New ‘zero tolerance’ Ofsted powers to weed out substandard teachers come into effect this week

Under-performing teachers are to be weeded out under new powers given to inspectors to scrutinise them and heads to have them sacked. The powers, which come into force this week were described as “zero tolerance” by Michael Gove, the Education Secretary, and now put teachers under an unprecedented level of scrutiny. Ofsted, the school inspectors, will toughen up its regime significantly. This is from the Telegraph…

Head teachers will get less than 24 hours notice of an Ofsted visit, while inspection teams will observe more classes, listen to pupils read, monitor behaviour and check payrolls to ensure the salaries of weak teachers reflects their performance.

There is concern that performance bonuses are being given to undeserving teachers.

At the same time as the new Ofsted regime comes into force, Government rules designed to tackle substandard teachers take effect.

Heads and governors will be able to sack the worst-performing staff in just a term – rather than a year – under new “capability” procedures.

Teachers have far greater rights to keep their jobs than most other workers, and unions have zealously defended procedures which mean just a handful have ever been sacked for incompetence.

A three hour a year limit on the amount of time head teachers could spend observing a teacher’s lessons has also been scrapped, allowing them to go in to classrooms as often as they like to root out low quality teaching.

Mr Gove promised “zero tolerance” of poor teachers.

“We’ve got a great generation of young teachers but every hour a child spends with a bad teacher blights their future,” he said.

“No parent would willingly tolerate bad teaching for their child and this government believes in zero tolerance for classroom failure. That is why we are changing the rules to give heads the power to ensure every child gets a fair chance.”

Out of the 5,000 schools inspected last year, 36 per cent of primary schools and 34 per cent of secondaries were deemed “satisfactory” or below. The quality of teaching was not good enough in 38 per cent and poor in 3 per cent.

In one of the biggest changes to the Ofsted regime, children of all ages in primary school will read to inspectors.

The measure is an attempt to stop pupils arriving at secondary school unable to learn because their reading is not good enough.

It follows concerns from parents that primary teachers are failing to listen to their children read one-to-one and instead depend on teaching assistants and group reading.

Guidance for inspectors in synthetic phonics, the method to teach reading favoured by the Government which breaks down words in to their constituent sounds, reveals that they will even assess how well teachers “articulate and mouth” the sounds of letters.

Teachers will be marked down if children answer questions by a general “hands up”, rather than being picked out for an individual response, or if phonics lessons are too slow.

Schools with mediocre teaching, previously rated “satisfactory”, will no longer be able to coast. Any schools judged to be below a good standard will be told to improve and reinspected within two years.

More at: Bad teachers ‘blight children’s futures’, Michael Gove warns

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Categories: Teaching.

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