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6 20 0 ER N W IN R D A W A SH IP ER EM B M N A L A TI O N

THE 63rd EDITION FOR ALL PLYMOUTH TEACHERS OCTOBER 2006

A GOOD LOCAL SCHOOL FOR EVERY CHILD PERFORMANCE NUT TO MANAGEMENT— BALLOT here we go again… Sixteen years after Charles Dickens MEMBERS wrote in Hard Times about Thomas Gradgrind’s oppressive school regime, the National Union of Teachers was founded. Its prime purpose in 1870 was to oppose payment by results. Teachers’ income and contract renewals then largely depended on how well pupils did in tests.

Draft regulations published last June were intended to be rushed in to force for this school year. Only the protests of the NUT, alone amongst school unions, has won a postponement until September 2007. This reprieve gives us time to ballot members, plan our campaign and brief school Reps.

Talk about this in your staffroom...

The NUT will hold a ballot during October and November asking members to endorse the NUT’s guidance on the new proposals– reducing workload and Schools have protecting members from any unnecessary contacted us about burden on appraisers the award of the and appraisees. It will NUT standards also help head teachers mark. To join in to comply with the new contact our performance pay regulations, and at the President Martin Edmonds same time have a [see back page] practical and workable procedure in place for To take part all concerned.

VOTE YES ! X

in and be protected by the result of the ballot you must be a member of the NUT

Endorsed by classroom teachers everywhere—now even more essential Call the Joining Hotline 0845 300 1669


TRUST SCHOOLS UPDATE—as the Education Bill passes through its various stages in both Houses of Parliament, changes are inevitably made. We now find that the trust school’s business partner will be able to nominate some of the parent governors. So, although a third of governors may be parents, their independence must be questioned. There will still be very few staff or teacher governors and we know that the structure of trust school governing bodies is designed to limit their ability to balance the controlling interest of the “partner”. The other interesting piece of information is that all the innovations pathfinder trust school HTs expound can be done now...so what’s in it for the business sponsor? You certainly won’t be told!

A naked Sooty asks Education Secretary Alan Johnson MP a question

What’s that Sooty? “Is a teaching assistant now synonymous with a teacher?”

Government wants: 1. Unlimited performance objectives 2. Unspecified performance criteria 3. At least 3 hours of lesson observation per cycle, excluding OfSTED or Local Authority observations 4. Unlimited scrutiny by heads [now called “drop-ins”] 5. Middle-managers no longer just responsible for teaching and learning, but also to review your pay 6. No limit to reviewers’ workload

NUT predicts: Increased discrimination against teachers who are black, female, disabled, union activists or carers Shattering of professional trust between colleagues Greater favouritism

NUT calls for at least: No more than 3 performance objectives per cycle No more than 3 reviewees per reviewer Maximum 1 hour of lesson observations per cycle

Performance Management—briefly...

Official GCSE statistics ‘meaningless’

Are you the new NUT Rep or mail distributor in your school? Tell John on 01752 707606 so he can update your address label today! s.m.leonard@btinternet.com

Guardian Letters: An MP writes:

The latest Government statistics show another jump in GCSE attainment in English secondary schools, with 59% of students achieving five or more qualifications equivalent to GCSE grade C or above, up nearly two percentage points from 2005. As the last edition of NUTshells predicted, these statistics have been described as “meaningless” by the Independent Schools Council (ISC), who claim that they do not give a true picture of the education sector in England because they do not include results for the International GCSE (iGCSE). Official figures show that attainment on the new standard for this year’s league tables was 45.8%, up 1.5 percentage points. ISC Chairman Edward Gould disputed the figures, saying: “Around a third of independent secondary schools teach to the iGCSE curriculum in at least one subject. Many schools see iGCSE as a better preparation for advanced level study. We believe that the doors should be opened to allow maintained schools to teach iGCSE if they wish. That can only happen if the iGCSE qualification is included within the National Qualifications Framework, and therefore the results are included in the published performance tables. As long as we have the nonsensical situation of performance tables excluding iGCSE results, the effect will be that some of the most outstanding schools in the country get no credit for their success. Ending this anomaly is long overdue.” A better way of ending this long overdue anomaly is to have no league tables—like Wales & Scotland!


Your guide to the Performance Management Spin The Spin

The Reality

The quotes in this column are from the social partner unions and other RIG partners

The comments in this column are based on published guidance and briefings to London HTs by the DfES

“Teachers now need an improved system of identifying development opportunities and reviewing career progression.”

