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Will things eventually get better or should I jump ship now?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by mostkopf, Nov 9, 2015.

  1. mostkopf

    mostkopf New commenter

    I work at an outstanding school, with good kids. My pupils achieve excellent results at GCSE (84% A-C), A level (ALPS score 3) and BTEC (74% D-L2P). Despite all of this, I'm still thinking of getting out of teaching.

    I can hear scores of teachers in difficult schools lining up to take my place.

    The continual changes in course specifications and my heads obsession with even better results are slowly grinding me down. This years exam review meetings didn't even include a thank you, just 'you need to get more A* grades'. The expectation is that teachers will do whatever it takes to provide intervention to achieve grades.

    The schools Performance Related Pay system calls for targets that break all of the union guidance.... I.e. 'students will exceed targets'

    The MPS has now been changed from 6 bands to 11, with young teachers being expected to be graded as outstanding in order to move up 2 bands (1 on the old system)

    Teachers on the UPS are clearly too expensive, with teachers being told they may be taken off the UPS if they don't demonstrate a whole school responsibility.

    We are starting to lose science and maths teachers to schools who pay better, but SMT seem to think people will want to work here as we are an outstanding school.

    My HoD is being managed out, which basically involves their line manager and SMT picking holes in EVERYTHING they do. They were signed off for several weeks last year and has been told any more time off will result in a written warning. SMT seem to be quite happy destroying the HoD and don't seem too concerned about the physical or mental effects of their actions.

    All staff have been contacted by unions after the large number of enquiries this year. We have been asked to complete a confidential well being survey, but I doubt it will improve the situation.

    With the changes this government has brought in to teaching I'm beginning to think that they have destroyed the job I love.

    IS THERE ANY CHANCE THINGS WILL IMPROVE? Or should I get out now? I'm in my mid forties and can't see myself lasting into my 60s with the way things are.

    Let's just hope I haven't been out of industry for too long.
  2. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Sorry... it is extremely unlikely things will get any better.

    You might as well join the long queue of people jumping ship.

    11 scales of MPS? Oh god.

    Taken off UPS? Oh god...

    Just save yourself from this insanity.
  3. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    But if this is happening it will not stay an outstanding school and people will not flock to work there.

    Can't they see this? :confused:
  4. mostkopf

    mostkopf New commenter

    They seem to be oblivious to this.
    They are actively seeking to only grade teachers as good to avoid giving them a full pay rise. Not sure how Ofsted could grade a school full of good teachers as outstanding.
    Missbubbleblue likes this.
  5. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    The answer to that is that Ofsted verdicts are only correct 49% of the time (and less for outstanding verdicts!) as shown by research conducted by Professor Robert Coe that demolished the myth of objectivity (not that many half intelligent people believed that anyway):

    The stark conclusion is that when comparing a lesson judgement of teacher quality against its ‘actual’ quality (as defined by the Value Added progress made by pupils in that class), the lesson judgements often do not tally. In fact, overall the results are worse than flipping a coin – there is a 49% chance that the quality of the lesson will be empirically the same as judged, and a 51% chance that it will not be the same as that assessed by an observation. For lessons on either extreme (either Outstanding or Inadequate), the accuracy falls away even faster – with at best a 71% chance and an 83% chance that an observed judgement of a lesson into one of these two categories is wrong

    In answer to your question though, get outta there!

    (and take those "outstandings" with a big pinch of salt in the first place!)
  6. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I once mentioned to the DH that the observations were subjective. Oh god he got so... worked up.

    I just said 'yeah but it's just an opinion'.

    If you want to rile up SLT that's always a good one.
  7. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Now you've gone, you should email him a link to the Policy Exchange Report that used Coe's research:

    http://www.policyexchange.org.uk/images/publications/watching the watchmen.pdf
    (It's even funnier cos Gove set up Policy Exhange)

    Watching the Watchmen finds that observing lessons during an inspection, an activity which takes up a considerable amount of time and money, is neither valid nor reliable. Research suggests that there is a fifty-fifty chance that the lesson observation does not tally with the actual progress made by pupils in a class. While Ofsted has told its inspectors not to grade lesson observations, this clarification does not go far enough. In a self improving school system, Headteachers should be at the forefront of making judgements as to their school, with the inspectors’ role being to scrutinise rather than make judgements themselves without sufficient time and evidence.
    Missbubbleblue and Veerwal like this.
  8. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    I'm watching the TV programme 'Aldi's Supermarket Secrets' lots of parallel to the toxic environment that is education at the moment.

    Unpaid work, unsafe working practices, unworkable performance management targets etc ...

    Rug and broom sales must be going through the roof at the moment.

    Gsr25, lanokia, irs1054 and 1 other person like this.
  9. jomaimai

    jomaimai Established commenter

    OH MY LORD! Why is this the first time I am reading this report?

    It confirms what I suspected!
    At some point, I thought I was a Martian because I could not and cannot believe in graded lesson observations.
  10. drek

    drek Star commenter

    There are some teachers who still believe in the hype. If someone believes they are an outstanding teacher, they go around removing subject specialists from their posts, and then replace them with outstanding graded staff, who don't have a clue about the subject.
    There is no shortage of outstanding fools in the system, but there is a growing number of subject specialists who don't wish to teach because of the crass manner in which gove's changes to employment policies and laws were applied in the public sector over the past few years.
    I call it the age of the administrator.
    Office staff going on short one day courses, coming back with BTEC style certificates in HR, and taking on management positions, with one aim only. To break the terms and conditions of front line staff in the public sector
    Veerwal likes this.
  11. Vince_Ulam

    Vince_Ulam Star commenter

    I'm expecting them to sponsor a couple of academies any day now.
    hellothisismyusername likes this.
  12. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    @mostkopf - it sounds as though things are tough for you and your colleagues.

    Is this an Academy? Or does your school still go by STPCD?

    I ask because you say:

    However, under STPCD 2015, you cannot be taken off UPS:

    A relevant body must pay a teacher on the upper pay range if: a) the teacher is employed in a school as a post-threshold teacher, for as long as the teacher is so employed at that school without a break in the continuity of their employment;

    STPCD page 21

    So either:

    a) you - or other teachers - have misunderstood what you heard
    b) SLT are not Outstanding enough to actually read and understand a pretty basic document
    c) they are making empty threats

    If you have the opportunity to go back into industry, then you are fortunate, as you will probably maintain or improve your pay level.

    Other teachers - even those not actually earning the £65k that is being bandied about;) - will find it difficult to match their teaching salaries.

    Best wishes

    mostkopf likes this.
  13. mostkopf

    mostkopf New commenter


    Thank you for your reply. Sadly we are an Academy, but fortunately not one from the horrid chains I keep reading about.

    I can assure you that our entire teaching staff have not misunderstood and I'm sure several will have challenged it as individuals. Unfortunately, we have no collective voice within the school and less than 20 of us went on strike when last asked to do so. Our SMT seem to think they can now do what they want and to a point its true.

    Our HoDs were instructed at a curriculum managers meeting to tell staff on the UPS that they would need to ensure that they demonstrate a whole school responsibility in the next performance management cycle or they will face losing the UPS status. This has not been clarified as a drop down within the UPS scale or a complete removal.

    I suspect it is more likely to be a combination of b) and c) from your suggestions.

    You can see why the unions are contacting staff privately to ask about their well being.

  14. Gsr25

    Gsr25 Occasional commenter

    Retail is dreadful for it! I have a few friends who work in retail management and I've heard some dreadful things.
    But yes I was trying to buy a broom recently and they were all out...
  15. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    Lanokia, lesson observations are subjective, that is why we do 'Lesson study' instead.

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