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Performance related pay nightmare

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by kettle1, Jun 23, 2019.

  1. kettle1

    kettle1 New commenter

    Hello everyone, I’m a reception teacher in a tough area. This year has been horrendous. I’ve had a class of 31 with lots of special needs, children starting in 30-50d and lots of summer born unable to hold a pencil when they started. My TA left, unable to cope and since then I’ve had her role covered by various other members of staff..inconsistency. I’ve been attacked physically on a daily basis and had chairs and tables thrown at me.
    Needless to say the data isn’t great in terms of GLD. However the kids have all made progress despite my fire fighting.
    Last week the head told me that the governors wouldn’t be pleased and it would affect my performance related pay grade increase.
    My morale is on the floor. My previous two years in reception were lovely with several children exceeding.
    Anybody had a similar horrific year?
    Teacher_abc123 likes this.
  2. newposter

    newposter Occasional commenter

    It is a joke, and I do not know how the ‘profession’ ever allowed pay and conditions to be determined this way. Warn your union you may need advice, and start thinking about and drafting a letter of appeal in preparation for the autumn. Write about all the ‘intervention’ in place, the good things you’ve done and other mitigating factors. Don’t take it lying down. It’s not personal, it’s not the Head’s money you’re after.
  3. starlightexpress

    starlightexpress Occasional commenter

    Have you had your PM review yet?

    If not, collate full evidence around the progress the children have made.
    List factually the contextual factors. If target is for GLD it might be ‘not met’ however you can go in with a narrative. You might be able to give a strong progress picture.

    I think the governor mention is unnecessary as it’s the HT who’ll make recommendation on your pay progression. As it’s anonymous recommendations to governors, they should not be aware. This comment feels like transference as the governors might make such comment for the HT’s PM. Low GLD attainment would likely affect his/ her pay progression. I’d imagine the HT will be writing a narrative for their own PM review.

    31 children in Reception exceeds the 30 for you. What other adult has been in place to meet the ratios?
  4. livingstone83

    livingstone83 Occasional commenter

    I failed PM twice - denied pay progression each time.

    The first time wasn't great. The groups were changed in Y11. The HoF decided to put a sink group together, some of the most poorly behaved, disaffected and waaaaaayy off target grade kids the school had - and give 'em to me.
    That didn't bother me too much, those are my kind of kids.
    It wasn't a great year, though. I found my out that my wife was in a relationship with someone else - I ended up living on the floor of various houses, arguing about seeing the kids, flat broke and somewhat of an over-reliance on the old booze.
    That was about the January time.
    It was pretty close to that time that a member of SLT, filling in as exams officer, realised that this class had passed some BTEC science qualification the year previous and the GCSE Science they were doing, wouldn't count...…. so, a new GCSE was found. It was a human biology based one.

    So, it's probably the end of January now. I've probably sobered up after a fortnight of drinking (I was signed off, but as I was actually homeless I was 'working', or at least doing some admin/paper work in the office as, no matter how much we all hate that kind of stuff, it beats the **** out of freezing to death in beat-up old car that actually freezes ice on the inside).
    I got back in the classroom after a week, though I doubt my teaching performance was at its best, given that I was fitting a 2 year course into 6 months, out of my specialism (I'm physics - and even though biology is just colouring in and remembering things, there's a lot of both to be done), had a class of chumps (though I loved them, but yeah. Not exactly what you'd call studious), struggling with a looming divorce, homeless, not seeing my kids, not entirely sure of how all of this happened and teaching about stuff like teeth (who even knows that?)

    Anyway, we muddled on through the course - attendance of some kids was pretty poor. We had science first thing in the morning twice a week and the last lesson of the day.... twice a week.
    There was one girl, never knew her name. When she sat down in March I asked her if she was knew. Apparently not. Just comes to school late and leaves early - when not in isolation.
    There was, and I counted, 1 kid that had an attendance of above 85% to the science lessons.

    Anyway, come exam day it's the last one - even after the physics paper they didn't get to sit. In fact, it was so late that the school had organised their leavers theme park trip for the day before the exam. The kids obviously, not phased by the exam the next day, proceeded to go to the house party and get drunk.... drunk enough to turn up to the exam singing and dancing to 'YMCA' by the Village People.

    When the results came in, I was shocked to learn that 95% of them hadn't managed to reach their FFTA targets (the aspirational ones - the ones that are the top results for kids with similar KS2 results, the ones that it says on Fisher Price Trust or whoever's website that THEY SHOULDN'T BE USED AS TARGETS).

    I got a letter sometime during September that I was not being recommended for pay progression. Funnily enough, I checked their results against other subjects - they were almost identical. Though other HoF's had split this lot between groups. No one else would have put this lot together. Not in the shadow of PRP.

    Personally, after that year, I think I should have gone up two grades rather than being denied one.

    Never catch it up, either. £2K a year down until you top out on whatever salary. It's a fair old whack in terms of cash and pension contributions.

    So Kettle, how did our years compare?
  5. Lalad

    Lalad Star commenter

  6. livingstone83

    livingstone83 Occasional commenter

    It's gin, mostly.

    Nah, I jest. It's just good old fashioned stoicism...….. and gin.
  7. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Established commenter

    Look at your PM targets and find as much evidence as you can that you have met or partially met them.
  8. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    PRP is morally wrong on many levels. I have always refused to engage with it. I have never been out of work for a single day, and my pay is as good as it would have been if i had done PRP and passed every time.

