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should supply teachers be observed?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by jojocooke, Sep 26, 2015.

  1. jojocooke

    jojocooke New commenter

    Hi, I'd really appreciate some advice please...
    I'm a returning teacher after 3 years being a foster carer. I am currently teaching year 1 as a supply teacher for 2 days a week. (I'm normally year 5/6) Ive been told i'm being observed but i was under the impression supply teachers don't have observations........do they?!
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    If this is a 'regular' supply post I expect you could expect to be observed just like any other member of staff. If you want to be treated like a member of staff you have to take the 'rough with the smooth'.
    DYNAMO67 and wanet like this.
  3. mandala1

    mandala1 Occasional commenter

    There is nothing in the Ofsted framework about not observing supply teachers and I agree with Lara that you need to take the rough with the smooth.
    ilovesooty likes this.
  4. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    If it's a regular gig, of course they do! You just have a different contract of employment. How else can your performance be assessed?
    ilovesooty likes this.
  5. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Would it not depend on whether you are employed directly by the school or through an agency? If employed directly by the school and it's going to be a long term booking then you might benefit from some constructive feedback. If you are employed by an agency then I see little point in formally observing you: where will the observer file the 'tick sheet' - in the bin? If the observer thinks your lesson is pants (it's a technical term) will they feedback to the agency and ask for a replacement or will they invest some time and money to help you develop your teaching skills? The latter being the whole point of carrying out lesson observations, surely? I guess if they insist on wasting an hour of the observer's time let them.
  6. oldsomeman

    oldsomeman Star commenter

    More likely if your pants and working with an agency they will simply tell you not to come back.They do not have to give reasons why to you or the agency unless its a serious issue..
    As a supply in the last school the head used to just walk into the class and look and talk to the kids,,,,its not called observation but it is....
    If its fair and above board and they are constructive fine..but I have to say there are not to many heads I trust these days,especially in an academy.
  7. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    As a returning teacher, it may be useful to have been observed, provided it goes well; you'll presumably be wanting references when you apply for something permanent.

    If you're nervous because of the change of year group, seize the initiative and use the observation to ask for specific feedback (eg "I'm not sure whether I'm getting the level of questionning right for this age-group - could you give me some feedback on that?"). That will also remind them that you are new to the age-group, and that if you're not quite getting it right, it's something that you will soon improve on, rather than something you've been getting wrong for years, and that they'd be better to help you than get rid of you.
  8. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Don't know why you were under the impression that 'supply teachers have no observations'? Agree with Lara, if you want a job that has a degree of permanency and regularity then you have to play the game. You can't have a regular gig and not other things that go with it,
  9. Ladykaza

    Ladykaza Senior commenter

    As a headteacher, if I'm employing you to teach my children I want to know I can trust you to do a good job. If it's a longer term, regular arrangement , darn right I'm going to observe you teach formally. As others have alluded to however, don't think because you don't have a formal lesson observation, that you're not being assessed. When we have a new supply teacher in I will pop in during the day, speak to TAs and children, look at the books and seek feedback from the class teacher about how the communication went.
    Middlemarch likes this.
  10. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    If it's an LA school then the school is legally required (under the Teacher Appraisal Regulations) to to carry out appraisals (and therefore do LOs) for any teacher employed at the school for one school term or more. I think 'employed' here would include being taken on through an agency. Even if employed for less than one term the school can (and probably will) have its own policy on appraisal/LOs, which it is entitled to do.
  11. Crowbob

    Crowbob Lead commenter

    Why? In the vast majority of cases, there is not an employment contract/employment relationship. The supply teachers are not employed by the GB or employed by the LA. They are on agency contracts...
  12. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    You are right and I am wrong Crowbob, tripping over myself in drawing the distinction between when a school is legally required to observe a supply teacher and when it isn't legally required to but good practice (in my opinion) is that the school's own appraisal policy is that all supply teachers will be observed. As you point out the Regulations go on to define 'emplyed' as meaning under a contract of employment with the GB or LA so it isn't compulsory to observe agency supply teachers. My point is that just because it isn't a legal requirement to observe agency supply it's surely good practice to do so. Why should it make any difference the nature of their employment if they are teaching the children in your school?
  13. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Rott Weiler, could you point me in the direction of the legislation that states that appraisals must be undertaken for 'any teacher employed at the school for one school term or more'. I have only found The Education (School Teachers’ Appraisal) (England) Regulations 2012 but there is no mention of a timescale in those regulations, rather the onus is on the 'relevant body' ie governing body or Local Authority to decide how and when appraisals are carried out, which must be published in a school Pay Policy. The DfE published a model pay policy in 2013, which as we know was torn to shreds by the big two teaching unions and ignored by most academy chains.

  14. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Can I ask: if the supply teacher is employed by an agency and not directly through your governing body where do you file the copies of the lesson observations? Do you give the supply teacher written feedback and support to improve their teaching? Most supply teachers (I did) expect a member of SLT to drop in from time to time to ensure that all is well and the classroom has not descended into chaos. I would hope that any observer would not expect the observed lesson to tick all of the 'outstanding' boxes (yes, I know Ofsted don't give grades anymore) because there are myriad reasons why it wouldn't; not least because most supply teachers are just following another teacher's lesson plans and don't know the children at all.
  15. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    That's the Regulations snowyhead, The Education (School Teachers’ Appraisal) (England) Regulations 2012, regulation 1 (3) (and regulation 2 (2) defines "employed").
  16. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    I did supply at a school for 3 hours per week-2 hours teaching, 1 hour prep. I was observed by Ofsted-1 hour and then 2 other obs. I was only at the school from October until May!!
  17. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    You are in front of a class - you will get observed!
  18. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    When a new supply teacher was in school I was often asked, by the person who organised supply, to look through the window and make a judgement. If you are paying for someone then you want to know how good they are, don't you.
  19. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Really? You can make a valid and objective judgement just by looking through a window. Who knew?
    JeannieMc likes this.
  20. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Well, yes, it was an Ofsted inspection, where individual lesson observation judgements are no longer made or reported to SLT unless there are serious safeguarding concerns. A bit different to observing a supply teacher for appraisal, which feeds in to performance related pay, wouldn't you say? Even if a supply teacher were judged to be 'outstanding' by the tick boxer it wouldn't lead to a pay rise or investment in CPD, so what's the point?

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