Key findings


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Key findings

  1. 1. Reforming and developing the school workforce Extracts relating to emerging roles Executive Summary The national workforce agreement set out to achieve progressive reduction in teachers’ overall hours over four years. None of the schools or individual teachers had quantified their hours or monitored their workload sufficiently to show that workload has reduced. However, teachers’ time and work are now focused more directly on teaching and learning. Headteachers and senior managers continue to sustain a heavy workload, but increasingly they are supported by well qualified and experienced managers from outside education which is allowing them to allocate more time for strategic leadership and management. The substantial expansion of the wider workforce at all levels is allowing the survey schools to extend the curriculum, provide more care, guidance and support for pupils, and use data more effectively to monitor pupils’ progress.1 One of the greatest challenges facing school leaders was to provide an increasingly diverse workforce with relevant induction, training, performance management and professional development to contribute to an identifiable career structure. Key findings  The deployment of the wider workforce and the review of teaching and learning responsibilities combined to increase middle managers’ accountability for achievement and standards across year groups and subjects.  The substantial expansion of the wider workforce and the increasing breadth and diversity of roles were leading to changes in working practices at all levels in the survey schools. These changes were most effective when good practice was identified, shared and used to agree the most effective ways of deploying the wider workforce  Pupils benefited from increased support from members of the wider workforce. Deploying adults with different skills allowed the schools to improve care and guidance for vulnerable pupils and those at risk of exclusion. 1 In this report, the term ‘wider workforce’ is used to describe any person, other than a qualified teacher, who works in or with a school.
  2. 2.  The full potential of the wider workforce to raise achievement and standards was not realised when schools did not match skills and expertise sufficiently closely to school needs, and when insufficient attention was given to the performance management and career development of the workforce.  Performance management of members of the wider workforce was not consistent. When they reported to more than one person, it was not always clear who would conduct their annual performance review or what evidence would be used for assessment. Recommendations The Department for Children, Schools and Families (DCSF) should:  take steps to help schools and local authorities clearly understand and prioritise national agendas for school improvement. The Training and Development Agency for Schools (TDA) should work with schools and local authorities to:  help them to manage the performance and career development of members of the wider workforce  develop the potential of the wider workforce at all levels of responsibility by providing information about training and career progression. Schools should:  monitor and evaluate the effects of workforce reform to assess its impact on pupils’ learning  develop a professional workforce culture by agreeing a set of working practices for the deployment of the wider workforce and sharing ideas and practice about teaching and learning among all staff  provide relevant induction, training, performance management, and professional and career development for the wider workforce, linking these to school self-evaluation and improvement planning. Time for standards Ticking boxes or improving learning? 3. Schools did not always understand clearly or act upon what they were told by external agencies such as the National College for School leadership, the National Remodelling Team and local authorities. Little attention was paid to linking workforce reform to wider school improvement initiatives or guidance given on prioritising national agendas.
  3. 3. A lack of focus on raising standards: two examples A secondary school headteacher reviewed the school’s pastoral structure and replaced the posts of three assistant heads of year with a full-time non-teaching post of pastoral support coordinator. Although the initial planning was good, senior leaders did not consider the impact of the role on teachers and pupils. The selection procedures were exemplary: the job description was based on the national standards, and the interviews involved staff, governors and pupils. The successful candidate had experience of working in the youth service and counselling. Through working as a teaching assistant, the candidate was skilled in managing pupils’ behaviour and had developed good ICT skills. However, problems began shortly after she took up her post. No one knew precisely what was expected of the new role. Some heads of year treated the coordinator as a replacement for the assistant they had lost and became impatient when she was not able to fulfil these responsibilities. The year heads did not meet to discuss and develop the coordinators’ role. By the end of the first half term, the lack of clear working practices and the resentment shown by some staff left her feeling isolated and demoralised. Every Child Matters 10. Workforce reform encourages schools to deploy a wider workforce with diverse expertise and skills to embed the Every Child Matters agenda more fully. Increasingly, schools have recognised an overlap between workforce reform and Every Child Matters, although, initially, few of the schools in the survey made the links between them explicit. 