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Is this right?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by JRiley1, Feb 23, 2016.

  1. JRiley1

    JRiley1 Established commenter

    Hi, I've responded to threads on here for a bit now but not written my own thread, until now when I just need some opinions please.

    I don't want to give too much away but since September my primary school have seen many changes (as is happening everywhere)...but now our assessment cycle is changing. We used to have books looked at every half term (which I think is a lot as in previous school only had it every term & not all books just few of each ability) but today head came to look at books, sat in my class at the back, while I was teaching & looked through books & filled out a form (which will be shared with me of what to work on). Also asked some chn about the work, even though it was 3 weeks ago and I'm in KS1. Apparently this is now going to happen every week! In both maths and English.

    So, is this happening in other places? I feel this is too much scrutiny? I know books are important but looking through them this much...The head put me on edge while there, they were in a good 20-25 mins so felt they were checking in on what I was doing as well as looking at books :(
    mh7474 likes this.
  2. rosievoice

    rosievoice Star commenter

    Is this also happening to all of your colleagues? It sounds a bit intense.
  3. whitestag

    whitestag Senior commenter


    Sitting at the back of a class filling a form in, when there were children feet away from them, who would no doubt have loved a little help with their work.

    Is it time to rename the job? School manager? Policy enforcer? Internal inspector?

    Whatever, it's ridiculous, over the top and suggests a serious lack of trust in their staff.

    You have my sympathy.
    Sinnamon, cat2611, peggylu and 7 others like this.
  4. hhhh

    hhhh Star commenter

    Isn't it great that she has no other work to do! No wonder that when parents want to see the head, they are always busy...Do doctors, nurses and lawyers get checked up on like this.
    Maybe she's made a mistake and thinks you are the student teacher...
    As a parent, I'm worried that we're losing great teachers from our primary as the new head likes to 'audit'. Maybe she should work as a banker. Back in the good old days, the head came in to genuinely give support, make suggestions when necessary and actually get to know the children.
    Sinnamon, cat2611, peggylu and 2 others like this.
  5. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    I used to hate the term "Principal", but I am warming to the idea of divesting some of these people from the respect that "teacher" gives them...

    I would vote with my feet
    peggylu and whitestag like this.
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    This, I think, is the first question to ask.

    The remaining questions, well some of them, are:

    • At which staff meeting was this proposed?
    • What were the stated aims?
    • What impact on pupils, staff and SLT were pointed out and considered?
    • What discussion was there?
    • What alternatives to achieving the aim were considered?
    • What agreement was there that this was an appropriate aim?

    Best wishes

    peggylu, Alf58 and (deleted member) like this.
  7. JessicaRabbit1

    JessicaRabbit1 Senior commenter

    Yes, it has happened to me. They would look at alternate books each week, so one week Maths, the next Literacy. It happened to everyone.

    I left :)
    cissy3 likes this.
  8. mapledrop

    mapledrop New commenter

    No it isn't right.

    But it is happening at my school. At any time the head or a member of SLT can pop in sit down and trawl through books on a weekly basis. Often unannounced too. On top of that they look at books as part of observations now. It put me on edge all the time. It never used to be like this....
    peggylu and cissy3 like this.
  9. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Hi JR,

    I hope you are using an alias....

    At my current school they intend to do week long observations of each class to monitor progression.

    Each day they will monitor a group of 5 or 6 children, check their books and see how they have progressed during the lesson. On Friday, for that class, there will be book scrutiny of all children. Then targets will be set for teacher and children.

    Our phase leader told it was going to happen, it was not discussed at all. They have been inspired by a visit to a school an outstanding school. It has been mentioned a lot.... It rocks, without limits.

    Whilst we were being informed of this, I watched the beaming, compliant faces of NQT's who have no idea yet of the implications of this latest edict. Phase leader informed us there would be 2 or 3 observers....

    The Damascene moment came... Phase leader would out of class LOTS every week, as they would be expecting phase leaders to do this monitoring with SLT.
    My colleague had a glow, the knowledge that power was in hand, the locus of control entirely with grasp.

    This process could be heading your way folks, join a union, make sure it's discussed at a staff meeting- whole school. Make sure you have Union rep, and take action as a staff body.

    You could lose your job in less than a week, if one little nipper can't repeat the LO in you lesson. It's all in the eye of the beholder/observer.

    cissy3 likes this.
  10. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    It's how they're telling/training/forcing heads to do their (deep breath) 'school improvement' these days. Those schools in which it's not yet happening - it will.

    Don't ask me how I know. But I do know.
  11. MelanieSLB

    MelanieSLB New commenter

    In one word, no, it's not right.
    Not surprising, but not right. I also believe it puts way too much pressure on both teacher and pupils. A pupil is allowed to not feel great one day, and not really get something. I assume that things are taught several times, especially in primary, to ensure full understanding by everybody.
    I deeply sympathize with you, JRiley
    (and, on a more selfilsh note, am really glad I got out of there before getting that kind of pressure).
    peggylu, JRiley1 and slingshotsally like this.
  12. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Middlemarch, which form of scrutiny- the week long?

  13. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    ALL of it - week long, every week - they're being pushed/trained/coerced into being AT teachers as much as possible, via 'Learning Walks', book scrutinies, constant examination of data. They're told to "triangulate" these three bits of evidence and then react accordingly.
    slingshotsally likes this.
  14. sofia_sen

    sofia_sen Occasional commenter

    Told by who? Ofsted?
  15. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    By whom?

    Teachers are being "kebabbed"- what bit of research has been used to support this level of scrutiny?

    I understand from early years that obsveration and note taking whilst children are engaged in is the norm. It is less intrusive and is wonderful.

    But in order to do this properly, good training is essential. When I've seen this done in other settings, it's for research purposes eg writing PhD or masters

    Has it really been thought through properly...

  16. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    That should say observations

    I can't edit using iPad.
  17. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    1. By whom: National College, Future Leaders, Academy chain leaders, LA advisers...

    2. What bit of research? I think you know the answer to that question!
  18. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Wow, not even research led!

    Time to get the hell outta Dodge!!

    Is anyone going to challenge this maniacal pile of croc?

  19. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I agree with pretty much all of the above.
    It's much easier to go round observing and finding mistakes in others than to do the same thing yourself all day every day - you get paid more for it as well! It's called finding the speck in someone else's eye while ignoring the plank in your own.
    I would like to say that this level of scrutiny would be unsustainable in the medium term - however in the current climate of mistrust, I suspect job tenure could be even less sustainable.

    It is right and proper for management to know what's going on. It's right for them to want colleagues to teach to the highest standards - but that needs more support than observation.

    janemk likes this.
  20. janemk

    janemk New commenter

    Oh my.
    1st thought: I am sooooo glad I got out when I did.
    2nd thought: Does no one realise how counterproductive this will be? Overly-scrutinising teachers does not a happy, effective staff make. It adds pressure and stress and a constant feeling of being watched and judged and NO ONE performs well under those circumstances. It will CAUSE teachers to underperform. Grrr.
    3rd thought: On a selfish note, looks like there will be more work for me as a therapist...
    peggylu, mh7474, cissy3 and 1 other person like this.

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