    (well, at least, it is now; it hasn't always been- but I've had the advantage of job security over the more expensive teachers when my pay has been lower, too)
  9. DexterDexter

    DexterDexter Occasional commenter

    When it first came in and I was at the top of the tree, I had a conversation with the then head.
    Him: this prp is great as every does what you want them to!
    Me: what if you’re already at the top?
    Him: well, you want a job don’t you?!

    No. No, thanks. I left after that before they brought out support plans.

    I would agree with the others and prove you’ve met your objectives (I’d also compile a list of how the school have disadvantaged you).

    It’s times like this when you need to remember that the results fall to the head teacher- it’s their name on all the results! You’ve done your best- start looking for a more supportive school?!
  10. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    I'm not normally curt in my responses but maybe you would have passed your threshold had you a better understanding of the Biology specification. What you state is both very untrue and highly insulting. Biology happens to be the most challenging subject at both GCSE and Alevel hence the low grade boundary attached to it to achieve a pass and I am sure this is the case for BTEC. And before you ask no I am not a biology teacher but work closely with them and it is a very academic core subject.
    As for the rest of your story I hope you have been able to resolve some of your issues and you most certainly seem to have quite a few.
    mothorchid likes this.
  11. kettle1

    kettle1 New commenter

    Thank you everyone, I feel better now. I will start an evidence folder ready for the autumn.
    Really appreciate your advice
  12. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    The profession has to vote for this practice with its feet. I’d be up and off. You’ve done an amazing job and all the thanks you are getting is being refused progression? See how the head likes a mid year teacher replacement for impact on progression. And didn’t even take the hit personally - did this 'the governors' off-setting of blame which is clearly twaddle.
  13. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    "I'm sorry about that. Would you like me to come to a governors' meeting at some point to report on the difficulties of this particular cohort, so that they can think about what they might do to ensure that they are not disappointed with the year 1 teacher next year?"
  14. livingstone83

    livingstone83 Occasional commenter

    Jesus, I bet you’re a laugh a minute at parties.

    FWIW I have nothing against biology teachers, in fact some of my best friends teach biology.

    If you did work in a science department you’d be aware of this kind of humour between disciplines, it’s not really the kind of thing you should be offended by on behalf of biology teachers.

    As for the ‘would have passed threshold comment’ you sound like the worst kind of apologist for one of the most grotesque changes in pay and conditions in the last 20 years of education. It also seems like you didn’t read the rest of my post.

    I’m also pretty sure that your claim that biology is ‘the most challenging’ at A-Level holds very little truth.
    In fact, you’ll have to show me where you got this info from. Personally, I found it much easier than physics, maths and chemistry when I did my A-Levels, though I wouldn’t pretend that this is the conclusive proof that you seem to have.
  15. Teacher_abc123

    Teacher_abc123 New commenter

    What a terrible slap in the face for you. Performance related pay needs to be scrapped - parts of HR in companies are starting to get rid of it because of the research which shows how it does the complete opposite of improving performance!
  16. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    It's tempting to call all those governors to a cosy meeting.
    "Hi, glad you could make it. I wanted to tell you about this exciting opportunity I have for you. What you have to do is just sit in a largish room for six to seven hours every day, and every now and then have a table or a chair thrown hard directly at at you. Thirteen weeks holiday per year,and for this fantastic deal, I'm offering you one hundred thousand pounds in salary. Any takers?
    Thought not"
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. ViolaClef

    ViolaClef Lead commenter

    @kettle1 Your Head should be thanking you for what you’ve done this year - all your hard graft with a challenging cohort. There should be gratitude and empathy. Why don’t Heads realise the difference that praise makes to us?

    You deserve a large bunch of flowers/box of chocolates/bottle of wine with a personal note of thanks from the Head and the Governors! And your pay rise.
  18. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Ask the Head to show you examples of good practice with the class by means of a lesson they teach or two. Bet the response is stunned silence and refusal.
    Teacher_abc123 and DexterDexter like this.
  19. Curae

    Curae Star commenter

    Sincere apologies I honestly did not get the humour part and I didn't like myself for mentioning the threshold comment
    Howrver I do work very closely with science colleagues and part of my role us to analyse performance of students in Stem subjects and Biology grade boundaries are indeed when compared to all other subjects by far the lowest as it has become highly applied and analytical subject with a much reduced factual recall content. National satistics have never indicated that candidates perform better at Biology than the other sciences. Surpringly however there was a trend that candidates(on retaking) made significant t progress in physics.
    BTW.... I'm a real party animal ;)
    livingstone83, Piranha and 7eleven like this.
  20. Piscean1

    Piscean1 Senior commenter

    OP, I have had a similar year to you with a really rough cohort. Reduced TA hours but a very high level of SEN. It's been so stressful that I really think I deserve more than an increment in the pay scale!

    My biggest issue with performance related pay is that it doesn't account for factors entirely outside your control such as poor attendance or cohort changes. My data target is arrived at by somebody with an Excel spreadsheet who's never met my class and has no understanding of their fairly complex needs.

    I've missed my data target by a country mile this year and it's not to do with my teaching. Several age-related children left through the year and each and every one was replaced by a child working significantly below ARE. All my children have made progress from their starting points but it is insulting that I will have to justify this as the reason for being over 10% away from my target. When it comes down to the individuals in the cohort, the vast majority of my originals have hit their targets and had the cohort not changed so significantly, I would have hit mine!

    If we have to have performance related pay, surely there's a fairer way. PRP is all part of this "Let's pretend teachers can control every factor in a child's life" rubbish and it opens the door for unreasonable requests.

    Prove their progress. That's what I will be doing and I hope I get my pay rise. Good luck getting yours. x

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