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Capabilty conundrum

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by kega123, Nov 11, 2018.

  1. kega123

    kega123 New commenter

    Hi all, new to this and just looking for some advice!

    Essentially, I have a head teacher who is renowned for treating staff badly. The school has a large turnover with teachers feeling incredibly stressed and undervalued. At the moment I appear to be in his firing line and have been given 'informal' targets to be reviewed just before xmas (nice). I was approved to go through to the next pay scale during my last annual appraisal and received positive feedback in my last 3 observations. Apparently progress isn't clear in the children's books, but the quality of mine honestly doesn't seem different to any other teachers. All feels very woolly. Anyway, if I don't appear to meet said targets, I'm told things will become 'formal'. He 'assures' me that "nobody want this" (formal proceedings) and even conceded that my children are "moving in the right direction" after I basically forced him to look at my children's books and other resources I'd made.

    So, I'm weighing up my options... best case scenario: I'm deemed to have improved in my review. Keep my head down, try my best and resign at the end of the academic year. I don't want it on my CV (or for my own sense of self) that I resigned/was pushed in the middle of the school year.

    Worst case scenario: Don't pass targets and be put onto formal capabilty in Jan which would go on my record.

    I'm going to be speaking to my union for advice, but was just curious to hear others' ideas. Seeing it through til my review is a risk in case I don't pass, but then I've heard of people getting through informal capability and I don't want to leave mid- year! I don't know what to do but the whole situation is making me incredibly anxious and my confidence has been torn to shreds :(
  2. Mrsmumbles

    Mrsmumbles Star commenter

    Sorry to hear this. Are you over 45 and on upper pay spine? If so, please read as many WD threads on capability as you can on this forum. Personally, I would leave. Schools have become toxic cesspits ‘managed’ by self-serving inept SLT, many of whom are very stupid and clearly using performance management ‘skills’ incorrectly. The stress does affect your mental health, so take note and start making bolder decisions. There will be some people here on TES who will insist that you can survive capability and it’s this wondrous system of meee biz ticking to ensure some wacko form of quality control. I believe, along with many of the older and more experienced teachers on here, that this is a lot of cow pat. Many of the defenders of capability go very quiet and seem to vanish from TES after they’ve ploughed into and attacked a post attacking capability and all it ‘stands’ for. Others are genuine posters who have indeed survive s it, probably due to a mixture of sheer luck, good timing, their own ability, and a set of skills or relatively younger age which still made them attractive to employers. So you need to do the research and have the Long Thinks, the discussions with the union rep, the lot. You could start looking for January starts and see if they’ll release you early. Worst case, it’s leave for a Spring on supply start, or a different job! Michael Gove described teachers as being like footballers, needing to move around schools to perform better in one than perhaps they did in their previous post. The analogy tells you everything you need to know about where the English education system has gone; driven by dubious results laced with cheating, image-obsessed, flashy, shallow and riddled with mental health problems. Good news is you can start to take control of the quagmire today!
  3. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    Let me get this straight. You passed PM and we're bumped up the scale on the last PM, I assume you mean the one signed off a few weeks ago?

    When you say your last three observed had positive comments were they graded?

    How long have you been teaching? How old are you (ish).

    Talk to union, you need to be referred to regional.
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Well, only your HT knows if he has an agenda that dictates you'll be put on formal. You'd have to look at what's happened to others. Do you have colleagues who have seemingly been doing fine but have inexplicably now ended up on formal capability?

    It's a guessing game.

    Me? I'd put my cards on the table with him.

    "What chance do you think I have of avoiding formal? Be honest. I just don't want that on my record. I have to weigh up what I ought to do. Perhaps you feel I'm not quite the right person for this role? Is that it? Tell me. I'd rather look elsewhere than stay where I'm not really considered a good fit. Level with me. This is my career."

    But you've missed the deadline for leaving at the end of December so you're stuck until at least Easter.

