Sheer lunacy of a system which sees teachers penalised
Once again education has been in the news as the Government, in the form of Michael Gove, tells the nation how, what, where, why and when history shall be taught.
Inevitably, the cry for better teachers goes up – not just better teachers, but "outstanding" teachers.
A laudable aim, but if you want more outstanding teachers, consider this.
Every teacher is required to be observed a number of times throughout the year, which in itself is not a problem.
Business Cards From Only £10.95 Delivered www.myprint-247.co.ukView details
Contact: 01858 468192
Valid until: Friday, May 31 2013
However, the school at which my partner teaches (which is not atypical) requires, firstly, that every aspect of Governmental guidelines be seen to be included in one lesson, whether they are appropriate to that lesson or not.
Hence teachers have to create a whole lesson designed simply to be observed rather than a real-world scenario.
Secondly, every aspect of the lesson must be timed and those timings strictly adhered to during the course of the observation.
A while ago my partner was observed by a deputy head. At the end of the observation she was told she had been downgraded from "outstanding" to "good" because her starter had over run by 30 seconds.
Thirty seconds? What kind of insanity is that? What if a child asks a question?
Her most recent observation was just over a week ago.
Between us we spent three nights working until the early hours of the morning preparing a lesson plan.
At the end of the lesson she was, again, given "good". Asking what she needed to do to achieve "outstanding", she was told: "I would have given you 'outstanding' but your room needs refurbishing and hasn't really got enough space for all the children, so I am only giving you 'good'."
What, then, happened to: "Well done, despite your room being too small for a huge group and the head and governors not providing money for your department, that was an outstanding lesson!"
We have lots of "outstanding" teachers, more, probably, than anyone realises or is prepared to admit to.
What we lack is a management system capable of appreciating it, capable of supporting the staff and capable of making well-reasoned decisions.
What has happened here is an indication that the lunatics really are running the asylum, because to penalise a member of staff for taking a little extra time to explain something or because the workshop is not big enough is reprehensible and incredibly corrosive of morale.
A Tonge, Hinckley.