11. In the schools in the survey, members of the wider workforce contributed significantly to healthy school agendas by organising and running breakfast clubs and helping pupils to understand healthy lifestyles. Schools established strong links with outside agencies such as social and health services. In one school visited, the school nurse provided support and guidance to pupils about the dangers of smoking, the school counsellor provided support with anger management, and the out-of-hours learning mentor worked with disaffected youths, encouraging them to take up sporting activities. Focused support from the wider workforce therefore improved the personal development and well-being of individuals and groups of pupils. Extended schools 12. The most effective schools were actively developing extended services. They carefully assessed the functions that teachers should
  4. 4. retain and those that could be devolved to the wider workforce. New staffing structures, in part developed through workforce reform, were being used to bring services together. 13. Schools in the survey were beginning to identify gaps in extended services. They used the wider workforce to support learning outside school and develop links with the wider community. Middle managers 28. The roles of middle managers in secondary schools changed considerably as a result of reforms. Schools transferred substantial aspects of care and support for pupils from pastoral leaders to members of the wider workforce. Non-teaching Year 8 manager in a large secondary school One school’s structure gave five heads of year, who also taught, 35 hours a fortnight in total to manage pastoral affairs across the five year groups. The school concluded that this could be improved by giving an appropriately trained pastoral manager 37 hours each week to take care of the pastoral needs of pupils from one or two year groups. This new position had a direct and positive impact on teachers’ workloads and the quality of support for pupils. The year manager was flexible, accessible and able to deal with behavioural and other pastoral issues immediately. She was able to give more time to the ‘invisible band’ of pupils who did not cause trouble and did not have major problems but who, nevertheless, needed attention and encouragement. The head of year had often faced tensions between the needs of the many and those of the few: the 27 pupils in a science class waiting to be taught, versus a child with a child protection issue who needed immediate attention. Initially, the head of Key Stage 3 had reservations about the post, feeling that he might have to deal with more incidents than he would have done with a traditional head of year. However, the immediacy and accessibility of the role and the provision of full- time pastoral support benefited all pupils and staff and meant that, in his words, ‘I got my life back and can now concentrate on the things I was trained to do − teaching and learning and curriculum issues.’ Faculty assistants: allowing heads of faculties to get closer to the things they could do Faculty assistants were benefiting teaching and learning in a secondary school. Each faculty had one assistant who contributed positively to the faculty and allowed teachers to focus more effectively on teaching and learning. Assistants provided cover for
  5. 5. absent staff which provided greater continuity for pupils and a more consistent approach to managing behaviour, and contributed positively to pupils’ learning. Faculty assistants also supported teachers in lessons and, in particular, provided opportunities for teachers to support pupils and plan work which matched their needs more appropriately. Faculty assistants also gave excellent support to the heads of faculties, allowing them to focus more on planning and leading teaching and learning, and giving them more time for strategic leadership. A faculty head said, ‘There are things I must do, things I should do and things I could do. In the past I rarely got beyond the things I must do. The support I get from the faculty assistants enables me to get closer to doing the things I could do.’ Time for a new workforce culture Changing working practices 31. The total number of support staff employed in schools has increased each year, and has more than doubled in the past 10 years.2 32. The number of support staff has increased markedly at all levels of responsibility, such as secretaries, administrative and clerical staff, personal assistants, laboratory assistants, technicians, librarians, resource officers, welfare assistants, learning mentors, counsellors, medical staff, personnel managers, data managers, bursars and premises managers. The survey found that the wider workforce was deployed effectively in three quarters of the schools visited. Their skills and experience were used productively and their status rose as they contributed to raising achievement. Most members of the wider workforce reported high levels of job satisfaction. They appreciated the way teachers treated them as equals and involved them more closely in decisions about their deployment. Using PPA time effectively and monitoring its impact 37. Few of the schools visited had formal procedures to observe the work of the wider workforce or to offer feedback and constructive advice. Partnerships often relied on informal contact or the strength of personal relationships rather than explicit working practices. Judgements about learning were then derived largely from whether pupils behaved or not, or whether they were enjoying themselves. 2 National statistics for the school workforce in England, January 2007.
