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Nutshells #63 Oct 06

Nutshells #63 Oct 06

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Published by: aphore on Oct 24, 2009
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10/24/2009

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Endorsed by classroom teachers everywhere—now even more essentialCall the
Joining Hotline 
0845 300 1669
 THE 63rd EDITION FOR ALL PLYMOUTH TEACHERS OCTOBER 2006
   N  A   T   I  O   N  A   L    M   E   M   B   E   R  S   H   I   P   A   W  A   R   D    W   I   N   N   E   R   2  0  0  6 
A GOOD LOCAL SCHOOL FOR EVERY CHILD
Schools havecontacted us aboutthe award of theNUT standardsmark. To join incontact ourPresident MartinEdmonds[see back page]
PERFORMANCEMANAGEMENT— 
 here we go again…
Sixteen years after Charles Dickenswrote in
Hard Times 
about ThomasGradgrind’s oppressive school regime,the National Union of Teachers was founded. Its prime purpose in 1870 wasto oppose payment by results.Teachers’ income and contract renewals then largely depended onhow well pupils did in tests.
Draft regulations published last June wereintended to be rushed in to force for thisschool year. Only the protests of the NUT,alone amongst school unions, has won a post-ponement until September 2007.This reprieve gives us time to ballot members,plan our campaign and brief school Reps.
Talk about this in your staffroom...
NUT TOBALLOTMEMBERS
The NUT will hold aballot during Octoberand November askingmembers to endorse theNUT’s guidance on thenew proposals–reducing workload andprotecting membersfrom any unnecessaryburden on appraisersand appraisees. It willalso help head teachersto comply with the newperformance payregulations, and at thesame time have apractical and workableprocedure in place forall concerned.
To take partin and beprotected by theresult of the ballotyou
 must
be amember of the NUT
VOTEYES !X
 
What’s that Sooty?
“Is a teaching assistant now synonymous with a teacher?” 
A naked Sooty asksEducation SecretaryAlan Johnson MPa question
Are you the newNUT Rep or maildistributor in your school?Tell John on 01752 707606so he can update youraddress labeltoday! 
s.m.leonard@btinternet.comGovernment wants:
 
1. Unlimited performance objectives2. Unspecified performance criteria3. At least 3 hours of lesson observation per cycle, excluding OfSTED or Local Authority observations4. Unlimited scrutiny by heads [now called “drop-ins”]5. Middle-managers no longer just responsible for teaching and learning, but also to review your pay6. No limit to reviewers’ workload
 NUT predicts:
Increased discrimination against teachers who are black, female, disabled, union activists or carersShattering of professional trust between colleaguesGreater favouritism
 
NUT calls for at least:
No more than 3 performance objectives per cycleNo more than 3 reviewees per reviewerMaximum 1 hour of lesson observations per cycle
Official GCSE statistics ‘meaningless’
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 percentagepoints 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 inEngland 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 1.5percentage 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 over- due.” 
A better way of ending this long overdue anomaly is to have no league tables—like Wales & Scotland!
 
TRUST SCHOOLS UPDATE
—as the EducationBill passes through its various stages in bothHouses of Parliament, changes are inevitablymade. We now find that the trust school’s businesspartner will be able to nominate some of the parentgovernors. So, although a third of governors maybe parents, their independence must be questioned.There will still be very few staff or teachergovernors and we know that the structure of trustschool governing bodies is designed to limit theirability to balance the controlling interest of the“partner”.The other interesting piece of information is thatall the innovations pathfinder trust school HTs ex-pound can be done
now
...so what’s in it for thebusiness sponsor? You certainly won’t be told!
PerformanceManagement—
briefly 
...
   G  u  a  r   d   i  a  n   L  e   t   t  e  r  s  :   A  n   M   P  w  r   i   t  e  s  :
 
 
The Spin The Reality 
The quotes in this column are from the social partnerunions and other RIG partnersThe comments in this column are based on publishedguidance 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 theupper pay scale. [This will already befamiliar to many teachers].
 
“The revised performance management arrangements are another building block to a confident, empowered teaching profession.” 
 
Middle-managers as reviewers will bemade to decide who progresses throughthe upper pay scales, on top of their teach-ing and learning responsibilities. There willbe friction with HTs who reject a reviewer’sdecision. 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 berequired to publish a policy regardingclassroom observations, in reality it may bea constant threat. What will happen if theobservation policy agreed where you workis ignored for some colleagues?
 
“Our proposals will achieve better plan- ning for performance management at the start of the year, more transparency, fair- ness 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 UPS3teacher is only ‘satisfactory’ then OfSTEDwill want to know why.
 
If those already on UPS3 do not continue tomeet the
ne
standards then HTs mayneed to think about capability proceduresas a prelude to redundancy.
 
Teachers cannot be held responsible for not meeting objectives if the individual professional support agreed at the begin- ning of the cycle does not happen.” 
 
Is CPD readily available to all the teachersin your school?What will you do if the CPD agreed at thebeginning 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 HTslet someone get to M6 too easily then theywill expect to go through the threshold.Targets could be set on the “edge of aperformance 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 willbe shattered because, like pupils jumpingthrough the SATs hoops, teachers couldspend a great deal of their time doingwhatever is necessary to meet theirtargets.Some may feel professional objectivity willbe overtaken by more partial decisions.Will budget quotas force more negativereviews?
 
Your guide to the PerformanceManagement Spin
 
Research on who “won” in the TLR reshuffle has found that...well, can you guess the categories of teachers whoseem to have lost out? They were either black, female, disabled, union activists or carers. The DfES said theywould monitor the outcome of the TLR restructure, but have so far failed to do so. One wonders why...

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