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Unprofessional conduct... Asked to lie in an Ofsted inspection.

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by cleproy, Sep 21, 2011.

  1. Ofsted should just show up without notice, go into reception and introduce themselves and walk round lessons. They have cut down the notice to avoid the several month tidy up that used to happen, which now means in most cases that there's a whole year of stress when leadership know that they're due - an almost permanent red alert. A taxi should just pull up in the car park and 4 inspectors get out. If the head's not in then they should speak to the principal deputy. The we'd see what a school is really like and who's doing it and who isn't, instead of papering over the cracks.
    School I know well asks their ASTs (in scence and English) to take over the exam classes of weak teachers in subjects as diverse as food tech and P.E. Couldn't, of course, address the weaknesses in those subject areas? No, paper over the cracks and get us through Ofsted.
    gabbyannie and Inigo_Jones like this.
  2. Reminds me of the time when I had taught about 10 % of a time table for less than a term and when I arrived at school to teach my half day timetable I was told I needed to receive teh feedback from the ofsted inspector as there was no-one else there.
    However, for a system that should be antibullying, I have seen lots in my time as a teacher. In one school, a deputy head, a school chaplain, the school nurses and others dared to express their worries about a housemistress who certainly did seem to have some lasting effects on pupils. They all lost their jobs (the deputy head was subsequently awarded damages); for the others the school made up reasons that the nurses and chplain could be replaced in a not quite matching way - eg they said they needed an on site matron instead of teh team of two who lived wthin a few minutes of the school.The staff were all informed they were never to approach or write to a member of the governors - rules like this should alert any member of staff that something is not quite right.

    In another school, if you didn't stay at least 3 years the head would not write you a reference (hence ruining your career!) Luckily I was only helping out on a temporary basis. However, I noticed that many staff if they stayed those 3 years then got 'roles' which allowed them to arrange to have meetings when their most troublesome classes had lessons.

    In many schools it seems to me that detailed worksheets are used telling students what to do to get marks in coursework - I've even seen spreadsheets where the teacher has given the students an incorrect formula to enter - but often these detailed exactly-how-to-do-it worksheets are then extracted so it is not obvious to the coursework marker what has happened and theyhave to therefore agree on the teacher's assertion that a student has created a spreadsheet to model something (or whatever teh criteria is).
    In my final few years of teaching I became aware that an awful lot of students seem to be permanently on work experience - sometimes as early as towards the end of year 8. I realised this was not just my school when I visited a child on the normal 2 week work experience placement and the lady running the kennels at which he worked was worried about a student from a nearby school who she'd had for a year or so. She wanted advice on how to teach him as he was dyslexic and she felt he was clever enough for University. She was not a qualified teacher. then I became aware of a child from a third school on a similar basis who was not even told (according to his mother) when his GCSE exams were taking place.

    Luckily I have also been privileged to work with some amazing teachers and some projects that have inspired and been memorable to students. One such student found me on facebook and referred to something I had organised for her 'you have no idea how much that meant to me and inspired me' she said. What a gift for those of us who do want to inspire and offer exciting opportunities to be able to hear that later in life.
  3. Basso_Profundo

