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Glasgow City Council and HMIE

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by deleted963, Feb 9, 2008.

  1. I work in a Glasgow school and the SMT, presumably driven by GCC, are obsessed with how good they look to HMIE.

    There is a shedload of lesson monitoring being performed by the SMT every single week and this is having a draining, demoralising effect on staff. The feedback to depts is overwhelmingly negative, as is the feedback to individual teachers (which is done via a second party, a third party, or not at all!).

    Two questions for you all.

    Firstly, are my colleagues in Glasgow schools subjected to the same rigmarole?

    Secondly, does this go on in other councils?
     
  2. I work in a Glasgow school and the SMT, presumably driven by GCC, are obsessed with how good they look to HMIE.

    There is a shedload of lesson monitoring being performed by the SMT every single week and this is having a draining, demoralising effect on staff. The feedback to depts is overwhelmingly negative, as is the feedback to individual teachers (which is done via a second party, a third party, or not at all!).

    Two questions for you all.

    Firstly, are my colleagues in Glasgow schools subjected to the same rigmarole?

    Secondly, does this go on in other councils?
     
  3. It happens in every school I know of.

    We have a minimum of 3 lessons monitored per year by SMT. More may be arranged depending on how good the initial ones are. We also do peer monitoring where we sit in another class and observe a lesson. The person you observe has an opportunity to observe you during a lesson too.

    I don't have a problem with being monitored, but that is probably because I know in advance that it is happening and it is (usually) a chance for some positive feedback. Our HT tries to give us verbal feedback the same day and written feedback within 48 hours.

    I don't understand why you are having so many observations. Do you have a schedule agreed in advance? We are given a list at the start of the year saying what areas we will be monitored on and a month is given - e.g. I know I will have a reading lesson monitored in March. My line manager will arrange an actual time and date nearer the time.
     
  4. In our primary school, we are more or less the same as Carol. Recently we've been given more structured peer observation formats, but are not forced to use them if we don't want. The peer observations are just one per term ie I observe my partner this term, she observes me next term. We agree the area between us.
    SMT observations focus on an area of their choosing. Feedback is supposed to be asap, but occasionally crises with children intervene and we all work round this.

    For me it's less useful for the focus to be theirs not mine. I think that non-teaching SMT need more training in observation and feedback techniques. I was told once that the observer hadn't seen one aspect she was looking for, whereas I could point to several examples of it!

    I don't look on it as monitoring, which has the implication of judgement, so much as professional development which is more positive and I greatly value the observations of my teaching peers.

    I'd be very happy to see occasionally someone from further up the ladder - I've not seen a QIO or a Director or Education in my classroom ever. I would enjoy the professional discussion that would follow from that!

     
  5. Does seem to be massive push in GCC with HMIE though just now. Maybe cos it's some people's area of expertise??? But schools being announced on weekly basis - seem to be ploughing through loads - everyone @ SMT level pretty stressed about it I'm thinking.
     
  6. My school is like Carol's.

    Btw, I've never seen so much observing and inspecting in education before. It's gob-smacking. Doesn't anyone question whose ends are being served---and whose money is being wasted!---by all this micro-examination of teachers?

    I also have to wonder: In what other profession besides teaching are fully-trained and certified professionals, some with 25 years experience and more, observed and critiqued *while they are on the job* (often by people with less experience)?

    Can anyone name even one profession in which this happens?
     

  7. >>>Can anyone name even one profession in which this happens?

    Yes too many to mention.Plenty of other professionals are subject to close scrutiny throughout their careers, experience counts for little in that respect. The consequences can be far more serious than a bad crit.

    When was the last time you heard of a duff teacher getting struck off?

     
  8. Well I don't know svartalfar...most professions I can think of don't get inspected or observed at all. Sometimes their governing bodies receive complaints about individuals and if these are found to be justified, failing practitioners can be struck off. It's the same for teachers. But I don't think anyone comes to observe my GP, lawyer, dentist, vet, architect, accountant, bank manager or tax inspector.

    Of course, it should not be the teacher that is being judged during an inspection or observation, but how far what is happening in the lesson/classroom is meeting the needs of the learners within it....I said should not!


     
  9. Christopher  Curtis

    Christopher Curtis New commenter

    We do not have lesson monitoring in Victoria. There is no concept of the so-called SMT having observations of teachers' lessons. There are no inspectors and haven't been for close to 30 years. There is no OFSTED or whatever the equivalent in Scotland is. No one in an official capacity ever observed one of my lessons in 33 years of teaching. And guess what? Australia is in the top ten countries in the world in maths, reading and science.

    My doctor, my dentist, my optometrist, my accountant, my veterinarian, my pharmacist and my lawyer are not subject to observations either.
     
  10. Archimedes:
    Legal practices are routinely inspected by the Law Society of Scotland, accountants are audited. These inspections can have serious consequences at the level of individual practitioners. Doctors bury their mistakes, what are the consequences of year on year poor teaching for an individual? Probably a move into learning support.

    In reply to the op, excessive classroom observation is demoralising and it is a knee jerk reaction by GCC to a poor outcome in their own HMIE report where they were criticised for poor monitoring procedures. Their response has been a heavy handed top-down box ticking exercise.

