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Advice Needed on Support Plan

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by baxterbasics, Oct 21, 2017.

  1. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    Last week I posted on here about a situation where I objected to unqualified staff doing lesson observations, and as a result, they brought somebody "in" from a linked school who absolutely ripped into and destroyed my lesson, even though it was not obviously a poor, unstructured lesson and the kids all behaved they found every nit picking point that they could to rip apart.

    So this week, I was watched again and I made sure that every single point was spot on, to the extent that for differentiation, there were two or more options for every task.

    Again, I was failed on the observation, and remarks were made that although there was some differentiation, it was not "clear enough".

    Personally, I feel that I am being set up to fail. I get the best results in the department, and up until now, there have been no complaints. My door is always open, so people can see how I teach, and among the support staff, I am known as a hard working and successful teacher - they know because they follow the kids around other lessons. I even worked at the school for two years on supply before they decided to take me on.

    I spoke to my union and they said that although they would go with me to the meeting where I am put on a support plan, all that I can do is agree to follow their advice and defer to their greater wisdom.

    Is there nothing more that I can do? I am the NUT rep and have complained about various things, like staff swearing at kids (nothing got done) and unqualified people doing all sorts of jobs above their station like lesson observation (look where that got me!). I can't help thinking that this is all planned and deliberate, and it is causing my health to suffer.
  2. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    I think that this might well be the reason the SMT is trying to offload you.
    blazer, Shedman, Pomz and 5 others like this.
  3. george1963

    george1963 Occasional commenter

    I think you sound like a very competent, clear and knowledgeable teacher. How you come across...presenting it succinctly etc. And asking questions. So you're bright and knowledgeable. You also have a previous good history and as you say, they tried before the 'buyed' and took you on after two years.

    So something has changed. I've been in schools like this before, one who got an external consultant in and he changed the views of others. Another into RI and the pressure upped. So I think on both cases, people nit picked their pressure 'down the chain.' That's my experience.

    Has anything changed internally..new staff etc. Or is it you that's changed? More confident,vocal?
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  4. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    Well, one thing has changed - I made a complaint about the fact that unqualified managers were observing teachers. No doubt about it, a number of people at the top took offence. Instead of changing the policy for the whole school, they brought in somebody different to observe me - and I was the only teacher who failed.

    I have also raised concerns/ blown the whistle on staff swearing in front of kids

    As I said before, I was only supply for two years before they bought me off an agency for £6k in a transfer fee. So I was highly rated then.

    If I was incompetent, I would hold up my hands and admit it, but I'm clearly not as I get very good results. There have been zero issues.

    When somebody is given a support plan, there are normally lots of clues leading up to it - ie. classes getting out of control, lots of informal chats with SMT, kids complaining, missing deadlines, etc. None of this whatsoever.
    george1963 likes this.
  5. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    So my main thought processes right now are, "do I give in, or do I fight it somehow?"

    The other thought process involves looking elsewhere for work, but that goes without saying.
    pepper5 likes this.
  6. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Not always. I have known colleagues where it has 'come completely out of the blue' with no warning beforehand. :(Other than that it has happened to others within the same school setting. :rolleyes:
  7. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Far more experienced and knowledgeable people than me will be able to advise you but on the face of it, you may wish to look elsewhere for work which is the obvious other choice you have.

    From reading these posts, when you fight these battle it is extremely difficult and you have your health to look after.
    blueskydreaming and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  8. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    That sort of reinforces my view that teaching is actually quite a dangerous, and in many cases unfair, career.
  9. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I can be dangerous and very, very unfair.

    You only have to read these posts to see that.
    grumpydogwoman and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  10. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    I know - and without wishing to overstate my case, nearly all the support staff (as this is a special school) view me as the most hardworking and conscientious of all the teachers.

    Sometimes, it is a matter of personality - people like me who have a non-imposing personality and a low ego can get treated the worst, and the strident careerists are never challenged.

