Threshold effort is worth it in the end

30th June 2000 at 01:00
I HAVE just finished the assessment all 46 threshold applications and it is 5am. This is the fifth morning in succession that I have risen at this time to work. I believe it has been a lovely, sunny weekend but I have not seen it.

This is what has been involved so far:

lesson observation using the threshold criteria to provide extra evidence, 23 hours

Training (including travel), 13 hours

Administration tasks, 1.5 hours

Three days of assessments including the weekend, 23 hours

In the future I expect:

administration (including photo-copying), 2 hours

Discussion of each applicant with the assessor, 10 hours

Individual feedback and discussion of future development, 23 hours

Total time: 95.5 hours

So you think this is going to be another letter moaning about threshold assessment? It is not. It has been an interesting and informative process. It has forced the time for reflection we all need, made staff think about their work, and answer the questions: what constitutes useful in-service training and how does it inform your teaching and learning styles? How does good lesson planning lead to improved learning? What are the most appropriate teaching methods for certain topics, skills, classes and pupils? What feed-back to pupils has the biggest impact on their progress? What progress are our pupils making - are you an unsung hero? Are you participating in the development of school policy in an active and constructive manner? Are you contributing to your pupils' wider development?

All good departments work as teams and this has led to problems in separating individual contributions. But these matter and threshold assessment has made people evaluate their role. After all, people are paid individually.

A teacher eligible for threshold is paid pound;18.33 per hour (rather less if all the hours outside 1,265 are included). Three days (25 hours) of unpaid overtime to fill in the form comes to pound;458.25. If we assume that the average threshold teacher has 15 years to serve, the return for three days is pound;30,015. Not bad - I wish someone would pay me pound;1,200 per hour!

To the threshold moaners I would say, think again. If you do not need or want the money, do the work as a fund-raising exercise for charity (a lot of education can be provided for that sum in the Third World) or your department (two computers by Christmas). Your financial return rates rather better than mine - pound;0 for 95.5 hours! My thanks will be seeing my good teachers rewarded - like most people in the profession, they are a great bunch!

Elspeth V Insch

King Edward VI Handsworth school

Rose Hill Road

Handsworth, Birmingham

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