Toolkit failure

20th February 2004 at 00:00
I recently had the interesting experience of being "walked through" the job-sizing toolkit by one of my colleagues. He had kindly agreed to come out to school to re-enter the data for the members of the senior management team, each of whom felt aggrieved with their original scores.

I have to say that nothing that was demonstrated did anything to allay our concerns. Indeed as the exercise proceeded, it became increasingly obvious that the toolkit has been poorly constructed and is far from objective.

For example, far too heavy a weighting is given to free meal entitlement (FME). This is not a robust, objective measure for reasons that are well known. Indeed I suspect that in our own case we would probably move up at least one decile if we did not have a chip shop, a bakery, a fast food outlet and an Indian takeaway - all within five minutes of the school.

If the intention of this weighting is to give additional financial reward to those holding promoted posts in what are perceived to be deprived schools, then this surely is discriminatory against unpromoted staff who are equally deserving of an additional payment.

It would be much fairer to remove this weighting altogether and leave it to authorities to agree an additional payment to all staff employed in these schools.

Far too heavy a weighting is also given to classroom teaching, for which an additional point is credited for each hour. I am puzzled as to why this appears at all in what is meant to be an exercise to assess management responsibilities for holders of promoted posts.

Throughout the job-sizing questionnaire the rubric refers to the duties of a teacher and thus discounts various responsibilities from what can be claimed. So why include classroom teaching as a management responsibility and why give so much weighting to teaching in comparison to the points awarded for what surely should be recognised as significant management responsibilities?

By contrast, not nearly enough weighting is given to key management responsibilities. A classic example here is the school timetable. Depending on the size of school, this considerable responsibility attracts just two or three points.

This is ludicrous given the work involved. To make matters worse, those headteachers like myself who do the school timetable are not even allowed to claim this pathetic allocation.

I could go on. As it stands, the toolkit appears as a rather quaint construct that has demonstrably failed to capture both the complexities and the significance of secondary school management responsibilities. I wonder what Professor Gavin McCrone thinks of it?

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