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How many 'drop in' observations should we have?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by hbg, Jun 15, 2017.

  1. hbg

    hbg New commenter

    Hi, SLT are conducting weekly 'drop in' sessions at our school. They take place one day a week and are happening every week now until the end of term (we'll have 6 in total). It is causing a lot of stress for staff and morale is dropping. My first was last week. It lasted 30 mins and I was given verbal feedback at dinner time. Is this what is happening in other schools? At my previous school, we had a drop in observation once every half term. Just seems a bit excessive.

    SEBREGIS Lead commenter

    As I understand it, even if it's just a drop in, then it still has to fit within that three hours of observation we are allocated per year. So if you've had two full lesson observations, they only have 60 minutes to play with. If each drop in is 30 minutes they will run out of time pretty fast. But check that with your union rep. If this is having an effect on people's workload, the rep should be looking into it.
    grumpydogwoman and hbg like this.
  3. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Thing is, schools don't need to take any notice of this 3 hour thing...
  4. Tinycat1234

    Tinycat1234 Established commenter

    That is outrageous and can only lead to huge stress amoungst staff. I would call your union and check... However I'm pretty sure they can.
    I would try and get out to be honest.
    hbg likes this.
  5. Trendy Art

    Trendy Art Star commenter

    There are some details missing here. You make it sound like something that has only just started.

    So, my question would be how was this presented to staff and what's the rationale behind doing it?

    To do it towards the end of the examination season (and with colleagues leaving?) seems a strange choice to me...

    We should look after our teachers' well-being and morale...
    hbg likes this.
  6. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Frequency and duration of informal lesson observations
    DfE model policy and joint NUT, ATL and NAHT model policy
    Page 7 of the DfE's model policy, and page 4 of the joint NUT, ATL and NAHT model policy, both linked to above, say:

    Headteachers or other leaders with responsibility for teaching standards may ‘drop in’ in order to evaluate the standards of teaching and to check that high standards of professional performance are established and maintained.The length and frequency of ‘drop in’ or other observations, and the notice to be given, will vary depending on specific circumstances but will be in accordance with the school’s classroom observation and drop-in policy.


    What do you mean - you haven't read the policy?!

    Bear in mind that this is a website for 'school leaders'. If you're in a union you may find they think differently.
    bevdex and hbg like this.
  7. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

  8. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Union guidelines are brilliant until it comes to actually getting the members to do something about it. Essentially are the teachers hacked-off enough to call a meeting and then back the Rep to get it sorted with the Head? Most likely not, so stress will increase and increase until .......errr?
    xtra, Landofla and hbg like this.
  9. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Given some people report that a lesson observation has only lasted 20 mins, a drop in of 30 mins seems a bit weird.
    bevdex and hbg like this.
  10. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Which is why the profession is in crisis
  11. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I agree that it is OTT, but there is no limit on drop ins - the 3 hours mentioned is not part of STPCD. Yes, unions tell us differently, but I still wonder what people should do when an observer walks in - stop teaching? And in these days of PRP, not playing ball is likely to result in no pay increase.

    It does make me wonder how SMT have time for this sort of thing. Obviously too many chiefs...
    Landofla, hbg and Anonymity like this.
  12. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    The easy answer to your question is "Well it's what the members decide at the meeting"
    • Stop teaching is one, very drastic, option and some schools have gone to those levels of confrontation but it must be a very toxic work environment. This could be used as a threat if all else fails.
    • Wilfully, and pointlessly, doing a mini-plenary until the observer goes away might make them think twice as well.
    • Insisting on detailed feedback could make the whole exercise even more pointless.
    • It's relatively easy for SLT to think, "I'm doing what the HT and OFSTED require of me so all is well with the world" and the union rep pointing out a lot of staff are displeased with this initiative is quite a shock and they may well modify their actions accordingly.
    • Similarly, the words "As the rep, a lot of people have said they're likely to quit if this goes on" could have some effect.
    Really it depends how much of a conscience the HT (and so SLT) has.
    hbg likes this.
  13. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I do think that this is not the sort of thing an individual teacher can take on. If reps from all the unions in the school were to do something as suggested above, that might make a difference.But it needs teachers prepared to act collectively.
    wanet, hbg and (deleted member) like this.
  14. hbg

    hbg New commenter

    Thank you for your reply. It is a new thing that we were literally told the week before in a staff meeting (we are due an Ofsted next Autumn so that probably has a lot to do with it). I have previously had an 'official' observation in the Autumn term which went well, that was for nearly an hour. These drop ins have just been sprung upon us. I don't really mind being observed but its the frequency of them that are getting everyone down.
  15. pair_of_argyles

    pair_of_argyles Occasional commenter

    So long as you realise that these have got b**g*r all to do with teaching quality etc.
    They are just to check that your are not just "coasting" towards the hols. Showing films; playing games ; organising put of classroom activities treasure hunts etc
    i.e. all of things that once upon a time used to make summer term so pleasurable.

    My approach , wind them up by insisting on written feedback and every time t you see them in the corridor ask some irritating question about said feedback.
    crazypineapple, bevdex and hbg like this.
  16. hbg

    hbg New commenter

    Brilliant! I might just do that!
  17. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Of course not which is a major reason why unions came into existence in the first place.
    hbg and grumpydogwoman like this.
  18. smurphy6

    smurphy6 Lead commenter

    Severe thing has been said so not much to add. Your SLT seem to be in panic mode re OFSTED. Ask a friendly SLT if you can drop in and observe them for half an hour every week for the next six weeks. Don't think they would like it.
  19. bevdex

    bevdex Star commenter

    Exactly the same as pairofargylls said. With bells on - I'm not quite sure how to put into practice this element of improvement. I wonder if I could observe one of your lessons to pick up a few pointers.
    hbg and grumpydogwoman like this.
  20. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    You work for idiots

    Get out if you can.
    lardylegs and hbg like this.

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