    Basso_Profundo New commenter

    This reminds me of a struggling inner-city hell-hole I taught in some years back, when it was clutching at straws trying to get a specialist status of some sort. Academic subjects out of the question [they had a Head of Sixth Form who could neither teach nor knew the first principles of either of her supposed subjects, for example, who took pride in her 70% A-Level pass rate!] they lodged an application for Sports College status.
    Came the week of the Ofsted visit, and we were advised which day they were going to tour the rest of the school. I winced. This was a day when I had three of the worst classes in a euphemistically "challenging" school [described to me, by the Deputy, on the occasion of my interview, as "f***ing tough"] - and one of those classes I was due to see twice. In other words, four of my five lessons that day had the potential to go pear-shaped.
    On the preceding morning, before school, aforementioned Deputy warned me of the "tour", and reminded me [as if reminder were requisite or necessary] of the classes I was due to teach. At morning break, he did so again, at which point I was about to refer him to my union for bullying/harrassment and opt to be absent the following day, when said Deputy listed somewhere around a dozen or so of the worst pupils across those three classes. As I struggled not to show any emotion, he then placed a hand on my shoulder and assured me "... and none of those little *** will be in tomorrow, you have my word!" To which I calmly advised him that all of the named pupils had excellent attendance records - their collective mission in life, it seemed, was to disrupt. "Oh, don't worry, I give you my solemn guarantee." Again, I asked how he could be so sure, to which he reached into the inside pocket of his jacket, and drew an inch-or-so thick wad of £20 notes from his pocket, looked at it, then at me, and returned it to his pocket.
    Via the grapevine, I learnt later, some of those kids had received up to £100 or so not to attend school on that day. It seemed he had, in total, paid the equivalent of a whole class to truant for the day. [Is it still truant when it is not merely sanction, but financially encouragede by the Deputy?] The school achieved its specialism.
    A couple of years went by; I took a career move; and the same school achieved an unbelievable Grade 2 in a full Ofsted inspection. It came as little surprise to me when two former colleagues still working there told me with horror, on separate occasions, that He had used the same technique during a three-day full inspection, to the point that some of the boys had left with "full house" hands of twenty and fifty Pound notes, in return for a handshake assuring their absense.
  4. Sorry you had such a dreadful experience, you did the only honourable, truly professional thing.
    I have been lucky and my last job of 10years, plus a bit of supply there on retiring, was in a school where both the head and SLT were very focused on the children and although staff had to work very hard, and be very organised, with planning ready well in advance and paperwork in on time, it was rewarding as you always knew where you stood and the kids were happy and got a good deal. If special circumstances meant you would miss deadlines, and you went beforehand and explained this,the head would try to give you time off timetable to catch up, so that the system did not get distrupted and provided you were genuine and honest he always supported you. This meant respect grew on both sides and teachers did not abuse the system - apart from one, who regularly lied, got caught out and was eventually (after many tries to help her improve) dismissed. I do agree in part with the person who said Ofsted don't care, and collude with some schools - this is true in some cases, but not all.The first time I was Ofsteded, the inspector said the Speaking and Listening records were not detailed enough. I had a record of each child's speaking and listening work, all described and graded, and asked what additional detail she needed - she said she had no idea, as she had not looked at any of the S+L records, she'd been too busy. When I protested that the criticism of me was unfair as she had been provided will very detailed records, and it was not my fault she was too busy to look at them, she just shrugged and said that was what was being written up, then walked off. She took with her one of my pupil's folders containing a year's work, as she said she wanted to photocopy the resources (which had taken ages to prepare) - promising to return it. It was never seen again. In view of this unprofessional behaviour, no wonder some schools also behave unprofessionally - not right, not a good example, but what happens when a stupid system is put above the welfare of children.
  5. Great! this is how we end up with a Naff educational system, we can whistle blow and it is a duty to do so regardless of personal cost. Individuals like you and there are many, are a burden to the educational system which will never improve whilst this attitude remains. Evil reigns whilst good men do nothing! Shame on you!
  6. The dishonesty at that level of the profession never fails to amaze me. I know of people at our place whose work and record-keeping was used by SLT to prove yo Ofsted they were doing their job properly. One member of the SLT used work my kids had done and that I had marked and entered it for an exam qualificatiion as his own. We have someone in charge of behaviour/discilpline who blames poor behaviour on poor lesson plans but who has no overriding plan to deal with the behavioural issues that have grown up while the current regime have been in charge. We have an an ineffective head who is keen on a high-tech school but knows almost nothing about the workings of it and has put his trust in outside contractors that other schools have already ditched. He wants to move to &% minute lessons because he claims educational research says it will intensify the learning experience... It's all box-ticking and ensuring that they take as little responsibility for their actions as possible. The head came in four years ago proclaiming, 'Every child matters.' Don't think so. Kids are pushed to take GCSE English (and other subjects) in Y10. If they get a C, they aren't allowed to improve it. No consideration is given to their future; they are pushed to do another course that might yield another C. KIds at the bottom are virtually ignored. The SEN team do their best, but some of these kids can barely read and there's nothing structured intio the curriculum to ensure they get anything meaningful from their time at school. Kids smoke a few feet away from the head and his deputy at the school gate; teachers have been assaulted verbally and physically and the pupils have pretty much got away with it. Yet what happens? Staff complain to each other but fail to turn up when there's a joint union meeting; others are too busy climbing the greasy pole to risk voicing their protest The sad thing is, this is rife
  7. To note this was in reply to ( ianj6 )
  8. I am amazed that teachers are surprised at this story. The current "results driven" climate coupled with go-getting lizard-blooded careerists makes it inevitable. The school from which I was recently pushed to accept a severance deal was managed by distortion and lie to the extent that it had became known as the Emperor's New High School. There were still plenty of staff willing to testify to the beauty and magnificence of the emperor's development plans due to the type of management tactics highlighted in this tale.
  9. Perhaps not too shocking compared to the others posted here, but it left a very sick taste in my mouth and I still feel badly for not speaking out about it years ago.
    As somebody who cares about the environment I went to some trouble to get an application to English Nature for tree planting in the school grounds. In the end, they paid us two hundred pounds to get trees and plant them.
    Unfortunately, the time was just after winter so nothing could be planted until next autumn.

