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Something doesn’t seem right

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by bluesberry, Mar 27, 2019.

  1. bluesberry

    bluesberry New commenter


    I was wondering if anyone could advise me about my current situation and whether my school is following statutory procedures.

    I’m a primary NQT, (started in Jan) and I’ve been recently failed for my first term. My named contact came in to observe me, and it was his observation and two previous ones during the term (by SLT) that have concluded that I am not meeting the teaching standards.

    In addition to this, I have been told by an SLT member that I might be moved out of class to become a cover teacher because of a few safeguarding mistakes I’ve made. These have happened over the course of the term and have included using a mouth thermometer on a child and not saving the afternoon register on SIMs. There have been 6 mistakes altogether, varying but of similar severity.

    My question is how can my contract be changed and how can I not be class based if I’m an NQT?

    Any ideas?


    PS. I’m in the process of talking to my union but I haven’t found the time to call them recently as this term has been so busy with events and deadlines!
  2. Dawn_teacher

    Dawn_teacher New commenter

    Your contract is for a teacher - the headteacher gets to decide where you teach.
    Your NQT can be completed as a cover teacher. I did cover for 2 terms of my NQT.

    I've forgotten to save my register countless times - usually a weekly occurrence. The office phone me and remind me to do it.
    They are nitpicking if they are picking up things like that
  3. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Your contract is as a teacher; heads can decide who has a class and who does PPA cover as they choose.

    It may be harder to demonstrate NQT standards if you are doing PPA cover, so if this happens you need to ask how they are going to ensure that you are able to demonstrate meeting the standards.

    I have to say that I don't think things look too good - you need to know that they think you can improve and meet the standards - and it sounds like they may be writing you off and hoping you'll leave by the end of the year. Safeguarding mistakes may well have to be mentioned in references, so you may have an uphill struggle finding a new post, although if you can find one then completing NQT elsewhere may be a good thing.

    Definitely talk to your union - you need support and advice.
  4. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    If you are in danger of failing, it is encumbent on both your school and LA contact to ensure you get the support you need to improve. And I don't mean that observation sh@te, but actual advice and support. Followed by opportunities for you to show improvement. Sounds like they are instead trying to lessen your chances to improve. Contact union asap, regional.
  5. afterdark

    afterdark Established commenter

    Thermometer in the mouth...how 20th Century of you. Many schools have nurses for that.

    Register on a computer system that will fail at the flick of the off swicth? Safeguarding issue? Hardly. I did paper registers for yonks, still make them for proper safeguarding issues like a fire register.

    This made me smile. It really does sound like the school are nitpicking. If the school are relying on electronic systems then why not just send you an email.
  6. Aquamarina1234

    Aquamarina1234 Star commenter

    Just out of interest, what is the perceived safeguarding issue with using a mouth thermometer?
  7. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    It sounds picky, but the school is within its rights to do as they have done. Hard though it seems, you best way forward is probably to learn from your mistakes and try to do whatever the school is suggesting to improve. You haven't mentioned whether you think the observations were unfair or whether you were given helpful advice on how to achieve whatever they want. On the whole, schools want their NQTs to succeed. As an NQT, you get (I hope) a reduced timetable and a mentor to support you. Once you have completed NQT, you become a cheap teacher, and therefore just what the school wants.

    I am afraid that you probably do need to make time to contact your union.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  8. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    OP is in primary, I've never come across a primary with a school nurse working in the school. Come to think of it the secondaries I know used to have them but don't any longer either (or only occasionally, 1 morning a week or something).
    yodaami2 and agathamorse like this.
  9. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    Statutory guidance:

    See section 2.17 - A suitable post for induction

    In particular the final 3 bullet points in that section:
    - involve the NQT regularly teaching the same class(es);
    - involve similar planning, teaching and assessment processes to those in which other teachers working in similar substantive posts in the institution are engaged; and
    - not involve additional non-teaching responsibilities without the provision of appropriate preparation and support.
    agathamorse likes this.
  10. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You are not meeting teaching standards, evidenced by three observations from different observers.
    There have been six safeguarding incidents that the head knows about.

    The decision to swap to a new role can't have come as a complete surprise to you.

    Being a cover teacher means a lot less hassle in may ways and will enable you to teach across the school. Perhaps another year group would suit you better and you'll find that out.

    Sounds like the school are trying to help, so accept this and do whatever it takes to move further towards meeting the standards next term.
  11. SparkMaths

    SparkMaths New commenter

    If it continues, make sure that you resign before the end of the third term otherwise you can't do your NQT again or work as a teacher. Just after Easter is probably ideal if you fail you 2nd term.

    You can do some time as a supply teacher to gain experience before trying again in a more reasonable school (it only counts towards your NQT if it's going to be a full term on supply). You have two terms banked, you only need to pass the third term.
  12. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    Surely the terms won’t be banked if they’ve been failed. OP has said the first term was failed.

    I think advice from regional union is essential and some hard and clear thinking about whether to continue and what proper support can be put in place to enable OP to improve and meet the standards.
  13. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Lead commenter

    You need to make the time. I would also talk to your contact person at the appropriate body, which will be at the Local Authority in many cases but may be a teaching school (these details should have been given to you before you started).

