It Is Not Too Hard To Get Rid Of Failing Teachers

I keep reading and hearing people all over the place saying that it is too hard to get rid of an ‘incompetent’ teacher, and that there are loads of them, sitting on their arses, screwing up our kid’s chances at a decent education. There was a lot of it around the time Michael Gove announced he was making it easier and quicker for a headteacher to fire a teacher for poor performance.

Firstly, the word ‘incompetent’ and ‘failing’ are often used when what people mean is ‘incapable’. I hear people say that a teacher can very easily delay any capability proceedings by declaring themselves ill with stress, which has the effect of buying them time and costing the school money. Who are all these rogue GPs recommending that teachers go off when they are not even ill?

It’s just a way of kicking someone when they are down, to ensure they are out the door for good. It’s typical of the stigma associated with mental illness, in that people consider it not to be a real illness and consider sufferers to be attention seeking and using a ‘tactic’.

People also state that the capability procedure is too long, and requires too much external checking. Shortening the procedure does not give a teacher a chance to improve, making an already treacherous environment into a ‘one mistake and you’re out’ operation. Removing external checking allows headteachers to abuse the system even more, so that they no longer need to justify their actions with a set of circumstantial evidences and spun to death reasons, they can just do it. It removes protection.

The result is that more teachers are going to be deemed incapable and fast tracked out of the profession, to be filled with temporary and/or unqualified staff. Staff turnover will increase, which ultimately means that the number of experienced staff will decrease. This is what will cause a decline in standards, not allowing ‘incompetent’ teachers to stay.


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