HTs have been advised to find ways of slowing down the number getting on to the upper pay scale. [This will already be familiar to many teachers].

“The revised performance management arrangements are another building block to a confident, empowered teaching profession.”

Middle-managers as reviewers will be made to decide who progresses through the upper pay scales, on top of their teaching and learning responsibilities. There will be friction with HTs who reject a reviewer’s decision. The reviewer’s workload will rise.

“A more transparent and consistent process will be in place which identifies the objectives set and the support and professional development which will be put in place to support teachers.”

Although the Local Authority will be required to publish a policy regarding classroom observations, in reality it may be a constant threat. What will happen if the observation policy agreed where you work is ignored for some colleagues?

“Our proposals will achieve better planning for performance management at the start of the year, more transparency, fairness and consistency in assessments at the end, and help to ensure teachers and head teachers have access to continuous professional development.”

Threshold standards will change. If a UPS3 teacher is only ‘satisfactory’ then OfSTED will want to know why. If those already on UPS3 do not continue to meet the new standards then HTs may need to think about capability procedures as a prelude to redundancy.

“Teachers cannot be held responsible for not meeting objectives if the individual professional support agreed at the beginning of the cycle does not happen.”

Is CPD readily available to all the teachers in your school? What will you do if the CPD agreed at the beginning of the cycle is not fulfilled?

“The amount and level of objectives must be reasonable and achievable within the context of the school, and the individual teacher’s job description and experience.”

There is no upper limit to the number of objectives [targets] that may be set. If HTs let someone get to M6 too easily then they will expect to go through the threshold. Targets could be set on the “edge of a performance comfort zone,” choking off access to UPS pay levels.

“The revised performance management arrangements will bring much needed clarity, fairness and transparency to the process. The aim is to develop a culture where those who manage teachers and head teachers engage in a professional dialogue with them, respect them as professionals and make decisions about their work in an open and fair manner.”

The teamwork essential to any school will be shattered because, like pupils jumping through the SATs hoops, teachers could spend a great deal of their time doing whatever is necessary to meet their targets. Some may feel professional objectivity will be overtaken by more partial decisions. Will budget quotas force more negative reviews?

Research on who “won” in the TLR reshuffle has found that...well, can you guess the categories of teachers who seem to have lost out? They were either black, female, disabled, union activists or carers. The DfES said they would monitor the outcome of the TLR restructure, but have so far failed to do so. One wonders why...


Parents expect their children to be taught while they are at school by qualified teachers. Cover supervisers may only be used when no actual teaching takes place [statement from the DfES & RIG Guidance]. We know that the government has advised HTs and governors that schools can allow TAs or any person to take whole classes. Parents are often not fully informed of the implications for their children when non-teachers take charge of the class. The NUT believes that TAs and other support staff should be paid properly for the professional work they do. That should be the priority rather than using them to replace teachers. So, If your school only uses qualified teachers to teach whole classes let us know so we can bestow the kite mark on your school. Contact our President, Martin Edmonds at : edmonds_m@tamarside.co.uk Contact plymnut@teacher.clara.co.uk with your questions

A member asks, “Do I have to be a subject or key stage co-ordinator without a TLR? Answer: No—it’s in the School Teachers’ Pay & Conditions Document. If your job description meets the TLR requirements, a TLR should be awarded.

A member asks, “Am I allowed out of school at lunchtime?” Answer: Yes—lunchtime is nondirected time. You are not paid to work during lunchtime so you should not be asked to attend any meetings...and you can go out to the bank, go home for lunch or hit the shops!

A member asks: “I am a 0.6 p/t teacher and my HT told me that I will have to attend all 5 inset days. Is this correct?” Answer: No—you only need to attend 3 inset days, and if they’re held on days when you normally wouldn’t work, you must be paid an extra day’s pay.

CLASSROOM DROP-INS MAY CAUSE MORE DROP-OUTS !

WITHOUT THE PROTECTION AFFORDED BY THE NUT BALLOT, THERE WILL BE NO LIMIT TO THE NUMBER OF OBSERVATIONS YOU CAN SUFFER IN THE NAME OF PERFORMANCE MANEGEMENT

The NUT...The Largest Teachers’ Organisation in Europe… Our Aim:Professional Unity

Nutshells #63 Oct 06  

The newsletter of the Plymouth National Union of Teachers