For over a year, there has been an ongoing concern over excessive observations at a Lewisham secondary school. Even worse, those observation outcomes are then linked to a system where teachers are placed in groups according to Ofsted categories. These can, and have been, then linked to harsh capability procedures.
Following the announcement of our action short of strike action, the school NUT rep sought discussions with the Headteacher, seeking changes to procedures to meet the NUT/NASUWT check-lists.
Unfortunately, the Headteacher has said that the profiling system will continue with staff being allocated into the categories of Satisfactory; Satisfactory to Good; Good; and Good to Outstanding (now downgraded from 'outstanding' which is no longer listed as a category !)
Staff would be observed too often, without adequate notice, nor with agreement over the lesson to be seen – only being given a ‘window’ of 6 periods:
• Each observation period will include 2 lesson observations over a 6 period 'window'
• Each teacher receives 48 hours notice of their 6 period window
• A teacher deemed “Satisfactory to Good” would receive 4 observation periods over the next four half-terms – i.e eight observations. ‘Satisfactory’ and ‘inadequate’ teachers may receive even more.
A joint NUT/NASUWT meeting this evening agreed that these arrangements were unacceptable as they
• were in clear breach of the NUT/NASUWT Joint Classroom Observation Protocol
• focus on Ofsted categories rather than performance management objectives
• fail to provide genuine professional development and support to teachers
Following discussion, the meeting of 39 NUT members and 10 NASUWT members voted in support of proceeding to escalate to strike action. A secret paper ballot was issued to NUT members asking if they would support strike action if called upon by the National Union. The votes were 38 YES, 1 abstention, 0 NO. NASUWT members met as a sub-group and agreed to support the NUT’s decision.
The meeting agreed with a proposal that we urgently seek a meeting with the Head and Chair of Governors to seek urgent negotiation over an acceptable appraisal and observation procedure but that, if there was a refusal to meet before the half-term break, we would ask that the NUT and NASUWT issue a notice for strike action.
Look out for further updates on this story