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Facing potential disciplinary

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by JAFF23, Mar 3, 2016.

  1. JAFF23

    JAFF23 Occasional commenter

    Seen it on here many times but never thought it would happen to me: faced an informal meeting today which came like a bolt out of the blue: how do you get from being outstanding to cause to concern: maybe because you got dumped into a year group I am not comfortable with.. children who have never been to school before at 7 years old?? First observation on my strong subject next week: so stressed I don't know if I can do it followed by a weak subject of my choice. Can't wait to leave the profession but as a single parent but also very aware of being experienced and UPS3 my career now seems to be in the gutter. Big mortgage to pay off. Where to go from here? **** career choice overall!!
  2. libby77

    libby77 Occasional commenter

    Hello topgirl1, so sorry to hear of your predicament. Sadly it is an ever increasing story :-( Is it disciplinary or capability you are facing? Is it informal capability (called TED)? Or just an informal support plan? If it is TED or formal capability you should have had a letter and you need to get unions involved now! (Sorry to sound a little scary). TBH it's worth having a chat with a union rep anyway to gain an understanding of it all.

    Make sure you record every single conversation/discussion. If you have to go to meetings ask if someone can go with you (just for support if you feel uncomfortable asking).

    Most importantly know that you are absolutely, completely and utterly one of very, very many!

    It's a great time of year for looking for new posts. I had a chat with a head today who said she has never seen so many jobs out there at this time of year. Quite unprecedented! Sadly many are choosing to leave what was once a very rewarding and respected career :-( It will work out. Just doesn't feel like that right now.
  3. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    So you're observations in the recent past have been fine?

    And now all of sudden, they're not and you think something is afoot?

    There's has been a fair bit of debate on observations and their lack of validity - according to research -here lately. If they are being used as the basis for "capability" or similar, then rather than point you to my posts on this topic showing people where the research is and what is says (apparently some people aren't really keen on this for some reason) I will instead post you the response (written by Sally Robertson, a barrister from Cloisters Chambers) to my question on the subject of using observations as a means to remove teachers. There is a slim chance it may be of some use. Whatever, be aware that just because you observations may suddenly be different, it doesn't mean anything much is different about you..

    First, you refer to costs. The Supreme Court has said that a discriminatory rule or practice cannot be justified by the aim of simply saving costs.

    Second, thanks for the hyperlink. As lesson observations are key to both the start and development of any capability process, as well as to Ofsted reports, the implications really should be taken on board. A self-interested reason for the employer is that this could be an important part of the statutory defence to claims under the Equality Act 2010. It is a defence to show that one took ‘all reasonable steps’ to prevent an employee or agent from discriminating against a worker. As the research evidence undermines both the reliability and the validity of lesson observations, it would be foolhardy to exclude discrimination or victimization as a reason, whether conscious or unconscious, for scoring down an individual teacher. What is required is an approach that recognizes and attempts to compensate for the unreliability of intuition.

    This goes wider than defending discrimination claims (and to that I would include defending whistleblowing claims). If the school has not engaged effectively, or at all, with the unreliability and invalidity of lesson observations in applying its capability procedures, can dismissal for that reason really be said to be within the range of reasonable responses of an employer.
    1 person likes this.
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    This is another very sad story.

    As another poster @libby77 has pointed out, you need to be quite clear of the issue here. Your title says:

    Facing potential disciplinary

    But then you say:

    Cause for concern after outstanding suggests not disciplinary (they say you did something against the rules) but capability (they say that your work isn't of the required standard). I reckon that you are so stressed about this - and no wonder! - that you are getting muddled here. So I am going to make a couple of clear suggestions, and hope that this will be both helpful and help you feel better.

    First, send an e-mail (better than talking if you feel stressed about speaking, and it is a clear record of your request) to whoever was i/c of the meeting. Say something like this, (if it is truthful - you should only ever accept my suggestions if they are honest, truthful, and right for you):

    Thank you for the meeting yesterday following a recent observation of my teaching. I'm afraid that I was both stressed and distressed, so was just not able to take anything in. Could you therefore please let me have in writing what the outcomes of this meeting are, so that I know what I am supposed to do, by when, and what support will be available from whom and when, to enable me to achieve this. I would like to have this before the weekend please. Thank you.

