Wednesday 8 January 2014

Copland teachers denied chance to see pupils through to their exams

We have got used to teachers' professional views being ignored or thought of as no consequence, as in the case of the recent Radio4 panel discussion about history teaching with Michael Gove and academic historians, but with no actual history teachers present.

One would expect their views to be taken account of when a school is going through substantial changes and students will be affected.

However a meeting of the Interim Executive Board of Copland Community High School yesterday seemed to model their behaviour on that of Michael Gove.

The teacher unions had asked that leaving dates for staff made redundant be deferred until September so that they could continue to support their students who are taking examinations. The IEB decided that as all classes could be covered so all redundancies will take place at Easter.

Clearly from an educational point of view it is preferable, and perhaps essential, that teachers who know the students and their strengths and weaknesses and have taught them the subject, should see them all the way through to their examinations.

It appears that the IEB accepted the word of the headteacher on the issues discussed rather than subjecting them to the kind of rigorous challenge that Ofsted now expects regarding the quality of teaching and learning.


Anonymous said...

Copland's governing body was dismissed last July following the school's Ofsted report. The current IEB's role is to rubber-stamp whatever the current Head's decisions and actions happen to be. Given the school's recent troubles, isn't this rather dangerous?
We know as little about his history, experience and abilities as we did about those of the last Head, Graeme Plunkett, and look what happened there.
Davies, when he was Head, arranged governors meetings so that no check was possible on his more innovative financial practices, and look where that led.
Expressions of complete confidence in the abilities of both Plunkett and Davies were regularly made by Cllr Pavey's counterparts at the time and we can imagine how embarrassing (and costly) that now seems in retrospect.
Copland parents have no idea of the current Head's competence and judgment but he'll be a long way from Copland by this time next year, as Davies and Plunkett now are. It would be a pity if, once again, it all ends in tears. Isn't it the duty of the members of the IEB to be a little less supine and a little more diligent and questioning? Or am I being naïve?

Anonymous said...

The issue is quite simply one of continuity - speaking from some degree of expertise, any change in the teacher /class relationship so near to a crucial date is disastorous.

The previous management at Copland allowed one core subject department head scope to reassign teachers and pupils literally weeks before their exams and chaos ensued.

Any criticism of such was then deemed as a failure to express concern over the achievement of the pupils ( the invitations to resign or be 'resigned' soon followed!).

This is errant and irresponsible and quite clearly demonstrates the cynicism of a management team more concerned about their own futures, as opposed to the hypocritical mantra of 'we're doing it for the children' they bleat on about with monotonous regularity.

I baulk at the spinelessnes of those who willingly sit and say nothing knowing full well that such measures can in no way be beneficial to the school, and I applaud the union activists who at the very least stand up to 'below the belt' strategies based on little more than balancing of ideological books.

I wonder how many of the so-called managers and experts, or indeed, members of the IEB, would be so complacent if their own children were thrust into a similar predicament?