    Try and get a feel for where he's going with this.
    tonymars, kega123, Pomza and 4 others like this.
  5. teselectronic

    teselectronic Occasional commenter

    Hope everything works out in your favour and please consider this.
    One of my friends had a meeting with the CEO of India Coal and they met at the head office in England.
    The CEO asked, "how many people work here"? My friend replied, "half of them".
    Having worked in Education for 25 years+, In schools, 100% of teachers work. I have never met a lazy Teacher.
    The Government Capability Procedure, is a SUBJECTIVE joke.
    With reference to lesson observations, I find this quite subjective!
    When I worked has a HOF in a School who experienced poor results, before my appointment, I was asked to remove two of the staff, subject to my lesson observations.
    The discipline was the problem and not the teachers and I would suggest, this is the cause of poor outcomes in many Schools!
    The results at GCSE, increased by 81% in an academic year, not bad!
    One of the teachers with my advice, moved to an Independent School and was appointed HOF within two years; his School consistently achieves 80/82% A/A* at A - level.
    tenpast7, henrypm0, tonymars and 3 others like this.
  6. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Sorry to hear you're here.
    It does sound a bit as if the head backs down when pushed, which may give a ray of hope.
    However, in the long term, you need to advise your union folk that you may be heading for trouble, polish your CV and develop your dignified exit strategy. If they really don't want you, they may negotiate an earlier departure, but you need the union to establish terms.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    Certainly talk to the union - that's a priority.

    Look at moving on. HTs that treat staff this way don't change. It won't be a pleasant place to work long term, and knowing that you are going to be out by July can make a lot seem bearable.
    tonymars, kega123 and agathamorse like this.
  8. BertieBassett2

    BertieBassett2 Star commenter

    Union - now!
    kega123 likes this.
  9. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    Union, as others suggest.

    It is honestly looking a bit sinister from where I'm standing.

    We read about these sorts of circumstances on almost a daily basis here, and as another commentator has said, it is rarely has a positive outcome, and the agenda is rarely about "support" - ie. 9 times out of 10 the thinly disguised agenda is bullying and desire to get rid of staff who, for one reason or another, are no longer desirable.

    It is an appalling plague in education. As somebody told me the other day, these sorts of proceedings were only ever used for the most disorganised and chaotic staff members who were visibly not in control. and even then, were very rare indeed.

    Now, it's simply a management tactic that has become disturbingly commonplace.

    As for me; My face didn't fit (too union-oriented) - I was threatened with one of these. I went off sick two days later and negotiated an exit the following month. I knew full well what it was all about. Support, my ****.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    Its worth saying that this is not always deliberate. Some HTs just get a bee in their bonnet that a teacher isn't fitting with the school and needs to be brought into line. Sometimes it's because the HT needs to feel they are doing something. Sometimes because they just have spare time to hassle a teacher and think that's 'management'. I could even see an overenthusiastic HT 'mentoring' someone right into capability. But whatever it is - run far, run fast. The one advantage of the current recruitment crisis is that they need us more than we need them.
  11. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    No matter which way it goes, do you want to work in a school like this with a head like this?
    Why are you so bothered about waiting for the end of the academic year? I suggest you start applying now with the aim of landing a new post starting after Easter.
  12. Summerhols6

    Summerhols6 Occasional commenter

    This sounds deliberate to me,'getting a Bee in their Bonnet', so they put someone on IC. The HT sounds like a right creature. Similar to mine but maybe less fake tan!
    agathamorse and kega123 like this.
  13. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    There will be a class action one day, you know this. Every single teacher threatened with informal or informal will be in line for a payout.
    How? They’ll do a survey and the vast majority will be older teachers on UPS. It’s basically age discrimination. If the unions were clued up they’d get lawyers involved.
  14. kega123

    kega123 New commenter

    Ah yes, ‘support!’ Increased lesson observations and planning scrutiny! Reading all these replies has really helped and made it seem less isolating. Such a shame so many dedicated teachers go through this. When will it end?!
    agathamorse likes this.
  15. kega123

    kega123 New commenter

    In my late twenties, been teaching 5 years. So don't necessarily think it's a cost cutting thing. Hadn't heard that Gove analogy (grrrrr), but I guess it's much like Michael Wilshaw advising head teachers that "if anyone says to you that staff morale is at an all-time low, then you're doing something right." I mean, with MPs and Ofsted leaders like that, can we be surprised at the current climate?
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. kega123

    kega123 New commenter

    I'm asking myself this. I mean, the plight of my class does come into it, plus how it would look on my CV. I always saw myself at the school for the next few years while I'm in my current location. Also, I like routine and stability (I sound so FUN!) But yeah, the job hunt has commenced...
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. kega123

    kega123 New commenter

    Just to say thank you so much to everyone who has replied. It appears this is all-too common and has made me feel less alone! Such a sad indictment for the profession that pinned to the top of these forums is the number for the Samaritans. Anyway, much appreciated and I hope anyone going through the same thing finds their inner strength and some humour in it.....don't let the [This comment/section has been removed for breaching our Community Guidelines/Terms and conditions] grind you down!!
    agathamorse likes this.

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