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Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by kerrsa, Apr 28, 2011.

  1. kerrsa

    kerrsa New commenter

    I have had a series of satisfactory unannounced lesson observations (along with 1 inadequate 2 years ago) and now am being told if I don't improve to good (as OFSTED requires) I will be put on competency. Have also been told after an observation that it was the best lesson that they had seen but was still satisfactory when a few years ago I have had good lesson observations. Can this be done. I thought you had to be inadequate to go on competency. I have lost all self confidence to teach and am starting to believe I can't.
  2. If you haven't already get in contact with your union NOW. Having approached mine after rumblings of a similar threat I was told that it was getting unsatisfactories only that could spark competancy issues.
  3. Firstly what you are describing is 'capability' not competency - competency is the old work and clearly whoever has told you such doesn't know!

    I deal with such issues at our school- and have never put a satisfactory teacher onto this system. Do you have a notice to improve or special measures at your school? as I wonder why you say OFSTED *requires*?

    Contact your area union rep- don't bother with the school based ones- you need a fairly big cheese- and do it NOW.

    If they go down the route you will be set targets to achieve within a fixed period- usually 3-6 months depending on your school. Within that time you will be expected to achieve x, y or z. Most of the capability I have done are relating to time keeping! After 3-6 months you will have a review and at that point you will be either removed from the monitoring or you will be given a formal warning and moved to the next stage. Each local authority differs slightly.

    How may unannounced lesson obs have you had? There is a maximum.

    What is it that deemed satisfactory rather than good? The OFSTED criteria for observations has changed a lot and yes a lesson a few years ago that would have been good would now only be satisfactory.
  4. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    I'm aware of that limit but that is for official perfomance management observations.CG was referring to a limit on unoffical come-in-and-sit-down-unannounced type observations. Sometimes these are called 'learning walks'.
    No limit on these as far as I know but I'm willing to be corrected.
  5. kerrsa

    kerrsa New commenter

    An update. After some more satisfactory lessons, I have now been told I am being put on informal capability. Have the union involved.
  6. This may be a naive question, but can you not get hold of the criteria by which they are marking you against and make sure your lessons are 'good'?
  7. OP, the question is (also) whether it is a true capability issue, or the school wants you out for some other reason (and they hope you'll resign before capability runs its course, as many people choose this route). Only you can know this - but consider it carefully and raise the issue with your union, too (they might know things about your ht that you don't, e.g. that s/he has already tried this with someone else, too). In any case good luck and keep us posted if you can.
  8. kerrsa

    kerrsa New commenter

    Oh I plan to. And I know it has already happened with someone else! Two other people actually, only difference they were inadequate, I am satisfactory.
  9. aw27

    aw27 New commenter

    Fight them!! These b'stards get away with far too much. For what its worth my union rep told me that they couldnt claim you were incompetent if you had satisfactory lessons, only if they were inadequate. Not sure how true this is though.
    Good luck with it, and let us know how you get on. X
  10. kerrsa

    kerrsa New commenter

    Thanks will let you know how I get on.
    My union rep says he plans on challenging the decision to put me on capability while being satisfactory. I have had one inadequate lesson in 7 years at the school and that was 3 years ago.
    Point 1.1 of the capability procedure states that capability is performance that falls below the standards that have been set or could reasonably be expected of a member of staff. It will probably be argued that our friends OFSTED had said the majority of the teaching must be good.
  11. aw27