    The next autumn I went to see the Head and asked for the money so we could get the trees. He sneered at me and told me I was too late, as the school was in a new financial year now and therefore the money was 'lost'. I pointed out it had been paid to the school by a charitable organisation for a specific purpose but he point blank refused to hand over the money or find it from any other budget item.
    In consequence, no trees were ever planted and we had the money from English Nature on false pretences.

    The sub text here is that the Head did not like me and did a number of things to make my life very difficult, some of them very unprofessional. I could have complained directly to English Nature, but had I done so, he could have wrecked my career.

    Luckily HE left on early retirement on health grounds, long before I did, and the next Head was a real human being and a star.
  10. Sorry peeps, but coming from the senior team side of things....if you get Outstanding, they do not come back for five years..you can then relax, enjoy the children and have some fun and stop jumping through Ofsted hoops for a few years. That's why.
  11. And it happens again. Who benefits when we all collude in this connivance? The teachers? No, they don't get to relax. They get an almost endless cycle of mock inspections, SLT observations and harrassment on a constant basis anyway. The pupils? Doubt it. Henry the mild mannered janitor? Or the SLT? Could be! Yet more collusion to beat the sytem, rather than actually addressing the issues. I would be more than happy to make myself ill with overwork trying to address weaknesses in school systems (and have done). However, some SLTs seem more concerned with a sticking plaster approach and getting away without scrutiny for 5 years, by which time they've moved on to another school. If SLT spent more time contributing to school improvement and less energy on hoodwinking insectors, this thread wouldn't exist.
  12. Everything is about stats these days

    I was teaching a level 3 BTEC and was told that everyone on the course must pass whether they have done the work or not so that the course could be portrayed as a full success.

    I took a stand on this and refused to pass two students in particular who had not attended classes or submitted work for a period of 7 months, despite many concessions, extra support. I was then threatened with disciplinary for discriminating against students because they were struggling to cope with the work load. I argued that it was wrong to mislead universities on student competencies but was told that it would no longer be our problem once they were gone.

    Under the pressure I relented and allowed these students to submit their work retrospectively only to find two clear cases of plagiarism copied from classmates. Feeling somewhat vindicated at this point I took another stand and refused to have any more dealings with them. I told management that if they wanted failing students to pass, they could sign off on them. They didn't and they failed.

    Shortly afterwards my request for a permanent contract was suspiciously turned down on the basis that they were extending the years worked at the college to five instead of three, meaning that I could not take up promotion offered by my head of school.

    I felt very annoyed that I had hauled over the coals and my professional judgement questioned just to meet some stats targets. Teachers should not have to lie to hang on to their careers.