  6. 6. Extending the curriculum 42. The potential of workforce reform to enhance and extend the curriculum was being realised in nearly three quarters of the schools visited. The skills and expertise of the wider workforce were used well. Employing adults with specialist knowledge and skills such as physical education (PE) coaches, artists, musicians and linguists increased pupils’ enjoyment and achievement. Extra-curricular clubs and performances, including karate, football, gymnastics and ICT, involved a wide range of pupils, some of whom had not previously shown confidence in these areas. Improving care, guidance and support 44.Workforce reform encouraged schools to deploy adults with different perspectives and skills and to focus on specific targets. These targets included improving attendance, attitudes and behaviour and providing better support for pupils with learning difficulties and those at risk of exclusion. A learning support unit: ‘You get more attention and some of the coolest teachers’ At the end of Year 7, a pupil who was identified as underachieving and with a poor attitude to learning was referred to the learning support unit. He attended for two and a half days each week for 12 weeks. The unit was a bright, friendly, well resourced classroom that offered academic, social and emotional support for pupils of all abilities. Pupils followed the same mainstream curriculum as their peers and worked with no more than 10 in each group. This offered them a chance to re-engage with learning and to be successful. The unit was staffed by a teacher and a higher level teaching assistant. Parents were fully involved and signed a daily diary. A target review sheet was sent home each week to inform them of progress. The online pupil attitudes survey that this pupil completed showed his negativity in July 2006 and the dramatic improvements by November: Online pupil attitudes survey July November 2006 2006 Self-regard 4.6% 58.6% Perceived learning capacity 20.5% 72.2% Feelings about school 38.5% 84% Response to curriculum 6% 83.4% Attendance attitudes 46.6% 97.8%
  7. 7. The pupil set himself targets for reintegration:  not to distract others  try to get more involved in lessons  try not to get into deep discussions. He said, ‘It is the best here you could possibly get. I work much better in here. You get more attention and some of the coolest teachers.’ Time to develop the workforce Missing links? 47. In those schools visited which had undertaken remodelling most successfully, the wider workforce had received relevant induction, training, performance management and professional development, which led to an identified career structure. Most of the schools visited had one or more of these elements, but they were rarely all in place as part of a coherent cycle which linked professional development to school self-evaluation and improvement planning. Schools which had not discussed teachers’ responsibilities for managing and deploying the wider workforce missed opportunities for this workforce to contribute to school improvement. Comprehensive induction and training for cover assistants 48. Many of the headteachers interviewed during the survey were good at recognising the skills of individuals and creating roles to match them. The resulting appointments were often very effective but relied heavily on the talents and personal skills of the post holder. It was often unclear whether posts could be sustained when particular individuals were separated from the roles. 49. The survey schools showed that members of the wider workforce now had a stronger sense of a career in education, but that opportunities for training and career development varied considerably. Bursars had opportunities to acquire qualifications in business management and administrative staff could access training in finance and ICT; but school managers did not understand clearly enough the career pathways for the wider workforce relevant to their level of skills and responsibility. 53. Only a minority of the schools visited were using the time released to develop a culture where thinking and practice were
  8. 8. shared among all staff, teaching and non-teaching, as part of their professional development. 54. Just over half of the schools visited had introduced an appraisal or performance management system for the wider workforce which mirrored that for teachers. However, although the systems appeared to be inclusive, they were not always working as well as the schools thought. Line management was most effective when roles and responsibilities were clearly defined, work was monitored and matched to performance targets, and professional development took into account a school’s priorities for improvement. However, lines of accountability were not always understood and performance management arrangements were inconsistent, particularly in relation to the range of evidence used to inform the annual review meetings. Members of the wider workforce often reported to several different people and they were not always clear about who would conduct their performance review. Few members of the wider workforce were observed as part of their appraisal, or offered feedback. 55. Schools which did not have processes for analysing or recording the skills and development needs of the wider workforce were not realising the full potential of these staff. Senior leaders or middle managers, who were accustomed to assessing the performance of teachers, lacked the necessary knowledge and skills to carry out the role effectively. For example, the national occupational standards or the career development framework were rarely used to support effective performance review or to inform training plans. Performance management and continuous professional development sections of the staff handbook were focused almost entirely on teachers. 56. One of the greatest challenges facing school leaders in this survey was to provide relevant induction, training, performance management and professional development to contribute to an identifiable career structure for an increasingly diverse workforce.