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Warning of Observations

Discussion in 'Pay and conditions' started by noodledoodle, Jul 4, 2011.

  1. Hi
    I was wondering if there is guidance, rules regarding how much warning we are supposed to get before we are observed?
    It is not for performance managment, but for the SMT to observe various key strands of students and we were warned on Friday that some staff would be affected and we would be told,
    We were notified of who by a notice in the staff room this morning. Some were observed first lesson today.
    I have found guidelines on my unions website saying 5 working days but wondered if this was a rule?

  2. becktonboy

    becktonboy New commenter

    If these are as described and perhaps classified as 'drop-ins' there isn't a lot to do about them, except ensure there is no formal feedback and no written record of the observation. If anything is written down it becomes part of your staff record and you have the right to scrutinise it, you could also raise the issue with your union rep, gauge opinion with your colleagues, demand a copy of the schools LO protocol (a rewquired appendix to PM policy)to ensure these fit in with it. If feeling is strong enough you could refuse to cooperate with them but that's a long shot.
  3. There is nothing to prevent or prohibit written notes made as a result of "drop ins".
    Neither is there a limit on the number of (non - PMgt related) observations a teacher can undergo.
    The results of observations are not always negative.
    One would hope that commonsense would prevail.

  4. I have no issue with being observed, its the level of warning we have been given, 20 mins for one person I think is unfair.
    It just seems we are constantly under scrutiny at the moment
  5. tomjones79

    tomjones79 New commenter

    Whilst I agree with much of what MsDaisyChain has written. Drop-ins, learning walks etc. should be 5-10 mins max, not 15-20. Any longer than 10 would then class as a formal observation.

    this is guidance from the unions and clarified by RIG
  6. reg1950

    reg1950 New commenter

    I looked in my copy of the RIG guidance and in the PM Model policy and there's no such statement or any limit at all on the length of a drop in. Please give us a link to the RIG source for your assertion. I don't believe what you have posted is correct. Thank you.
  7. I have heard this bandied about too, but have not been able to find it.
    Union guidance is simply that. It is guidance to members, it has no significant weight at all. Similarly, as I recall RIG also offered only guidance.
  8. tomjones79

    tomjones79 New commenter

    After checking I do apologise for the RIG mistake. There is nothing specific after checking.

    However, union and National College for School Leadership guidance is 5-10 minutes. If the school leadership guidance is this, that's a pretty strong case to put forward to management as to good practice.

    It begs the question as to, if it's a "drop-in" to quickly assess learning across the school, how on earth should that take more than 10 minutes. If it does, surely this then becomes an observation of the teacher.
  9. reg1950

    reg1950 New commenter

    I can't find this either, although there's so much stuff on NCSL site it's not easy to find things. Please can you post a link to the document you are referring to
    Who said drop ins are only to "quickly" assess learning "across the school"? Neither of those phrases is in the RIG guidance or PM Model policy. A head teacher has a duty to evaluate the standards of teaching and learning and to ensure that proper standards of professional performance are established and maintained so drop ins can properly be used by the head to observe individual teachers for performance-related reasons.
  10. tomjones79

    tomjones79 New commenter

    "A head teacher has a duty to evaluate the standards of teaching and learning and to ensure that proper standards of professional performance are established and maintained so drop ins can properly be used by the head to observe individual teachers for performance-related reasons. "

    Contradiction here, obviously the head teacher has the duty as specified. Drops-ins however should not be used to observe individual teachers, this is done with formal observations for performance management.

    Are you a head or on management? There should be a school policy and as a rep. I would tear apart any policy that wanted to use drop-ins for performance mgt. Any good school rep. would not allow this.

  11. tomjones79

    tomjones79 New commenter

    I can't access the secure area for NCSL but the NUT guidance quotes the source from the NCSL in the appendix. If you search for the lesson observation model doc on the NUT website this confirms this.

    As I said it's not law, it's good guidance. You can drop in but this should not be used for performance management, it is totally unfair practice and far too subjective.
  12. reg1950

    reg1950 New commenter

    No, just a teacher who has never worked in a school which shared your view on restricting drop ins. If it was true that drop ins couldn't be used to observe individual teachers then no teacher on capability could be observed for more than 3 hours a year. That has never been true and the DfE has stated that in the DfE PM consultation document.

    I must say tomjones79 that you are fond of claiming that various outside bodies support your view but when challenged to provide links or quote the alleged document nothing ever appears from you. Union guidance if it is based on or expanding or exemplifying offical guidance is one thing, but union guidance that doesn't reflect any official guidance is in my experience just wishful thinking by the union, what they'd like to have got into the official guidance but couldn't. You must work in schools with very weak haeds if they let you bar them from drop ins for observing individual teachers for whom there are capability concerns.
  13. tomjones79

    tomjones79 New commenter

    Capability procedures are totally different and go on entirely different rules. As I said drop ins can't be used for PM for teachers not on competency. I presume you don't have the detailed knowledge to understand the competency issues that can and can't be followed.

    Guidance from the NUT quotes the NCSL and is fact, as a rep. I have the document. Not legal but just good management, it's common sense and the school works better if things are done properly. Obviously not the case in your school. More pity you.
  14. tomjones79

    tomjones79 New commenter

    Oh and here's the link to the doc. for the NUT guidance using quotes from the NCSL.

    Oh and heads who follow recommended guidance from unions must be "very weak". Perhaps another form of management might work that you can't seem to comprehend.

  15. reg1950

    reg1950 New commenter

    Please don't patronise me tomjones79 and don't misquote me either. Call me old fashioned if you like, I don't mind that, but what I think (and what I said) is that heads who let the NUT tell them how to run drop ins are weak; it's heads who such run schools not you the NUT rep. You aren't helping the original poster. It may be NUT's opinion that drop ins by the head can't be used to observe an individual teacher's capability but it is not a 'fact' nor anyone's guidance except union guidance, and not a view shared by the DfE or my LA or anyone else I've ever heard advise on the subject. The NCSL document quoted by NUT is about the entirely different matter of Learning Walks, not drop ins under PM protocols and you are misleading readers of this thread by claiming otherwise.
  16. tomjones79

    tomjones79 New commenter

    I think the issue seems to be one of our difference in terminology, I was classifying what you call 'drop-ins' as learning walks and I can say where the difference in opinion comes about there.

    Presumably you are understanding drop-ins to be unnanounced observations which although legal are not best practice. When you talk about capability proceedings these are entirely different. Good practice for observations should be to be given a reasonable amount of warning such as 5 days and should be in a school policy.

    What a shame you don't see the positive aspects of the union helping to provide a suitable procedure. Of course unions do not run the school. It's embattled attitudes such as this about only the heads running the school that leads to a lot of problems for all.
  17. Whatever about notice being given in good time that they will go ahead, I am concerned at present that I have had no written or verbal feedback following one. I say this as my temporary hourly paid contract has expired and I am concerned that my less than flattering comments about what was being done there will now be rewarded 'retrospectively' with a less than flattering observation feedback. Yet again one is inclined to ask: where are the unions when you need them.
  18. tomjones79

    tomjones79 New commenter

    You should be given written feedback along with a discussion in a reasonable amount of time for a formal observation (I would say about a week or two is more than enough time for that). There should be a school policy for this, althouh legally there doesn't have to be.

    I would ring a local area rep. for specific advice, as I understand your concerns.
    In terms of the unions, I understand your frustration, but the government ultimately makes the legislation and I'm sure you're aware governments often don't tend to listen to unions.

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