    I am in another school now and just about to meet Ofsted. I am in the situation again where data is being potentially massaged. This time I have been more self preserving and everything is documented with a paper trail for when the sticky questions are asked. Will I still be honest and true to my profession? absolutely. This is not right and should not happen.
  13. ianj6

    ianj6 New commenter

    POPPYCOCK Whirlybird! My own wife kids deserve everything I can give them. It's a job, one that I love, but I love my family more. I have no interest in playing politics, if I did, I'd be in SMT playing their political games, we can't whistle blow and keep our careers.
    We end up with a naff educational system by SMT, OFSTED and a myriad of civil servants not letting us do our jobs, but moving the goal posts every 2 minutes, raising the bar, and not giving us time to do our marking, our planning, and spending time with the children, and show them why we love our subjects.
    The system is corrupt, because corrupt people move to powerful places, and play politics, and silly games in their offices, conference centres and think tanks. It would appear, certainly with most of the educational advisors I've seen, that no-one asks the simple question; "If you're so good at teaching, why have you done everything in your power to move as far away from a classroom you can?"


  14. ianj6

    ianj6 New commenter

    Added to this Whirlybird,
    You know nothing about me. I've taken plenty of stands and have the scars and broken bones to prove it, but now I'm home and want to look after my own!
  15. I truly hope you are not left without a decent job. If you wish to do some agency work, I know it will not be good pay in comparison to permanent direct employment, but Supply Desk have a website, I think they extend in to the London area. The other good agency I have worked for is Teaching Personnel. They also have a website. I wish you all the very best and truly hope that karma enables all those concerned to receive their just consequences.
  16. As a practicing secondary head I applaud your actions and deplore those of the senior leaders who put you in this position. If we can?t tell the truth what?s the point?
  17. broberg

    broberg New commenter

    The bullies are more often in the staffroom rather than the playground.
    elfinamerica likes this.
  18. First time contributor here.

    I recently completed my NQT in a London school... but only just. I had trained in one subject but was asked to do my NQT in a different subject which I did as I liked the school and children.

    All had been going well until my 3 induct period when I failed an observation made by the vice principle... on the last day of term, with a class that I shared with 2 colleagues, who both stated they probably would have failed with that class too. Never-the-less I was of the belief that as an NQT I was still learning and developing, especially dealing with a subject that was not my specialism.

    My debriefing was akin to immolation, with no adherence to the NQT observation guidelines, and I subsequently received a letter from the Vice principle stating that due to my failed observation I would face capability procedures in regards to my employment.

    I was distraught and had a mental break down. I only got through with the aid of good friends / colleagues, the induction tutor, the LEA and my union - all who had to get involved and supported me. Obviously, had this somehow gone through I would have failed my 3rd induct and never been able to teach in the UK again...

    I imagined that I might be a pawn in a political game, but I was then told in confidence by the Principle that the reason I had been given this letter was so that I would not be observed during the impending OFSTED.

    To unjustifiably destroy and individual's career, self-belief, and mental health for the sake of being "a risk" in an OFSTED has been the most callous thing I have ever experienced from another human being in my life.

    I wanted to whistle blow to bring this to justice, but didn't for the sake of my school's reputation and the other teachers who are already under enough pressure without a follow up visit from the 'theatre de OFSTED'.

    Despite getting a 'good with outstanding features' in my next observation I still feel jaded that such bullying exists and that it is almost impossible to whistle blow without career repercussions.
  19. Hmm! perhaps not really sexist but possibly quite accurate (unless of course being a woman is sexist).
    Definition: a, usually young, woman whose behavior is not morally correct or proper
    floozy is the more common spelling; in British English, floozie is more common.
  20. Wow! You've started a great topic. I have to say though that I am not at all surprised by this. I do agree that it is a stressful job and lies have kept ofsted away for a good three years at a time so everyone can relax and get on with the real job, teaching children, instead of all the bull s**t politics! However, I too blew the whistle when my head was fiddling the KS1 sats results. I thought she'd got away with it and was making my life hell. I did consider the school's reputation but I knew she was willing to pass the blame on to myself and fellow teachers. I phoned the NUT who did *** all! Months had passed and I decided to hand in my notice. Fortunately one day the LEA inspectors turned up and I had kept original copies of the levels I had given and landed her in it! It's a shame about ofsted. I can remember when they would give you weeks/months notice and everyone would tweak every bit of paperwork, display, etc. And thought how false this was but even with days notice everyone works around the clock and kills themselves for a week! Regardless, the only thing that keeps ofsted away are good results and it doesn't matter how good a teacher you are and all the hard work you put in. Bureaucracy!

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