    Then secondly, contact the regional office of your union, telling them what has happened.

    Thirdly, get a (if possible new) exercise book, number the pages all the way through, and use it to record in writing everything that happens. Make sure that you write the date of each event, and put a line at the end of each entry. This dating and with the numbering of the pages shows that you haven't torn out pages and re-written things. Start with the observation and what you remember of it, then after drawing a line, how you were told about the meeting, then the meeting itself, then stick in a printout of the e-mail I suggest above, and so on.

    A complete record of everything.

    I hope that this can be settled without it all becoming too upsetting for you.

    If you haven't got a book like this, it might be useful - get on line with Amazon and get it to come tomorrow. Or even this evening, depending where you live.



    Pimp your Lesson!: Prepare, Innovate, Motivate and Perfect (New edition) Paperback – 27 Mar 2014
    by Isabella Wallace Leah Kirkman 71 customer reviews

    Want it Today, 6pm-10pm? Order it within 4 hrs 32 mins and choose Evening Delivery at checkout. Details

    Good luck!

    I can't see why anyone should be unkeen on any link (as long as it is relevant, appropriate and commensurate, of course) whether posted by you or any other poster.

    Best wishes
    poltergeist and (deleted member) like this.
  5. JAFF23

    JAFF23 Occasional commenter

    Dear Theo:
    Thanks for the sound advice. I am waiting for the union to get back to me... In the meantime, I really don't want to go in tomorrow..as well as my first observation I also have my class assembly. That meeting really has knocked the stuffing out of me and even though I am being observed on a strong subject, i am a quivering wreck at the prospect of it!! I just wanted to ask: if I handed in my resignation, would this take the pressure off me? Really don't know if I can handle all this stress!! Thinking of sticking it out til the summer so I get paid holiday pay. Grateful for your advice!!
  6. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    It will help you regain confidence if you realise what the best research and evidence on lesson observation says. Whatever your observers says, remember that it is just an opinion - and likely a poor and inaccurate one at that.

    from: http://www.cem.org/blog/414/

    a number of research studies have looked at the reliability of classroom observation ratings. For example, the recent Measures of Effective Teaching Project, funded by the Gates Foundation in the US, used five different observation protocols, all supported by a scientific development and validation process, with substantial training for observers, and a test they are required to pass. These are probably the gold standard in observation (see here and here for more details). The reported reliabilities of observation instruments used in the MET study range from 0.24 to 0.68.

    One way to understand these values is to estimate the percentage of judgements that would agree if two raters watch the same lesson. Using Ofsted’s categories, if a lesson is judged ‘Outstanding’ by one observer, the probability that a second observer would give a different judgement is between 51% and 78%.

    For observations conducted by Ofsted inspectors or professional colleagues, ‘training’ in observation is generally not of the quality and scale used in these studies, and no evidence of reliability is available. Hence, we are probably justified in assuming that the true value will be close to the worst case. In other words, if your lesson is judged ‘Outstanding’, do whatever you can to avoid getting a second opinion: three times out of four you would be downgraded. If your lesson is judged ‘Inadequate’ there is a 90% chance that a second observer would give a different rating.

    The second key issue is validity: if you get a high rating, does it really mean you are an effective teacher? Unfortunately, the evidence here is even more worrying.

    Strong et al. (2011) used value-added scores to identify ‘effective’ and ‘ineffective’ teachers, showed videos of them teaching to observers and asked them to say which teachers were in which group. In both the experiments where the observers were not trained in observation, the proportion correctly identified by experienced teachers and head teachers was below the 50% that would be expected by pure chance. At this level of accuracy, fewer than 1% of those judged to be ‘Inadequate’ are genuinely inadequate; of those rated ‘Outstanding’, only 4% actually produce outstanding learning gains; overall, 63% of judgements will be wrong.

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