Join hundreds of primary teachers in the TES Primary group. Find lesson ideas and inspiration, share best practice and get your questions answered by your peers. This is also the place for debate on the latest issues in primary teaching.
I have recently been told by a member of the SLT that from September all the lessons I teach have to be graded 'outstanding' as this is the grade for anyone in my position on the pay scale. Having recently investigated outstanding lessons two things come to mind. First is an Ofsted advisor who quoted an instance where two inspectors happened to be in the same lesson - one graded it 'outstanding' and the other 'inadequate'. The other is a video on Teachers tv where a Reception class teacher was observed as 'good' and wanted to achieve 'outstanding'. Presumably for the purposes of the programme, she was given concentrated help by not one, but two advisors and then observed again. You've guessed it- once again she was assessed as 'good'.
What possible hope is there for the rest of us? Apparently if we don't achieve the grade needed in any lesson observed we will be downgraded paywise and then can be dismissed within 6-8 weeks. Is this correct? It sounds unfair, unscientific, subjective, incredibly disruptive for schools and unbelievably stressful for all concerned.
it would seem apposite to refer to my blog of a few years ago on these very matters, here.
OP, your head is just making stuff up, as is apparently one of the main functions of heads. The new PM model policy is and all future regulations will be designed to make it easier to sack teachers, easier to freeze their pay at any level and easier to pile more workload on to all teachers.
Debates about right/wrong, fair/unfair, good/bad for schools or pupils or teachers are increasingly redundant. Academies will have increasing freedom to define what education is, OFSTED will be describing their 'success stories' in the 2 years approaching the next general election, schools swimming against the tide will be forced to become academies, headteachers will have to buy into the central government agenda or see their schools 'fail', teachers not bending to the will of heads will suddenly become insufficently outstanding etc etc
the writing is on the wall in very, very large, flourescent letters ...
there are no such regulations. There is a model Appraisal Policy, non-statutory, very nasty, very low on detail .....
Probably like many others I find this thread deeply depressing. Why are the people who have gained power and influence in this country so hell bent on weighing their pigs, whether teachers or pupils. Is there any reliable evidence whatsoever that this helps children learn better or teachers teach better? Have we lost all independence of mind and action now in state education?
What corruption are we seeding into the art of education wherebey all is about results, nebulous, ephemeral, unsubstantiated rumour turned into policy, enforced and policed by a neutered, politically subservient inspectorate. We have created an Orwellian nightmare; our abilty through information technology and the photocoper has succeeded in making us subservient to a formulaic, downward dictated movement of regulaltion and restriction, of an attack on independence of thought and action in the classroom. We are obliged to duck our heads lest the thin leash of statistical whips berates our cheeks should we dare to face the political fatheads full on.
When will someone get it into their heads that every lesson does not have to be outstanding; that is not real life. Children exist in real life of flawed parents, flawed friends, flawed selves. It is an insult to their intelligence and ours to suggest otherwise. Why have teachers become the bottom of the pille of decision taking? Why have we becmome just the lead tiger in a circus act that has a ringmaster and is contained under the guady poster of happy big top. It's nonsense it really is.
How do such people get to be headteachers in the first place? Because they were non-teachers in the first place and a system which promotes non-teachers to weild power and influence over teachers is doomed to corral and restrict that which it fears. To train it to perform tricks dimensioned by the ruler and the whip and then turn to its static public and 'display' its mastery, its domination, its skill. This for entertainment of the ticket buying few. Sorry rant over - big-top blown off!
Read your blog beckton and thoroughly agree with everything in it even though I am 'management' in a smaller than average primary school with significantly higher than average free school meals (all Ofsted speak). Having been in Special measures for two years a few years ago due to 'low attainment' (during which time I can't really remember seeing my own children growing up) I am part of that observation culture. For all the observations I have done over the years and tried, I believe, to be as objective, supportive and open minded, as well as trying to give practical suggestions on how to develop further, in my opinion there is a danger that if OFSTED continue to 'raise the bar' (shift the goal posts out of the stadium and into the next field surrounded by an electric fence and land mines) then it is going to be impossible for satisfactory teachers ever to reach the dizzy heights of outstanding.
