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Staff support/ Capability

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by DaisysLot, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    My personal wish is to move away from this being lumped in as part of a disciplinary policy… which I'm hoping someone might have already done.

    Looking towards creating a linear support plan for improvement, and or, in the extreme, capability so it is clear to staff in advance of any such need for implementation.
    My aim being to outline clearly….
    1. What timescales and expectations for turnaround are reasonable
    2. A clear guide to stages in place… including when this might result in referring to disciplinary.
    3. That it comes across as supportive rather than the more common expectation that such things are threatening and doom ridden.

    Any examples of such things… or words from the wise out there most welcome along with sincere thanks and humble old gratitude.
    K.Wellborne likes this.
  2. kevgeall

    kevgeall New commenter

    Hello Daisy, our Appraisal, Capability and Disciplinary polices (all separate) were based around model policies provided by our HR company and any differences consulted upon with unions at a regional level.

    The stages and timescales, particularly when referring to appraisal and when informal support becomes formal capability, are indeed clearly described and this has proved to be very important more than once.

    Sorry I can't be more helpful but worth contacting your HR company (I'm assuming you have one)?

    Best of luck,
  3. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    As capability is clearly begin massively misused in the profession, I'd be interested to know what factors are involved in the decision when a responsible member of the management team feels the need to invoke it.
  4. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    A quick perusal of these fora show that people are correct to think that.
  5. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    Thanks Kev - We do, but curiously they've never tackled things this way… If you'd be so kind as to give me sight of yours that would be a really helpful. Of course I would not disclose who or where they came from.

    Scint - Thank you - I appreciate your observations, however I hope you appreciate that there are many here trying to change that for the better.
  6. RedQuilt

    RedQuilt Star commenter

    I've got experience of observing and supporting within a non-graded system but would rather not give info openly as it would identify me in a shot. More than willing to share via PM, sorry 'conversation', though if you'd like.
  7. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    I'm happy (as a Union Rep) with my schools policy. Loosely it consists of:
    1. Some trigger - 2 consecutive RI observed lessons usually, occasionally serious concerns raised from drop-ins etc
    2. Pre-informal, about 6 weeks with a named SLT supporting (yes they do!) aiming for a specific target. If passed all fine and most processes stop here.
    3. Informal
      It's laid out as the start of capability but basically it's the same as above, 6 weeks (or so) with specific support and targets. Better hit those targets because.....
    4. Formal capability
      6 weeks to pass targets or sacked
    I'm not sure at which stage references are affected but I think resigning before 4) keeps it okay.

    Looks quite harsh written down like that but there is quite a bit of support available to ensure that all staff don't even get to 1, so we're all quite happy with it!

    The crucial thing is SLT support and following from that staff trust. Even in this school I spend a lot of time assuring staff that there isn't a hidden agenda to accelerate them from 1 to 4 and that the specified SLT also wants them to succeed.
  8. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    I should have added that Performance Management does most of the heavy support work in the pre-pre-informal bit.
  9. kevgeall

    kevgeall New commenter

    Ours works in a very similar way to @JohnJCazorla's; slightly different timescales but not significantly so. Stage 1 is led by appraiser, 2 by faculty head, 3 by SLT link or me, 4 by me.
    @Scintillant, yes, too much smoke for there to be no fires, a sad reflection of the times and how some react to the pressures of the ever-increasing accountability. We typically only hear one side of the story though and I'm sure we have all worked with staff who were struggling to meet the standards. I think a proportion (I've no idea how big) of those people feeling that they are being bullied and hounded will be genuinely underperforming and the school will be doing its best to secure improved performance. I hope we'll all agree that while capability will always be intensely stressful it need not and should not feel like the school is out to get anyone; the goal should be improved performance because the students' life chances may well depend on it.
  10. mrkeys

    mrkeys Occasional commenter

    Of course those that are Heads of Faculty, SLT or even the HT will never have to face support/capability. .......
  11. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    Mrkeys… I'm curious why you would think that? You think that one someone reaches the dizzy celebrity heights of HoF, SLT or HT that they are never ever to be accountable for their performance ever again!??

