On Saturday I tweeted a question to my esteemed colleagues on Twitter and I was rather taken aback by the results. I asked if they had a problem with behaviour in their classes would they call for backup from their Senior Leadership Teams. I know of many schools where this is the policy and I was curious to gauge people’s thoughts on the subject. I had many replies, possibly in to the hundreds and I thank every single person who answered me. Our collective thoughts on this topic will feature in my book but the following will not and I want to share with you what occurred.
My own personal view of this is that I would not call for back up from SLT as I think this leads to a loss of credibility for the teacher. Remember that I am SLT myself. The replies I received made me think again and this is Twitter at its finest! It is always good when I am made to challenge my own thinking.
Some said they would immediately call for help from SLT and that there is no shame in this. Others said they would not under any circumstances, but they would call for help from another adult. It was argued by some that there was a safeguarding issue if you did not call for back up. All reasoned arguments in my opinion.
In fairness, at no point did I suggest that teachers should try to manage alone. This is not an option, we are not super heroes. I was merely questioning the idea of calling in the ‘big guns’ who possibly do not even know the child in question. At this point I was informed that SLT are the ones on call because they have the time to attend as they are off timetable. This is a fair comment although not necessarily true as they tend to be in meetings.
The next answers were the ones that startled me and is something I had not considered at all. There was a genuine concern that SLT might attend the situation, sort out the difficulty and then monitor the teacher and use this as part of their Performance Related Pay. The school policy, to call for SLT backup might actually be damaging for the teacher. Several teachers cited this as a very real concern. Many Head teachers tweeted that they would never use behaviour management as a weapon against their teachers yet this remains a prominent fear for some teachers.
This made me think just how damaging Performance Related Pay is. Apart from the usual progression and data related targets which are unfair to say the least, other difficulties have now emerged with PRP. It is possibly the most divisive policy any Government has introduced.
If any future Education Secretary promises to remove PRP from the education landscape they will get my vote! Meanwhile I am saddened at the ever deepening rift between some Head teachers and teachers.
The final tweet came from @oldprimaryhead1 who said ‘it’s about looking out for everyone. My team don’t need me but by being there I have a better understanding’.
This restored my faith in the system, thank you @oldprimaryhead1.