    aw27 New commenter

    Yes, thats usually what happens. Hang in there x
  12. Zadok1

    Zadok1 New commenter

    Although I think it's terribly wrong and schools shouldn't get away with it... I would start looking elsewhere for another job. It's a terrible slippery slope and I'm afraid that unless your union rep is stunningly different they will make all the right noises to begin with but then they'll just suggest you go for a compromise agreement in the end... job done, swept under the carpet and move on. I'd like to be the one banging the drum shouting 'fight the bas***ds' but then I'd be making a sacrificial lamb out of you. I've read many stories on here.. and I've experienced it more than once myself. At this point in time they always win. Get out while they will still give you a decent reference.
    In the mean time write everything down. If they make a verbal request send them an email to clarify what they have asked of you so that you have a timed and dated record. It also helps to keep the lines they set clear and unmovable if you have an email you can refer back to. In terms of lesson observations I would talk to someone with clout in the union who really does know their stuff because as far as I was aware there is no legislation for 'unannounced' lesson observations because they cannot take place!!! Yes someone can pop their head around the door and see how you're getting along but no they can't then use that in capability proceedings unless you agree to it. They need to arrange observations in advance with you, give clear objectives and focus for each observations and very clear feedback, written within 5 working days and the opportunity for you to comment too. Next... ask for training! Lots of it! (Again via email). Look up useful courses and ask to be sent on them. It may cost them as arm and a leg but it will make them look terrible if this does end up in a hearing of any kind. Also ask to be taken off timetable to observe other teachers, particularly your head of department. I'm not suggesting you become an annoying pain in their back side you understand but if that happens in the process of appearing to throw yourself whole heatedly into the capability process they might just quietly back off and decide your lessons were pretty good to start with! If not... well you can demonstrate that you tried to participate, believing the capability process to be a supportive rather than negative procedure!
  13. FollyFairy

    FollyFairy Occasional commenter

    Hope you have union involved... and start looking for new job for as you have probably realised for reading the rest of these posts they, for whatever reason, want you out... :(
    Keep evidence of all meetings etc... when you have a meeting, do not go into without representation and ask for meeting to be minuted etc.. on your copy of minutes, write down your version and give it back to them (keeping a copy). Do lots of correspondence by email so you have paper trail (and print out every email - as they may be checking your email and deleting what suits them!). Trust no-one but keep doing your best!
  14. PeakyBlinder

    PeakyBlinder New commenter

    I have always been judged as a good teacher in observations by OFSTED, SLT & other members of staff. This also occurred in my most recent OFSTED inspection. However, as the school was judged as 'requires improvement' overall we have been subject to HMI inspections. My lesson was judged to be inadequate. The deputy head was put in my classroom once a week as 'support'. Informal competency was NOT mentioned. When the second HMI inspection did not go the way the school hoped, the head came to me & said that they would be starting formal capability procedures against me. I was warned that capability is very formal & if I fail, they would advise the governors to dismiss me. This came as a complete bolt out of the blue & I suffered anxiety attacks. I was advised to inform my union. They have given me excellent support & informed me that the school had not followed correct procedure. They have had a series of meetings with the head who denies ever mentioning competency. I have been signed off work with a stress related illness & am receiving counselling (which I would advise anybody in a similar situation to do also). I have a meeting very soon with the head & my union to discuss my return to work. I was wondering if anybody has been in a similar situation & do you have any advice on how to approach this?
  15. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    Instead of "upping" an old thread, I suggest you start a fresh one, Syedsgirl.
  16. PeakyBlinder

    PeakyBlinder New commenter

    Thank you for the tip, I have done this now.
  17. andrew07

    andrew07 Occasional commenter

    Get in touch with you union NOW. A similar incident happened where I used to work at. I got my union involved and WON. However, competency was lumped into other "things" I supposedly did or didn't do.
  18. Hatoff

    Hatoff New commenter

    Aw27- if OFSTED have told the school the teachers need to be 'good' then there is little the Union can do. The school Headteacher can effectively do what they like; including walking into lessons whenever they feel like. The OP is satisfactory in s/her teaching and by the sounds of it, has struggled even to be that. These 'basta*ds' you're talking about, should be doing something about underperforming teachers. Lots of teachers work damn hard, and others don't. This imbalance is now being addressed and Headteachers are now being forced to do something about it. Some people can't teach.
  19. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    You did notice that Aw27's comments were made nearly three years ago, didn't you?
  20. johnberyl

    johnberyl Occasional commenter

    Action Short of Strike Action - may not be what you're looking for - but the instruction from NASUWT and NUT is not to cooperate with any observation (including learning walks, drop-ins, pupil interviews etc) with anything over an above what has been arranged at the point of Performance Review for the coming year and not more than 3 for performance review purposes.

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