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Notice of an observation

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by bedingfield, Feb 9, 2012.

  1. bedingfield

    bedingfield New commenter

    Don't want to go into too much detail but I am in a school where the possibility of going into special measures is very high. The HT seems to be trying to avoid this by piling pressure on the teachers; formally observing whole lessons without notice and then grading them to OFSTED standards.
    While I am not worried about the observations as such (always get graded as good), I do find it hard to teach without wondering whether the head is going to turn up. It is demoralising for me, but even more so for those of my colleagues who are struggling to reach satisfactory grading. The atmosphere in the school is awful and I can't wait for half-term.
    My question is whether it is allowed for these sort of observations to take place. I know that the HT can walk into a class at any time and observe (and they have often done that in the past), but I have a constant feeling of every thing being scrutinised and it is taking the enjoyment out of my lessons.
  2. bedingfield

    bedingfield New commenter

    The NUT indicates that there should be a maximum of 3 hours observation for Performance Management and that other observations should not be excessive. It also states that prior warning of drop ins and learning walks should be given and a focus of the observation indicated. What the NUT does not say on their website is what they consider to be excessive observations. It seems to be that the HT is regarding these observations as drop ins, but is not giving any prior notice and they feel much more formal than this when they are being conducted.
    The recent observations within the school have been without prior warning (so no focus given) and only verbal feedback. When I asked a member of SMT about written feedback I was simply told that the HT does not feel written feedback to be necessary.
    The whole situation leaves me feeling uncomfortable and suspicious of the motives that the HT has.
  3. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    Your head has led you to where you are and is trying to cover her own back. The NASUWT issued this advice today.

    Please find
    below an additional statement which is being added today to the bank
    of statements on the industrial action website regarding classroom
    observation. This would be used in circumstances where there is an
    attempt to carry out classroom observation in addition to that recorded in the
    annual performance management planning statement.


    accordance with the Education (School Teacher Performance Management)(England)Regulations
    2006, my annual planning statement recorded my agreed classroom
    observation for this cycle. This observation was not recorded in the
    planning statement and I would, therefore, be grateful if you would withdraw
    from my classroom to allow me to continue teaching. If you do not, I will have
    no alternative but to raise this breach of regulations with my Union.'

  4. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    But that's why their 'advice' is dangerous to individual teachers. Whilst no teacher should be subjected to observations totalling more than 3 hours for the purposes of PM, the teacher can be observed for other purposes.
    It's all very well telling teachers to make such statements to their heads - but to refuse an observation for monitoring, etc. purposes is a disciplinary issue.
  5. bedingfield

    bedingfield New commenter

    Thanks for people's comments on this.
    I don't think that I would use the statement given by the NASUWT as it seems that it would probably aggravate any situation. The biggest problem is that some teachers are being told that the observations are part of their PM even though they are just drop ins with no advance notice, while others are being told that they are learning walks.
    In an informal chat before my verbal feedback, the observation was referred to as being part of performance management, but then no links to targets were referred to and no mention of PM again. Also I can't see how it could be linked to my PM when my line manager (who is also my HOD) was the person to conduct my PM in October and was not informed that I would be observed or has had any feedback given to him over this obs. Having spoken to them, they seem to be as confused by what is happening as much as anybody else.
    I wonder if it is the SMT covering their backs and trying to show that they have a good understanding of quality of teaching in the school. However, it is just making people nervous and the majority of the teaching staff have now been in tears at some point during this, mainly because of the pressure. It is especially having an effect on the NQTs, who are also being observed by HT without notice and graded to OFSTED standards.
    How can this lead to improvements in the quality of teaching?
    I am tempted to start looking for other jobs, but I am happy with what I am teaching and within my department have a great relationship with my colleagues. I am not sure if leaving might just be out of the frying pan and into the fire.
    I would just like a bit of pressure taking off.
  6. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Maybe but the situation set by the NASUWT has been as a result of a democratic ballot by the union. Therefore the NASUWT are taking part in legal industrial action. You cannot be disciplined for taking part in legal industrial action (*in the same way that you wouldn't if you went on strike)
  7. YesMrBronson

    YesMrBronson New commenter

    Freudian slip?
    I think you need to read some documents with titles like "Redundancy regulations" and "Unfair dismissal".


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