We have had a significant number of queries about whether variousschemes of teacher monitoring and classroom observation operatingin Bradford schools, but not called appraisal, should be boycotted.
The first thing to bear in mind is the purpose of the boycott.It is still anticipated despite its overwhelming rejectionin the DfEEs as well as the NUTs consultation - thatin a few months the Government will seek to introduce a schemewhere teachers pay is based on measures of performance.They have delayed introducing a new national appraisal schemefor this purpose, and it is possible that school based schemesmay be used instead.
We should therefore be boycotting any scheme of monitoringand evaluation of teacher performance, which leads to the keepingof records which could be used for determining pay. It is notenough for a school to promise not to use the records for thispurpose. At some stage in the future they may be required to doso if such records exist.
This advice does not extend to observation of newly qualifiedteachers, because this is a part of the induction process.
Please get in touch if you need further clarification.
It came to our notice recently that several schools were intendingto celebrate the change from Section 11 to EMAG by using theirlanguage development teachers as subject teachers, in order toreduce class sizes.
We fully support reducing class size and have campaigned consistentlyfor a budget that pays for smaller classes. However, this mustnot be achieved at the expense of pupils with specific needs,or by changing the job descriptions of language development specialists.
We were able to pass on to the LEA information from the NUTnationally about a ruling made by the DfEE in a similar case inanother Authority. We understand that by the time you read thisall Heads will have been informed that they cannot use EMAG moneyto replace a class teacher, even if they are also making smallerclasses that way. Please ring this office if there are changesof this sort still envisaged in your school.
We have some information from two first schools that triedstreaming their pupils this year, because they thought it wouldhelp them to deliver the literacy hour. They have concluded thatthe disadvantages significantly outweighed the benefits, and arenotcontinuing next year.
We are anxious that the lessons of these experiments are learnedand are collating experiences to form a basis from which moreinformed decisions can be taken in future. Please can you letus know if your school tried streaming and how it went.
We are being told by the LEA Buildings Service that they cannotprovide us with the details of every school's buildings proposalsbecause of the large amount of material involved.
Their proposal is that, where staff have concerns, they shouldraise them with their headteacher who will communicate them tothe LEA via the school's "Buildings Project Manager".Headteachers have a liaison responsibility between the staff andthe Buildings Service and should have informed the staff aboutwhat the proposals for the accommodation provision are, includingmaking available draft plans, etc..
We can give you advice and support in trying to get problemsdealt with, but only if you come to us with information (or ifyou have asked for information and been refused).
The future accommodation proposals for each school are knownas the "Sketch Schemes". The Resources and Buildings(R&B) Sub-Committee of Bradford Council's Education Committeeis responsible for giving approval to the Sketch Schemes and thecostings for them. Because of the workload implications of theprocess, a "Select Committee" of the Resources and BuildingsSub-Committee has been established to look at the Sketch Schemefor each school. For the rest of this term this Select Committeewill sit, and schools will be informed of when their proposalswill be considered. Governors and headteachers can attend to makerepresentations, comments, suggest alterations etc.
If you don't think the sketch schemes are workable, you needto get your head and governors to try and get them altered. Letus know of any serious weaknesses in the scheme for your school,or of any potential health and safety problems
We will try and make sure that all the schemes reach minimumstandards for things that we are aware of, eg., size of staffroomsand numbers of toilets, but we need your input on any particularproblems associated with your scheme.
The arrangements for Year 5 this coming September either involvethe placement of temporary classrooms on the school site, or theshared use of middle school premises. If you are aware of a problem,e.g. inadequate toilet accommodation, please let us know.
Excellence In The Cities
Bradford is one of a group of Metropolitan Authorities chosenby the Government to undertake 7 projects under this title:
Plans for the first 3 of these have to be submitted to theDfEE by July, so schools are already in discussions about them.The learning support units are for pupils with behavioural difficulties,so getting one of them in your school will have particular implications.
As usual, the funding for these initiatives starts at 100%then declines, though the activity has to continue. There willbe more details for Upper schools in a subsequent mailing.
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