home and spin tales to make the teacher look bad and to get their parents all frothy about the "awful" teacher when the teacher has done nothing wrong but the students have a nasty pack mentality.
But, I also know of staff who talk total shit about what they do in class, blur boundaries, undermine colleagues, don't follow the behaviour policy etc and student voice is quite interesting in those situations.
theduchessstill · 25/11/2019 21:38
MitziK I'm really not sure why pupil voice would be needed to deal with that behaviour. Couldn't the line manager have dealt with it in such an extreme situation?
MitziK · 25/11/2019 21:49
Only if there had been a useful Line Manager (or Head Teacher) - they didn't believe any senior member of staff could behave in such a way and I was probably overreacting to a Man Projecting His Voice/the child concerned probably deserved it anyhow.
The Pupil Voice, as you called it, meant that other members of SLT heard it and, in conjunction with feedback from other students at different times/different incidents where any comments had been brushed off as WELL, CHILDREN LIE WHEN THEY'RE IN TROUBLE, DON'T THEY?, staff complaining that their GCSE exams had been disrupted by the shout of somebody bellowing and screaming in the classroom two floors down and across the playground (and being dismissed as it was quiet, so they heard more than they would usually/the kids must have deserved it), parental complaints about their children being frightened by him, etc, they had to finally do something.
I suppose when they were paying fifty five grand a year for somebody, it was in their interests to pretend nothing was amiss, as that would have implied that they'd fucked up by hiring him in the first place.
Working for a Head who had a No Shouting Policy (except in cases of kids being about to cause severe harm to themselves or others) after that was a blessed relief.
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