    Out of interest was the issue that you took a child's temperature or you used the wrong method?
    agathamorse likes this.
  14. Caity52

    Caity52 New commenter

    They can't just fail you without putting in a massive amount of support to help you develop to be successful for the next term, in fact they can't fail you at all until the end of term 3 this is just an evaluation of the progress you are making and whether you are likely to pass. The appropriate body has to be involved and this should not have come as a surprise to you. What support have you been given by the school? Has it been documented with SMART targets which have been reviewed? If not you may have grounds to appeal the fail recommendation, it is as much a reflection on the school as it is of you as a teacher.

    Find the time to discuss this with your union (the failure of the term not the using you for cover which as PPs have said is fine) make sure you meet with your school and a representative from the appropriate body (you can contact them yourself) to plan a way forward which should support you in meeting the standards. Having the appropriate body on side at this point should be a huge advantage as they are removed from any school politics that might be coming into play and are able to take a neutral view.
  15. SparkMaths

    SparkMaths New commenter

    I may be a few years out of date but it used to be that only the final term was "pass" or "fail", the first two terms were "pass" or "likely to fail without more support".

    Obviously any descision has to be throughly checked through (eg by Union and Local Authority) but it would be a good idea to have a contingency plan if the situation continues into the third term, given the risk.
  16. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    It could be that your school is nitpicking, however not knowing you maybe there is need for improvement.

    I am sure every teacher up and down the country has forgotten to save their register at least once - technically it IS a safeguarding issue as if there is a failure to spot a child is missing.................. Having said that it sadly feels we all work in a culture where the getting it right 99.9% of the time is not noticed and the getting it wrong is - no wonder many people, teachers included can feel afraid to even come into work for fear of what will 'go wrong' and want to call in sick....................

    Thermometer in mouth -I am assuming issue here is if it broke in the mouth (and if its a mercury one and it broke consequences would be catastrophic) - however again most of us above a certain age will remember a thermometer in the mouth when ill.

    I would actually consider reqwuesting a frank discussion with the school about whether they really are supporting you or trying to manage you down and out - maybe they are trying to reduce your workload and giving you a chance? In your position I would personally seriously consider finishing your NQT year elsewhere (if the school will let yoou resign at Easter) if you can take the risk of possibly not getting a post) or supply until you do so. All it can take is a different school (and SLT) for a 'failing' teacher to become a great teacher and vice versa.
    Curae and agathamorse like this.
  17. bluesberry

    bluesberry New commenter

    Thank you for all the replies.

    I don’t think my observations were very fair, especially as the external one took issue with things the school had themselves asked me to do.

    One of my safeguarding mistakes has unfortunately gone to disciplinary level, which really surprised me, as I didn’t even think it was a safeguarding mistake at the time.

    10 minutes after receiving the news, my line manager who wasn’t at all involved in the investigation came to find me and was insistent that I have a conversation with my named contact, she even offered to cover my class while I contacted him. So I did, and he just dropped hints the whole time that the safeguarding allegation wouldn’t go on my NQT record if I resigned before the end of this term.

    Apparently a lot of the SLT are currently being investigated themselves. I think they’ve realised it’s simpler to get rid of people like me than to do their actual jobs, and that’s why I’ve been wanting to leave for a while.

    But I don’t want to resign so early without another job lined up. If the disciplinary hearing rules against me, how difficult would it be to find jobs in future?


    A worried NQT
  18. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    You need to be discussing the disciplinary with your union. If it is a safeguarding matter it will be tricky to find further work as a teacher.
    And you line manager seems to have done entirely the right thing by insisting you speak to the named contact for NQTs. However, it cannot be true that safeguarding concerns will not be mentioned if you resign. They have to be mentioned in a reference and your current head will need to be a referee.

    Six safeguarding incidents, with one so serious it has gone to disciplinary, and an NQT adviser who is recommending you resign, means you are in a very precarious position. You need union advice as a matter of urgency. It matters not a jot if things are fair or unfair, you need union support and advice to have any chance of getting through this with your career intact.
  19. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Long-ish post-
    These are alarm bells.
    Forgive me for speculating, but I wonder about the following possibility-
    Your underlying long term and pressing need is to pass your NQT year.
    But this has been going on for seven years.
    That is your posting history, which I read because I wished for insight in order to offer something supportive.
    Way back in your posting history you allude to the possibility (to me) of seeking work without detailing the best references, perhaps even by omitting mention of some shorter term supply posts. Has this been the case in your current role?
    What I am unsure about is the current regs for supply teaching without completing induction.Some memory has it as a 5 year limit-other posters will know better.
    I'm wondering if a question mark has been placed on the veracity of your career path, and on this technicality you have been called to task.
    I wondered if this is the safeguarding issued to which you allude, the one which you say surprised you.
    Clearly you are lucid and an excellent communicator-your posts are well written. Could it be that your current school did not have full insight into your work history?
    I may be completely wrong,in which case apologies for jumping the gun.
    But if in your application you have omitted to detail every single school where you have worked, then, yes,that presents as one of the most serious safe guarding concerns. I'm not saying you have knowingly committed something amiss, more that perhaps you have simply not declared all of the schools you have worked in?
    Please put me right if not, I don't want to mislead or misconstrue....
    Last edited: Mar 30, 2019
  20. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I don't think this is necessarily quite correct. Most people now work for agencies when doing supply and so write down the agency as their employer, especially when doing day to day supply. The OP mentions in another thread, the longest they have worked anywhere was about ten days, so clearly has been doing day to day supply.

    Calling the incidents 'safeguarding mistakes' is a bit odd.
    agathamorse likes this.

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