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Starting Capability Proceedings

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by physicsgeek, Jan 26, 2009.

  1. Not sure where to post this as I'm not a Head. I am a HOD and I have a member of staff who has had a number of complaints since I arrived.
    I think I am at the stage capability proceedings need to start. I have sat down with the teacher and explained the range of complaints etc. This is the second time that proceedings have been used and the member of staff lost the management position.
    I'm rambling, which isn't helping. I don't know where to start. I observed a lesson last week which was inadequate. Another observation is set up this week, with a different teacher watching. I have organised that the teacher watch one of the groups with a different member of staff.
    Any advice on what to do next? I have looked at the proceedings on the net and it seems dated and I'm confused. PLEASE HELP, any advise gratefully received!

    (Please no spelling corrections, I admit I can't spell. I know its bad for a teacher, but in school I get support because of my dyslexia for letters and reports that go home, in class kids like that I have the same issues they have)
  2. this is a matter for your headteacher to guide you on how best to proceed. you need to make sure that the head is responsible for ensuring that the schools/LA procedures are followed to the letter.

    make an appt with HT and ask their advice and guidance on how to proceed, the stages involved and what is reqd at each stage.


  3. thanks, head is sometimes a tad soft with this stuff (he gets a deputy to ring the people who don't get jobs after interviews). I suspect he will pass it back to me and my line manager, but your right thats the call for only the head to make!
    thanks for the prompt reply

  4. all HR matters involve clear defined procedures. you have the departmental responsibility of collecting the evidence of help/support as well as incompetence and capability. the head has the responsibility of ensuring that you are well informed in the process that doesn't compromise or taint the procedure. make sure he gives you a nominated SMT colleague to whom you can refer all queries etc.

    re: prompt reply

    u r very welcome - it's the only free time i have this week!


  5. becky70

    becky70 Occasional commenter

    You need to check your LEA's policy on capability. I believe that the decision to start capability procedures has to be made by the headteacher.
  6. thanks for the info, I have spoken to the head and I have given him the evidence, meeting the teacher together with the head next week. In a school with 100ish teachers HODs go to heads with concerns. I don't think Heads could know details of every class teacher and the complaints about the teacher come to me, not the head, so he is not fully aware of a problem until it is bought to them.I suspect in a smaller school compliants go to the head. I hae more teachers in my department then any of the local primaries have in total!

    Spoke to the LEA, they said follow school polciy and only get involved if the teacher requests it, which really surprised me, I thought they'd be involved from the start.
    is that the norm?

    p.s is it o.k that I'm praying for a snow day?

  7. Now physicgeek, the situation of the HOD recieving complaints then referring the matter to the HT is an exemplification of the very real problem which enables workplace bullies in middle management in big schools to destroy teachers below them.
    I am not suggesting that you fall into that category, simply that you have described it from the perspective of someone who is already there. (i.e. a HOD)

    Have you considered the effect of the previous demotion on this persons confidence, have you offered real support - not observations which you must realise are potentially very stressful. How did this person get the big job in the first place then lose it?
    The other thing to consider, is someone else pulling your strings ? Are the complaints real and justified and is there any possibility of malicious complaints being made or suggested.
    My point is - Capability is not at all about support - it is more often a bullying tool. Is it possible that you HT actually understands this and might be suggesting to you that capability is not the appropriate way forward here.
    HELP - I have an Interview with a member of staff who is underperforming...

    might provide some insight
    <h3>Is it too difficult to sack bad teachers?</h3>and finally, its not usually a good idea to badmouth our boss, especially on a HT thread.

  8. Yes Tom - you are totally correct.
    a19pb is an individual with an extensive knowledge it seems of how bullying operates in the workplace and how capability proceedings can and are used to discredit and destroy individuals. It is not diggicult for someone with the ability to empathise and with a conscience to understand how damaging it would be to be unjustly put through such proceedures.
    Could you imagine yourself, through circumstances outwith your control (as happens routinely where workplace bullies operate), being put on competence proceedures after a covert discreditting campaign had damaged your confidence. Do you actually understand at all how workplace bullying operates? I have not come across any evidence that you do. Please enlighten and offer the OP alternative insight or advice rather than attempting to simply invallidate my informed consideration.
  9. sock_puppet

    sock_puppet New commenter

    a19pb, tut, tut, butt out.
    There is absolutely no whiff of bullying in this story, control yourself.
    Your inference that they are ignorant of their staff is unhelpful and undermining.