    When classrooom observation is carried out in the spirit of professional development that it is presented as, then it can be a positive experience, but from what is being said this is not always the case. What is/was wrong with having open door policies within school where teachers operate within a culture of sharing and reflecting on practice? In one school I worked in which operated like this, the HT would regulalry pop in and out of the classrooms, when classroom observations came in he appeared with a clipboard!
     
  11. Ragpicker, do you mean that lawyers have a special crew of no-longer-practising lawyers who sit in on their consultations with clients and decide how they rate on a 6 point scale? I had no idea.

     


  12. Lawyers are subject to inspection by law society regulators without warning. They just turn up and have access to everything to ensure all transactions, cases etc are being properly handled. I personally know of lawyers who have been fined or even struck off following investigation. I'm sure sitting in on a client consultation would be a preferable option.

    I'm not defending ineffective and demoralising classoom observations, I've already stated that, but to assume that no other profession is held accountable is naive. Outside of teaching incompetency often results in dismissal, this is very seldom the case in teaching. We all know incompetent teachers, As svart asked, how many of us know any who have been dismissed?

    I agree ( not often) with BJ on this, classroom observations can and do demoralise staff when poorly implemented, but we can't have it both ways.
     
  13. In October I wrote pupils reports for my S5/6 higher class. Now, the overwhelming majority of them are lazy wee so-and-sos (but mostly nice) and there are a significant number that shouldn't be doing higher, eg a 4 at standard grade, an S6 pupil who was withdrawn in S5 last year.

    Most pupils are struggling with the homework I give them, which is disappointing because around 60% of that is actually at standard grade. I gave most of the pupils a "kick up the backside" report in the hope that parental pressure would help improve their grades. The S5/6 SMT member altered around a third of the reports to make it appear that the pupils were doing "fine"' I subsequently found out that he also has a remit to improve the performance of those S5 pupils doing five highers (the school has an awful record with those pupils).

    I had a monitored lesson a couple of weeks ago by this SMT person and he rubbished my entire lesson. I reviewed my goals for the lesson and I met them, so I am perfectly happy with the lesson itself. It turns out that I have to be monitored in another lesson by my PT as "follow up".

    Now, lessons learned are these. 1) I will now produce totally neutral pupil reports, with the consequences being that neither the pupils nor the parents will have a clue as to their progress. 2) This will allow the SMT to tick the "effective monitoring" box - school was criticised for not following up their monitoring last time round. 3) Don't mess with the SMT because they have the authority to screw you around.

    What has been the result of previous monitoring of my teaching over the years? OK. Is there a coincidence between the reports and this monitoring? You tell me. Has this demotivated me? Yes. Am I a poor teacher? No. Am I p!ssed off? Mightily.
     
  14. "...to assume that no other profession is held accountable is naive. Outside of teaching incompetency often results in dismissal..."

    To clarify further: I am quite aware that other professionals are held accountable for their work, in various ways.

    That was not my point.

    My point was that once they are fully-trained and certified, precious few other professionals, or even tradesmen, are formally observed and critiqued while they are working. I still can't think of one instance in which a professional's accountability is monitored by direct observation of the person actually engaged in their work.

    For the vast majority of professions, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, that is, in the work produced, and in all the associated paper trails, as required by law (viz bigjim's instance of the legal profession).

    But it seems that in teaching, not even repeated inspections, national assessments, and league tables are enough. The teacher has to be micro-examined at work in the classroom. At least three times a year.

    Since I started teaching here, I have been observed four times by my SMT, with a fifth coming up this week. Each time I get a glowing report. So what. The. ****?

    It's starting to feel very much like harrassment or even bullying to me, and it's fully sanctioned and legalised by the educational powers that be.
     
  15. sorry, that was ragpicker's instance. Apologies for taking your name in vain, bigjimmy!

    ;)
     
  16. "...do you mean that lawyers have a special crew of no-longer-practising lawyers who sit in on their consultations with clients and decide how they rate on a 6 point scale?"

    Good one, Archimedes.



     
  17. "Now, lessons learned are these. 1) I will now produce totally neutral pupil reports, with the consequences being that neither the pupils nor the parents will have a clue as to their progress. 2) This will allow the SMT to tick the "effective monitoring" box - school was criticised for not following up their monitoring last time round. 3) Don't mess with the SMT because they have the authority to screw you around."

    As I said, bigjimmy, it's nothing but bullying, all decked off in fancy educational jargon.
     
  18. Does anyone know how inspectors get round this one?

    Suppose I say to the inspector "You realise of course that if you publish critical judgments of my professional competence which cannot be clearly substantiated and are based only on your (allegedly informed) opinion, I will sue you personally for damages?"
     
  19. That's easy, grunwald. They will just patiently point out that they are not there to judge you as an individual, and nor do they publish individual critiques of teachers. (That's done to your face, off the record). They are there to assess the quality of learning and teaching going on in your classroom as one of many in the school. Blah blah blah.

    The point is, in the public reports, teachers are judged only collectively, and only by implication, never directly. Canny, no?
     
  20. OK, physical violence it is, then...
     

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