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The blame lies also with leaders and managers

Discussion in 'Education news' started by MrMedia, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    I was discussing this the other day and we thought, take Gove's argument - 'some schools are achieving this [outcome] despite the context and thus all schools should stop citing context' - and apply this to schools' leaders and managers.

    Some school leaders and their managers do create a positive place to work. These schools do not have high levels of churn and their teachers are inspired to work under the good leadership.

    Some school leaders and their managers misinterpret government and OfSTED policy and create unnecessary workload and use bullying tactics to achieve their targets.

    Most schools exist within the spectrum of the two.

    Thus isn't part of the answer improved leadership and management selection and training? Some schools are selecting the wrong people as managers and/or not providing good training to them.

    And then OfSTED and all its idiocies etc., I grant.
    Mangleworzle and lanokia like this.
  2. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    A good post... school management selection is IMO a major issue with some staff being promoted far beyond their ability. Sadly by the time their lack of ability has become apparent they'll have already done considerable damage.
    monicabilongame and drek like this.
  3. lizziescat

    lizziescat Star commenter

    Yes but they will be quickly moved on to another (unsuspecting) school.
    What happened to honest references
  4. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Many managers seem to be promoted for entirely the wrong reasons. Too many schools are looking for people who will pass on the bullying requirements of Ofsted unquestioningly. One of the qualifications to be able to do this is to know no different or better or be prepared to keep quiet and just follow orders.

    Unfortunately Gove et al decided that the reason all schools weren't above average is that too many feckless, pinko, liberal, woolly minded teachers weren't singing from the right hymn sheet and needed to be got rid of or made to do more. Getting rid of teachers or just making them run faster on the treadmill has become one of the main measures of management ability.

    The rot has come down from above with the aid of lots of egotistical greasy pole climbers.
    petenewton and Anonymity like this.
  5. drek

    drek Star commenter

    The solution to a ladder, overloaded with competing contractors, leading to a rotting roof top, is to remove the ladder wifh immediate effect. The rotting roof top will crumble on its I should imagine? Particular with no one around to help paper over its cracks. :)
    Teaching and learning will no doubt go on to scaling new heights once SLT sticks to its main role i.e pen pushing, instead of targeting and killing off the spirit of teaching and learning, in the bid to reduce teaching to temporary zero hour contracts.
  6. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    What training is an AHT required to have? Qualifications?
    M. Ed in Leadership and Management?

    If we switched the appraisal system from management onto teacher to appraising the quality of leadership and management would we see, despite the worst of Goviot's reforms, an improvement in things like workload, churn, retention etc.?

    Do we think many managers are 'guessing' at what works rather than knowing?
  7. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    I think they are doing exactly what they have heard that Ofsted wants to see to keep their jobs, whether from Ofsted themselves or from other SMT in recently visited schools.

    "Works" is what helps them to keep their job, ideals of education and teaching were left behind long ago, it's about the paper trail. Hence the massive pressure on marking, If the worst happens, they can show what they did, "effectiveness" has come to mean an entirely personal definition for many SMT. It's all about rrse covering.
  8. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    But there is, then, a tension between national issues (teachers leaving teaching in first five years of qualifying) and school based issues (paranoia about job security in the face of imagined future scrutiny).

    All good senior leaders, in any industry, have to balance national issues with local issues and do so successfully.

    Google, for example, have to keep staff working hard and motivated, but also ensure that their product stays competitive and evolves.

    I think SLT are not evolving new methods to do traditional things. They are making things, like marking, labour intensive rather than trying to evolve the job to increase the amount of feedback received.

    There is an argument to deskill some aspects of the teacher's job and hand it over to technology centres. Assessment and feedback, for example, could be entirely outsourced to a cloud based provider. The teacher could then focus on teaching and let the outsourced assessment and feedback system do the heavy lifting.

    If a student uses Strava, it assesses then and provides then with feedback. Why does a P.E. Teacher need to do all the measuring? The P.E. Teacher instead helps the student evaluate the data.
  9. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    They have success or survival against competition as the ultimate arbiter of whether they have done the right or wrong thing. Despite trying to bring in business practices you can't apply the same ideas to state education so you can't measure management success in the same way.

    Most SMT's are clueless of what to do, they are more than happy to do what they are told. About 12 or so years ago my school got RI (no big deal then), then satisfactory, then RI and a warning, the SMT team swelled, we started to tick more boxes and Ofsted approved, results were pretty much the same though.

    To be fair SMT's are like the teacher in an observation lesson who is told "we want to see you take a risk", with the knowledge that only a successful outcome to the risk is acceptable, so they don't take a risk as it would be stupid to do so. Ofsted and the very real fear of losing their job is the driver for everyone. This needs to be removed for improvement to happen.

    Absolutely, the idiotic drive to more marking (as an example) is like employing a chef and never being able to have more than half a dozen customers in the restaurant as he's too busy making bread, washing up, sweeping the floor, waiting on tables etc. to cook for any more. It's reducing teaching to the least skilled, most onerous, dull task there is and declaring it the gold standard.
  10. TCSC47

    TCSC47 Star commenter

    I have held several middle management roles in and outside education along side my teaching. I drifted into them rather than sought them out and I never considered them to be my forte or where I wanted to be. For a start the pay increase really wasn't worth the responsibilities and stress, particularly towards the end of my career with all the name blame and shame that teachers have to suffer.

    I was never offered any sort of CPD for my management roles, but I also have to admit that I never sought any out either. I am aware of CPD being available for head teachers but have no knowledge of what they may contain. Is anybody here able to tell us?

    For an industry that we would suppose would be "people orientated", I have always been amazed and disappointed at just how much it isn't. I have 20 years outside teaching to compare it with.

    The following are examples of school management I have witnessed.

    One of my Heads of Hall in secondary had a complete nervous breakdown when the Head Teacher hung him out to dry when a parent brought in a high powered solicitor to sue the school over their child's expulsion. The child had been caught red handed selling drugs on school premises for God's Sake, but the HT just rolled over for the solicitor and allowed the child back in! No sooner had the child returned than the parent transferred them to another school presumably so that they could claim their child was never excluded or had done wrong. The HT effectively accepted that it was our H of H who was at fault, even though the child had been caught in school with drugs and the police found drugs hidden in his bedroom TV at home! My H of H never returned to teaching.

    My Head of Faculty in FE, was fired in a most ignominious manner by our Chief Executive (the title he gave himself) over undisclosed mal-administration. She was escorted from the premises and her office searched and all records taken away, all most unpleasantly. She was due to have her hearing on several occasions but every time, it was put off by the college. Clearly they had no case or evidence because in the end they simply offered her a buy off. By that time she had had a nervous breakdown and wasn't interested. so took what I hope was a large sum in lieu of taking the college to court for wrongful dismissal. Also the admin person who worked under her was suspended in a similar manner. The college eventually dropped the charges and expected him to start back. Of course he wasn't staying and left FE completely. On a personal note, this was the beginning of the end for me in teaching and my taking early retirement.

    The above two examples have to be the most unpleasant and disgraceful examples I met anywhere in my careers in and outside education. I have a few other examples of poor leadership but for the moment I am posting this so I can get on with something else. I spend too much time getting angry here, I'm afraid!

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