REMOVAL OF BAD TEACHERS
Government offers optional model policy for appraising and dismissing teachers
The Government has published an optional model policy for schools to streamline and speed up the process for appraising and dismissing bad teachers. The ‘Guidance and Model Policy for Appraising and Managing Teacher Performance’ includes procedures to use when dealing with underperforming teachers. The Government says that these procedures are shorter and less complex than the current procedures and will make it possible, in some cases at least, for schools to dismiss incompetent teachers in about a term. The ‘optional’ policy ‘sets out the framework for a clear and consistent assessment of the overall performance of teachers, including the head teacher, and for supporting their development within the context of the school’s improvement plan, and the standards expected of teachers’. It also sets out the arrangements that will apply when teachers fall below the levels of competence or conduct that are expected of them. It says for example ‘The amount and type of classroom observation will depend on the individual circumstances of the appraisee and the overall needs of the school. In addition to formal observation, head teachers or other leaders may “drop in” in order to evaluate the standards of teaching and learning and to check that high standards of professional performance are established and maintained.’
‘An appropriate monitoring period will be agreed which reflects individual circumstances, allows time for improvement and reflects the seriousness of the concerns. The period of monitoring may be extended depending on progress. If no or little improvement has been made after the monitoring period, or if the improvement still needed is great, the appraisee will be notified in writing and invited to a formal disciplinary meeting.’
‘Once the Governing Body (or insert details of person or people to whom the power has been delegated) has decided that the member of staff should no longer work at the school, it will notify the Local Authority of its decision and the reasons for it. Where the member of staff works solely at this school, the Local Authority must dismiss them within fourteen days of the date of the notification.’
The school will refer to the General Teaching Council for England (GTCE) any teacher it dismisses for misconduct or incompetence – or who it may have so dismissed if the teacher had not resigned first. Once the GTCE has been abolished, the school will consider whether or not to refer to the Secretary of State for Education any teacher it dismisses for serious misconduct and any teacher it may have so dismissed if the teacher had not resigned first.
The Government is also consulting on the proposal to introduce a new requirement on governing bodies to share information about whether or not a teacher or head teacher has been in capability procedures when this is requested by prospective employers. This is intended to help reduce the recycling of poor performers from school to school by enabling governing bodies to make better informed decisions when making teaching appointments.
There has been widespread concern, for a while now, over the fact that the management of bad teachers is generally poor and they are more often than not recycled around the system which acts as drag on performance throughout the system, quite apart from blighting the life opportunities of children in their care. The Teaching profession, in the form of the unions ,has largely failed to address this issue while concurrently complaining about the relatively low status of their profession. Self-evidently if the status is to be raised then the profession cannot tolerate poor performance and must uphold the highest standards that compare with the very best in the world.
Those teachers who are assessed as being bad should, of course, be given a chance to improve and given the necessary bespoke support. The chances are that most will improve, if given the right support. But if they fail to improve, either because they lack the ability or will, then they should be dismissed from the profession.
This ‘optional’ policy seeks to speed up the appraisal and dismissal process while affording time for poorly performing teachers to raise their game.