Like you say in your blog, a LO only tells you about that lesson, on that day with that group of children dependent on their mood. When you read current OFSTED reports of schools that are satisfactory, the same comments are repeated over and over again for those lessons that are satisfactory 'lack of pace' 'pace of learning slow' 'lack of challenge' 'not enough independence' 'inadequate marking and feedback'. I sometimes wonder if observations took place in a school that had all these elements included in every lesson observed and yet standards were 'satisfactory' at the end of KS2 what would happen then?
I do sometimes feel that when I'm running staff development sessions for staff on Teaching and Learning that I am simply trying to get them to do what OFSTED want to see in lessons and that actually it might not be the right thing for the children. Our last inspection report last year was satisfactory. One more like that (and with latest SATs results only satisfactory -73% ( 8/11 children) L4+ English and Maths all getting what they were expected to get based on KS1 with 2 going to Special school next year and one not making sufficent progress in Maths-not looking for excuses!) and we'll be in danger of forced academy status. Which brings me to the point you make about academies. Raise the bar impossibly high for some schools, fail them, new academy. Voila!
I have been toying with the idea of packing it all in, but I turned 40 last week and have done this all my working life so have no idea what I could do instead!
jeff, I truly feel for you. There are heads and other senior managers who use these forums and you can feel their embarrassment, frustration and anger over what they are being pushed into. If you can bear it, you may well be able to make a difference. Ours remains one of the noblest of professions, a job screamingly worth doing. Honest management can help teachers jump hoops and become good teachers on the side - it's the dishonest nodding dogs who demotivate us all and bring our profession into disrepute, know them for what they are and you will already be helping...
Bectonboy your blog is so astute, why no more entries? If a teacher like you, as insightful, independent, resilient and long-lived sees through the whole charade, what hope is there left for the rest of us with many years to run, with passion and disbelief running through our veins in equal measure. .........
yohanalicanteBectonboy your blog is so astute,
why no more entries?
If a teacher like you, as insightful, independent, resilient and long-lived sees through the whole charade, what hope is there left for the rest of us with many years to run, with passion and disbelief running through our veins in equal measure. ......
Well I raise my hat to you - or well at least wave my handbag as I don't wear hats they mess with my hair- but I would like to ask you a question.
If you have taught for twenty five years do you think we are doing better by our children in the classroom today that we were when you started? Not withstanding that when we start teaching it is just the beginning of a life-long learning(ahh that's what that term really means - there when one uses it spontaneously!) and so perhaps you might not have a dispassionate view of those early years when all was too hot and malleable, too changeable and fascinating to form an overview.
I mean what do YOU think? I know what politicians think and I know that many OFSTED inspectors, many headteachers, advisors and the like DON'T think much further than their soundbite noses can smell but what do YOU think, a classroom teacher of obvious dedication and realism, wit and scepticism, principles and passion?
Okay there's computers, interactive whizzboards, greater in-depth subject knowledge, national assessments, national data, national schemes, national advisors, national standards setters, national number-crunchers, national everythings but .. are 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 5,,4 year olds any different in their social, emotional, cognitive, linguistic etc growth and development than they were before the gene of 'national' was grafted onto the root stock of all things educational and are we meeting those growing and learning needs any better ?
I really would like to hear more of your views.. hence the questions- sorry but I loved your last sentence so much I want to hear more- silver-tongued men (/ women too) have that musical effect whereby my soul dances and my heart opens- and here in education that is so rare these days!
becktonboyit's amazing how long you can keep going and still walk into a room full of people more than half a century younger than you and have fun. I have a laugh every working day.
yohanalicantedo you think we are doing better by our children in the classroom today that we were when you started?
computers, interactive whizzboards, greater in-depth subject knowledge, national schemes,
national advisors, national assessments, national data, national standards setters, national number-crunchers
are 11, 10, 9, 8, 7, 5,,4 year olds any different in their social, emotional, cognitive, linguistic etc growth and development than they were
are we meeting those growing and learning needs any better?
Top of page
TES Editorial © 2012 TSL Education Ltd. All pages of the Website are
reproduce, duplicate, copy, sell, resell or exploit any material on the
Website for any commercial purposes. TSL Education Ltd Registered in England (No 02017289) at 26 Red Lion Square, London, WC1R 4HQ