The video outlines reasons why I stepped away from working in a challenging school:
1. Working 60+ hours every week for 3 years - wasn't good enough to help raise collective standards.
2. Belittled by an inspection process conducted by 5 visitors who spent less than 18 hours on-site; with a key teaching and learning judgement validated from a 50-minute one-to-one learning walk and a debrief on a playground bench.
3. OfSTED methodology does not take into account contextual value added information when judging challenging schools. Why choose to work in one if it goes against you in an inspection and/or threatens your career?
4. More importantly, 2 days on-site never captures the hard work delivered over the previous 3 years since a prior inspection - largely been ignored. Inappropriate use of school funds; moving to a new building; reducing under-performing subjects from 29 to just 5; international news on former student Jihadi John and dealing with the implications of goalposts changing - former Outstanding school to Special Measures. Working in the heart of Westminster with rising living costs and frozen teacher-salaries, attracting the best teachers to work in the city alongside national headlines was an impossible ask. Maybe that's why the school was shut down by the incoming multi-academy trust?
5. A part-time request to meet Teacher Toolkit demands as well as work as a part-time deputy head teacher was granted, but then became untenable after an OfSTED inspection.
Therefore, why do we design a system that drives good teachers out of the profession? When an inspection regime places tough decisions on headteachers to keep good teachers versus offering them some autonomy without losing good teachers? And working with £1M less than the school had in its budget 3 years ago ... with more students and less teachers.
6. As well as choosing to work in this challenging context, the exponential growth of my work as @TeacherTookit made working full-time as a deputy head teacher, and also meeting online demands for blogs, research, a 24/7 helpline as well as speaker requests all across the U.K., was not something I could sustain or ignore.
7. Why accept that teaching and learning is inadequate when 250,000 followers online are citing your work and ideas are transforming teaching and learning in their school - across the UK and in other parts of the world?!
8. I hope that by speaking out using my online profile - on behalf of the ~35,000 teachers who also stepped out of the classroom in 2016/17 - to raise the profile of the accountability system and how it is unintentionally impacting on teachers in their classrooms and on their livelihood - and driving good people away from the profession.
9. Our Government need to strip back the details and get a fairer system for all schools, so that a) they are judged fairly over a 3-year period of time b) judge schools within the context within which they work e.g. groups of similar schools instead of a one-size fits all c) OfSTED to stop citing that some school leaders are soft bigots and want lower standards for low-income families and d) enable a system that enables teachers to simply focus on what they crucially need to do each day, Mark. Plan. Teach rather than jump hoops to appease classroom visitors.
Thank you for reading the details. Find out more in this blogpost to support the video: https://www.teachertoolkit....
Ross Morrison McGill / @TeacherToolkit
From September 2017, I have been working in schools all across the U.K and overseas, disseminating research on teacher workload, wellbeing and mental health to raise the importance of common sense back into the profession. Using my 25 years experience in the classroom, I am currently working as a teacher trainer and writing on my fourth book on teaching; as well as developing the Teacher Toolkit website, I am working as a tutor and visiting lecturer for the University of Buckingham.
In September 2018 I will be commencing my (EdD) doctorate at Cambridge University (To research "social media and its impact on education policy"). I hope to begin disseminating what I have learnt from 10 years of using social media with schools and policy makers as well as the research I have conducted this academic year - due to be available in my new book, published September 2019.
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