  12. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

  13. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    You are failing the staff at Stage 1

    See my post above.

    You should no longer be happy after reading Pref. Robert Coe's work - which you should already be aware of anyway.

    I know my post is pointless but it makes me feel better
  14. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    That is why we use lesson study.
  15. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter


    And what is that?
  16. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    It is an approach developed in Japan where teachers work in groups of three to plan a lesson, one teaches while the other two observe selected pupils. After the lesson pupils are asked some simple questions about their perceptions of their learning during the lesson. The teachers evaluate the lesson and then the cyle begins again with another member of the group teaching.

    Teachers like it because it focus on pupils progress. Lessons are not graded but improvements are discussed and agreed within the group. It is a really supportive process.
  17. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    No. I do not agree. The research and evidence does not agree either.

    Schools are often out to get people. Usually people who are expensive.

    What is an "appraiser" in your "stage 1"? What "controls" are there in your judgements of teaching. Or are they just an "appraiser's" opinion?

    I am amazed (well, not really) at the unscientific way these things are carried out.

    If you are involved with these processes,. read this for starters:
  18. mrkeys

    mrkeys Occasional commenter

    Was written very tongue in cheek, hence all the ........
    Not naive.
  19. kevgeall

    kevgeall New commenter

    @Scintillant, you disagreed with the statement that capability "need not and should not feel like the school is out to get anyone". Presumably this means you think capability must and should feel like the school is out to get someone. Did you really mean that?

    I agree that lesson observation is a subjective process with all the dire ramifications for the current inspection model; the evidence is clear. In our process everything is triangualted as much as possible using a broad range of evidence including but not limited to: external examination grades, current internal student data, review of standard of work in books, paired lesson observations, (sensitive) student voice. In those lesson observations we are explicitly looking for evidence that the teacher is meeting the targets set; those targets are based around the Teachers' Standards. There is still some subjectivity, of course, but I believe it is safe as we can make it. It isn't possible for one rogue gun to bully someone out as different people lead different stages and the latter stages involve more than one person. It is incredibly time intensive but invariably those staff in the process are working incredibly hard to improve and deserve the input. You may have a better way to address underperformance and ensue that people work at the level they are paid and if so I would genuinely love to hear it. "Appraiser" is the person who is responsible for carrying out appraisal of someone else. We have 90 teaching staff so it requires distribution (and annual refresher training).

    @mrkeys, I completely agree with @DaisysLot - accountability increases with every promotion. Over the past 8 years of SLT across two schools I would say that around a third of colleagues who recieved extra support/intervention have been TLR holders or more senior, including SLT.

    @digoryvenn - as you know from another thread we've also been using lesson study as the main thrust of our CPD for three years, both intra- and inter-faculty. I can see how this would help someone improve but not what your process is if they don't. In fact, how do you judge how well they are doing their jobs? How do you decide who gets accelerated pay progression, gets progression, no progression and who ends up in a process?

    Kind regards, all.
    Rott Weiler likes this.
  20. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Which research shows that schools are "often out to get" people? Not the studies you cited earlier.

    kevgeall's processes are surely closer to what happens in most schools, a range of different ways for evaluating teachers' performance? It's what happens in mine too, no-one's performance is judged solely on lesson observations. In fact Professor Coe makes the point that he is not against lesson observations - "nor am I against classroom observation. In fact there are good reasons for wanting to observe teaching. It is hard to imagine a credible evaluation system that doesn’t include some observation..." he says. And both Professor Coe's article and the Policy Exchange paper are specifically about weaknesses in Ofsted's inspection process (which judges teaching in the school overall not individual teachers) so has limited application.

    And your evidence for "massively" misused is? Knowing your keenness to cite research studies Scintillant I assume there is a published research paper supporting your claim?
    Last edited: Jan 16, 2016

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