  10. Or it might simply be so true as to be empowering to both the new HOD and the person who might be being bullied out.

  11. Dear a19pb

    Not everything in the world revolves around bullying.
  12. ... but most things about capability proceedings are connected in some way to it and like in this case a HT might be involved while knowing very little about the person being supposedly 'supported'. In situations like this, where say a HOD wanted rid of someone, they can discredit the individual then involve an unsuspecting HT to support the bullying out. There are many variations on how bullying can be involved and unsuspecting people can easily be decieved about the capability or otherwise of others.
    Just to clarify yet again - I am not suggesting that specifically in this case that bullying is involved simply that there is a real possibility. The OP will hopefully be able to make an informed decision based on what has been presented here.

  13. I am sure i responded to nomads last comment the other day but it seems it has been removed. I genuinely do not know why.
    Regardless, here goes again.
    Capability is a tool used by bullying managment to 'deal' with people they want to either control or get rid of. In big schools particularly, it is easy for an individual in a promoted post to discredit others to , say their HT. If the person being bullied goes to complain about the behaviours of others, the HT might jump to the wrong assumption that the person now complaining is at fault (because they have been told by someone they trust (say a HOD) that this person is c@rp. Why would this HOD suggest otherwise the HT thinks? The teacher is not supported and is in a no win situation. The union will often have been similarly misled by the bully.

    There are lots of variations, none of which cannot be made to seem normal as to how those with a narcissistic or sociopathic mindset can use capability to bully others aided by unsuspecting and genuinely well meaning people who they manipulate.
    Nomad is entitled to his opinion and i am sure he would agree that i have the right to mine.
    An example of what can happen is here - If you havn'e been there, have a look.
    upon a time there was this brilliant teacher who seems to have lost the
    plot. - The rumours that he wasn't coping must be true.
  14. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    However, a19pb appears (frequently, consistently and repeatedly) to ignore or overlook the fact that 'capability' is a nationally accepted procedure which is used where a member of staff is failing in a significant or persistent way to carry out their responsibilities or duties in a satisfactory manner, either due to a lack of ability, inadequate training or lack of experience. Such failings will be identified by use of agreed and accepted procedures and steps taken to improve performance. However, where such steps prove unsuccessful the member of staff may have their employment terminated on the grounds of incapacity.
    Thios does NOT mean bullying.
  15. a19pb appears frequently, consistently and repeteadly ad nauseum to assume (and then lecture all others) that (a) all employment problems in education are bullying and (b) all Heads are complicit in this by refusing to publsh long rants similar to his; these he describes as valid comments, and deplores the failure of Heads to join in.
    I have told him that:
    "<font face="Calibri">When I apply for my next Headship, and if you, a19pb, are a member of the appointment panel, I shall of course answer your questions relating to bullying in the workplace. Until then, I see no reason to be interrogated by you.</font>

    In fact, we have your comments on one subject only. "
  16. nomad - do you even accept that the proceedures are wide open to abuse? In the case of the OP, this is very clear that the possibility was there. Then to imply that the proceedures are likely to be sucessful are at best naieve - have you seen anyone who has been put through capability and seen benefit?
    Teachers can underperform, I am not suggesting otherwise but good managers will look for ways to get the best out of his/her staff and will look into the cause of underperformance as well as ways to support. Bullying both causes real underperformance as can the suggestion that underperformance is a problem with a target of bullying. HT's can be innocently involved to invoke or threaten capability proceedures by nasty individuals in the middle.
    Gen & Nomad -- At no time anywhere have i ever suggested that all or even most HT's / SMT are bullies nor that all or most are totally ignorant of the perspective i offer. For you to continually suggest that i am tarring all with the same brush is actually mallicious in my opinion.
    What i am looking for is that people consider beyond the obvious but also on this thread that they avoid proceedures which are much more likely to be abusive and detrimental to their organisations despite them being used nationally.
    There are i am sure, many HT's who would never consider the use of the capability proceedure as they actually care about their staff and where underperformance was an apparent issue would look for other ways to reslove.
  17. a19pb
    I did not and have never said that you are suggesting that all or even most HT's/SMT are bullies. Although now you've mentioned it, I shall say it: "You often suggest that many or most managers in schools are bullies".
    What I said earlier on this post was:
    a) When I apply for my next Headship, and if you, a19pb, are a member of the appointment panel, I shall of course answer your questions relating to bullying in the workplace. Until then, I see no reason to be interrogated by you.
    b) [/b] have given us any valid comments on the Wales Rugby win, baby P, the unemployment figures for Merseyside, fatalities in snow in Yorkshire and by fire in Australia, and Jade Goody&rsquo;s children&rsquo;s future.
    c) Or, nearer to home, your valid comments on whether KS2 SATS should be abolished, the validity of the A* at A level, the relative merits of the IB and the Pre-U, progression from KS1 to KS2, the concerns over the new GCSE Science, targets for Foundation Stage and the shortage of teachers of mathematics. Or a myriad of other educational issues.
    What I have said several times is:
    d) We have your comments on only one issue, and that is wearing.
    Your lack of logic, and the jump from what I actually did say to what I hadn't said, are quite a feat. Just don't let them timetable you for Critical Thinking next year, OK?

