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Protect teachers and education from a damaging policy

Lewisham NUT believes that the Government’s Performance Management scheme will damage education. At the very best, it will prove to be another burden on overworked staff. At worst, Performance Management could develop into a serious threat to teachers’ pay and conditions.

Performance Management is part and parcel of the Government’s agenda of placing the blame for educational difficulties on teacher performance while failing to provide the support and resources that would really help schools. Alongside OFSTED, it is also another way of putting teachers under pressure and imposing the Government’s chosen educational thinking onto schools. These points are explained in more detail in the Lewisham NUT/STOPP Briefing Notes which should be read alongside this advice.

While continuing to call for the present scheme to be abandoned, the immediate task facing teachers is to make sure that the Performance Management Policy adopted in their school offers the greatest protection possible against the dangers contained in the Government’s Performance Management proposals.

Demand proper consultation - ask Heads for a

written draft for union comment and amendment

Each individual Governing Body has a duty to introduce a Performance Management Policy by December 31 2000 "developed after consultation with staff". Teachers must insist that there is thorough and adequate consultation on the policy. The NUT is prepared to ballot members for action where Heads refuse to consult on the policy (see inside).

Because Performance Management is the responsibility of individual governing bodies, different schools will adopt different ways of putting together a policy. Some schools are using the INSET day on Performance Management to ask teachers to comment or contribute to the school policy. Where this happens, union reps must point out that this is not sufficient for the Union to agree that there has been adequate consultation.

NUT members must insist that Governors produce a draft policy which is then circulated to staff for comment and amendment. In those discussions, NUT members should put forward the amendments proposed in this advice.

Urge that the NUT Model Policy is used as a starting point if you can

Not surprisingly, busy governors are going to be keen to look at "off the shelf" policies to help them put their own version together. However, this means that there is a real danger that the unacceptable NASUWT/SHA or DfEE model policies are adopted by schools. These could lead to serious problems for teachers if adopted unamended.

The NUT has produced a Model Policy which provides the best starting-point for any discussion. Copies can be obtained from the Lewisham NUT Office or from the NUT website at www.teachers.org.uk.

Oppose the adoption of the DfEE’s Model Policy

The DfEE have produced a Model Performance Management Policy which some schools may be looking to adopt. It is important to emphasise that this policy has no more legal status than any other. It is certainly not a model that the NUT can accept.

The DfEE Model Policy appears to include some "supportive" language in places but in reality there are no specific safeguards to protect teachers. Unamended, it leaves teachers open to significant dangers.

In particular, the DfEE Model Policy:

• refers specifically to taking into account "Key Stage, GCSE and other outcomes from June/August 2001 in considering pupil progress". ( DfEE Model Policy, Section 5(c) )

• allows performance management to be linked with pay. ( Section 7 )

• uses an OFSTED-style lesson observation form and even refers to "guidance in the OFSTED handbooks for ... judging the quality of lessons". ( Annex C )

Do not accept the NASUWT/SHA Model Policy

Some months ago, the NASUWT and SHA, the Secondary Heads’ Association, jointly issued a "Best Practice" Model Performance Management Policy. Unfortunately, not only does it not offer much in the way of safeguards for teachers, in some respects it increases the threat of teachers being put under unacceptable pressure.

In particular, the NASUWT/SHA Policy:

• allows for three (or more) hours classroom observation. ( NAS/SHA Policy, Point 8 )

• invites "deficiencies" identified by Performance Management to be used to prompt "the implementation of the capability procedure". ( Point 29 )

• the capability procedure referred to is the "agreed National Scheme". This could mean the Government’s latest capability proposals which propose a further hardening of the draconian elements of the outline procedure, especially ‘fast-track sackings’.

The NUT doesn’t lightly criticise other unions but we have to point out the dangers for all teachers. Many NASUWT members will share our concerns.

Lewisham NUT’s Recommended Amendments to Policies

Try to get as many of these amendments as possible included in your school policy. We list where alterations should be made to the NUT, NAS/SHA and DfEE model policies :

A. LIMITING THE NUMBER AND NATURE OF INDIVIDUAL OBJECTIVES

Amendment One: There will be a maximum of three objectives.

NUT Policy - point already included under Stage 1: Planning (page 5).

NAS/SHA Policy - point 4 states that three objectives will be agreed.

DfEE Policy - amend first sentence of second paragraph under Stage 1: Planning.

Amendment Two: Pupil progress targets will not be based on SATs or GCSE results.

NUT Policy - amend to end of first paragraph under Stage 1: Planning (page 5).

NAS/SHA Policy - amend to end of point 4.

DfEE Policy - add to third paragraph under Stage 1: Planning. The first sentence under Section 5.(c) "Formal Reviews Autumn Term" must be deleted.

Amendment Three: Professional development targets will not require teachers to work outside their existing contracts.

NUT Policy - amend to end of first paragraph under Stage 1: Planning (page 5)

NAS/SHA Policy - amend to end of point 4.

DfEE Policy - add to third paragraph under Stage 1: Planning.

Amendment Four: No objectives will be set without providing the necessary training, time and resources that a teacher requires to meet them.

NUT Policy - amend to end of first paragraph under Stage 1: Planning (page 5)

NAS/SHA Policy - amend to end of point 4.

DfEE Policy - add to third paragraph under Stage 1: Planning.

B. LIMITING THE THREAT OF ADDITIONAL WORKLOAD

Amendment Five: The Policy should contain the following points:

All arrangements for performance review will take place within teachers’ directed time of 1265 hours per year. The Headteacher will advise the Governing Body as to the time costs of performance management and their impact on other activities within directed time. the Governing Body will seek the advice of the Headteacher on whether it is necessary to remove areas of activity, which are displaced by the introduction of performance review. The school will provide the necessary resources to ensure that:

• Performance review meetings between team leaders and teachers can take place during the school day.

