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Happy to be rated

Many teachers are happy to have their lessons rated by pupils, an exclusive TES survey reveals.

The poll of 2,000 teachers shows almost three-quarters favour involving pupils in drawing up school teaching and learning policies. More controversially, almost half, 47 per cent, have no problem with pupils rating their teaching.

However, the 40 per cent who disagree will be encouraged by NASUWT this Easter when the teaching union uses its annual conference to condemn the practice.

Wales has led the way with increasing pupil voice via the introduction of statutory school councils in 2005. It gives children from age seven the right to become associate pupil governors, and even to have their say in the appointment of new teaching staff.

But some say pupil rating of teachers - especially online - can be tantamount to bullying. Derogatory comments posted on Rate My Teacher and Facebook are being blamed for the rise of cyber-bullying of teachers by pupils.

In a recent survey by Teacher Support Cymru and the Association of Teachers and Lecturers Cymru, one-fifth of teachers responding claimed they had been victims of cyber-bullying by pupils.

Education consultant Andy McCann works with teachers in Wales, who have had to cope with harsh criticism by pupils, in stress-reduction workshops.

"Bullying is happening on email systems set up for teachers to communicate with children," he said. "There are also problems with websites such as Rate My Teacher."

The NUT Cymru has produced guidelines of expected pupil behaviour and sent it to heads, governing bodies and local authorities.

The Big Five, pages 17-20.

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