  18. Summertimd - As i think you are aware that my views on capability are that the system is wide open to abuse and further that, even if used to prove that an individual is not able to do the job that the process itself or even the threat of it could actually make an individual perform worse than had the procedure been neither threatened or invoked. You acknowledge i think that there are some people who would have no qualms about ending another's career simply to expedite a solution to an apparent problem rather than investing in real support..
    Teaching is meant to be a caring profession is it not ? I am not aware of any caring aspect which could be linked to capability - am i missing something ?
    A caring manager will look at ways to support, including hands on/visible backup for behaviour issues, selecting appropriate classes, providing moral support etc. An uncaring, or worse, a bullying manager will not.
    The linked ' once upon a time...' thread describes a situation where an excellent teacher is discredited by their HOD to the HT. The HT assumes the HOD to be honest and sides with them - a variation could have been that capability was invoked which could have pushed the targeted teacher over the edge.
    If the current system allows this sort of thing to happen, then there is clearly something wrong with the system. Further, when bullying happens, there is no effective system to investigate or resolve which is why serial offenders get away with it over and over again. With each conquest, they become more daring and more powerful. I think you also acknowledge that to be a problem.
    What i am pushing for here, is that good people like yourself fully understand the shortcomings of both capability and bullying investigations and acknowledge that HT's cannot be allowed to investigate staff bullying claims themselves as there will always be a justifiable fear of bias for several obvious reasons.
    Genov - Please find one link to a place where i have suggested that either all or most SMT or HT or whatever are bullies. Your suggestion that i do is malicious in my opinion as it is neither my view nor ever has been. -- If i talk about 'Bullying HT's' I am, in context, talking about those HT's who are bullies and not that all or most are bullies. I can only suggest that your suggested interpretation of what i have written is flawed and might actually say more about your own thoughts than mine.For those of you reading that have taken the same understanding as Genov, my apology for any missunderstanding.
    I am not here to score points or to play silly games - I am dealing, or trying to deal with a subject which is much more complex that many understand. That said, those that are workplace bullies are keen to suggest that most people do understand already. Its something of a paradox that i am trying to break.
    I do not have all the answers but i need to make sure that people, like the OP, know to look for the possibility that what is presented to them is not always the reality.
  19. So, I am assuming that you acknowledge that not all capability proceedings are bullying actions and that there may be times when, even in this caring profession and I will have to begin procedures that may lead to the termination of a teacher's job.
    I understand your passion. However, the tone that comes across is usually one of accusation and it feels like you jump to conclusions. If you are wanting people in SLT to "listen" to you. Then you need to take a slightly different route.
    I have a peer that I work with and yesterday I had to tell him the same. He is fantastic with his staff. However, when he talks to other HTs his passion gets in the way and it sound preachy. Even if I agree with him it makes me want to disagree.
    I think that if I spoke to my staff in the way that you post on here, then my staff would consider it to be bullying and would react in the opposite manner than I desired.
    I think that is the reaction that you see to be getting from others on here as well.
    People come on here for advice and your point is valid. Have you ever considered doing it in a slightly different way?

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