• Sufficient cover is provided for classroom observation, and other aspects of performance management, so that there is no splitting of classes or other increases in class size nor reduction in non-contact time or teacher support time. This applies for both team leaders and teachers being reviewed.

NUT Policy - in section under "Directed Time" but added to in line with workload action.

NAS/SHA Policy - add as new point in the "Introduction".

DfEE Policy - add as new paragraph in Section 6. "Performance Management Cycle".

C. THE TIMING OF THE FIRST PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT CYCLE

Amendment Six: The Governing Body will use the full 18 months allowed under the

Regulations for the first cycle from January 2000 to June 2002.

NUT Policy - National NUT seeking amendment of original timetable on Page 4

NAS/SHA Policy - add to point 3 "The Annual Performance Management Cycle".

DfEE Policy - amend 5.(c) Formal Reviews and delete reference to Autumn 2001.

D. LIMITING THE USE OF PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT FOR PRP

Amendment Seven: The outcome of performance management reviews will not be used for withholding annual experience increments from staff.

NUT Policy - replace second sentence under paragraph "up to the threshold".

NAS/SHA Policy - replace second sentence in point 31, "up to the threshold".

DfEE Policy - add to bullet point "up to the threshold" in 7. Links between pay ...

Amendment Eight: This school will not exercise the power to use information from performance reviews to determine the pay of teachers.

NUT Policy - add to paragraph on "Relevant info. from Review Statements".

NAS/SHA Policy - replace points 32 and 33.

DfEE Policy - delete last sentence of bullet point "threshold" and delete whole of bullet point "performance pay points" under 7. Links between pay ...

E. LIMITING THE USE OF PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT FOR CAPABILITY

Amendment Nine: This school will not exercise the power to use information from performance reviews as part of any capability process

NUT Policy - add to paragraph on "Capability Procedures" ( page 8 ).

NAS/SHA Policy - replace the whole of point 29 ( and rename its sub-heading).

DfEE Policy - add to paragraph on "Managing Weak Performance"

F. PROTECTING TEACHERS FROM UNNECESSARY CLASSROOM OBSERVATION

Amendment Ten: The Policy should contain the following points:

The requirements for classroom observation should be limited to no more than one classroom observation per teacher within the review cycle, not exceeding 60 minutes, subject to an entitlement that a teacher could request a further observation for 60 minutes. Agreement should be sought between the job holder and team leader on the focus for the observation and when the observation and feedback will take place.

NUT Policy - included in the section under Stage 2: Monitoring Progress.

NAS/SHA Policy - replace points 8 and 9 with the wording above.

DfEE Policy - amend third paragraph under Stage2: Monitoring Progress and delete reference to "DfEE proforma" and replace Annex C.

G. RIGHTS ON REPRESENTATION AND INFORMATION FROM "OTHER PEOPLE"

Amendment Eleven: Throughout the target-setting and performance review process, staff have the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative, if requested.

NUT Policy - add to Section on "The Application of the Policy" ( page 3 ).

NAS/SHA Policy - add as a new point in the "Introduction"

DfEE Policy - add to Section 3. Roles

Amendment Twelve: These sources should be mutually agreed. All information used should be in writing, attributable, signed and dated.

( This amends the statutory sentence on the team leader seeking information on the "teacher’s performance from other people" )

NUT Policy - add to fourth paragraph under Stage 2: Monitoring Progress.

NAS/SHA Policy - add to end of point 10.

DfEE Policy - add to second paragraph under Stage 2: Monitoring Progress.

NUT Workload Action and Performance Management Policies

When being consulted on Performance Management Policies, NUT members might want to point out that many of the points in the NUT checklist for policies could be backed up by Union action. This is because the NUT has just issued further guidance as to areas that are covered by the union’s ballot for action on bureaucracy and workload.

The areas that are covered by the ballot include where schools :

• impose a shorter first review cycle than teachers wish (it could extend to July 2002);

• allocate an unreasonable number of reviews to individual team leaders;

• set more than three objectives for a teacher;

• set inappropriate objectives for a teacher;

• attempt to impose more than one classroom observation per year on a teacher

• attempt to impose classroom observations lasting more than 60 minutes;

• increase class size or reduce non-contact time in order to facilitate observations;

• attempts to impose excessive documentation requirements ( for example, the Lesson Observation Time/Events Log and Assessment Forms from the DfEE Model Policy );

• attempts to set observations at times with which the teachers disagree.

 

The NUT Executive have also agreed that they may also be prepared to hold further ballots for action in schools where

* Governors are involved in teachers’ reviews * Heads refuse to consult on the policy

* Review meetings are held outside the school day * Links with pay are imposed

Who will be the "team leaders" in your school ?

As well as the recommended amendments listed, NUT members should also ensure that the school’s policy is clear on who will be the "team leaders" who carry out the performance reviews.

Under the old ‘appraisal’ system, many policies allowed a "choice of appraiser". You may want to include in your policy at least the right to opt for an alternative team leader where the teacher objects to the one appointed by the Headteacher.

Many teachers in posts of responsibility may also be unhappy about being a "team leader". It will mean increased workload and could also threaten staff relationships, particularly if reviews are used for pay, promotion or capability. The national Conditions of Service for classroom teachers only include "participating" in appraisal. Only Heads and Deputy Heads’ conditions state "supervising" appraisal. This may be grounds to object to being a team leader. Ring Lewisham NUT if you would like more advice.