    The law of the staffroom can be not much better than that of the playground, but not everybody is aware of that terrible irony.
  11. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Sometimes a great teacher with a lot to offer is just in the wrong school at the wrong time.

    School leaders change and this changes the ethos of the school. What used to suit some staff no longer does and friction is the result. Then it's time to look to move on.

    This isn't the fault of the leaders or the teacher, just a natural way of things.
    toni wilson and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  12. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    you have a point, but in some cases there are also genuine matters of injustice; many of which we see on a regular basis on this forum.

    in my case, though, there is a growing mindset of "the trust" and "the academy" etc, which to me is million miles away from the sort of child-centred reasons that brought me into teaching.
    jammiejimmy, pepper5 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  13. jimm287

    jimm287 New commenter

    It might be time to start looking elsewhere.
    Pomz and pepper5 like this.
  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Which is exactly what I mean about the change in ethos.
    Lara mfl 05 and pepper5 like this.
  15. MadHatter1985

    MadHatter1985 New commenter

    Firstly, I'm really sorry to hear that you've been subjected to such injustice. You're a dedicated teacher with a good reputation and results - and it sounds like you're great with behaviour in a difficult setting, too. Who could ask for more?

    I disagree with the union that you do not have a defence here. It sounds to me that the case of the school management is incredibly weak.

    It hardly seems right that you are put on a support plan after two observations. As your results are consistently good, it by default means that your teaching, planning and assessment are all good. Your results reflect the quality of your teaching over time and should carry much more weight than lesson observations, which are only a snap-shot. Also, if your results show that different groups of children with different starting points are achieving, this proves that over time differentiation is in place effectively, irrespective of the subjective view of an observer.

    The school is claiming that your differentiation was not clear in the lesson that it observed; however, you have concrete evidence that differentiation was adequate from a variety of sources, e.g. your powerpoint, lesson resources, the children's books and your own planning.

    Recent research by Professor Coe at the University of Durham has indicated that the process of observation leads to inconsistent and unreliable judgments.The fact that the other staff with lower results had higher observation grades exposes the lack of validity in the observation process in your school. At the very least, to place a teacher on a support plan there would need to be considerable evidence from multiple sources (e.g. some lesson observation evidence combined with results, book scrutiny and parent voice).

    Personally, I would want to fight this injustice tooth and nail.
  16. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    Agreed, Academies,Trusts, or call them what you will bring out the worst in egotistical, self serving leaders (some of who have, by the work of miracles hardly ever even taught), and those who will gladly kiss their backsides. People like me, whose main interests are the kids and the subject that they teach can be treated like dirt for questioning the methods and motives of the elite. Decency and a sense of principle don't even come into the equation.
  17. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    Thanks for your message of support - that is how I feel - but the logistics of how (little me) takes them on, is another issue altogether. There are solicitors who will look into cases of workplace bullying or injustice etc, for no upfront fees and a free consultation. That is one possible idea that is floating around my head right now.
    pepper5 likes this.
  18. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    With this view, working in an academy trust will never be right for you.
    Fighting the leaders, who are also a small part of the large trust, will not get you what you want and could destroy any chance of you doing so in another setting.
    Lara mfl 05 and pepper5 like this.
  19. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Fighting the injustice comes with a price: time, anxiety, risk. You have to ask yourself is it really worth it in the long run when you could try to find a job elsewhere?

    Life it so short and teaching has its own difficulties without you taking this on. How easily do you think you could find another post?

    Sound wisdom from CTB.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  20. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    I have a lot of very specialised experience and ability to teach a few subjects, so I hope that I can find somewhere else.
    Already in touch with the agencies (although I know their principles are somewhat money influenced, lol, but sometimes you have to dine with the devil)

    I think that I also have a fear that there are many other schools that have a bullying or at least high pressure and high job risk culture and that really scares me. At least when I was kept on long term on supply there was the daily guarantee that I was there because I was valued. Once you are permanent, it can give people a licence to mess with your sense of self worth, even if you are hard-working and conscientious like me.

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