What keeps me awake at night - Skewered by targets, alarmed by action plans

8th November 2013 at 00:00

Coming to the end of the mental list of things I need to do in my classroom, I am brought back to the meeting room with the words: "Subject action plan reviews and new ones by the 27th, ladies!"

Now I'm paying attention. Now I'm panicking. Action plan? I don't remember an action plan.

What have I been doing, you might ask? My answer is "my job". Yes, I actually know my class of five-year-olds. I know that Peter has chickens (although only five, since one got eaten by a fox) and that Jane goes to street dance classes on a Saturday morning. Not only do I know this, but I know their levels, their abilities and what their favourite class story is. But now, now I'm not concentrating on that. Now I'm worrying about a blessed action plan.

So, first things first - locate it! I'm sure I remember saving something in a well-labelled folder on my laptop. It's there! The relief overwhelms me.

I read it and I'm surprised at how much I've done. All this data. Did I randomly pluck these targets from the sky or were they linked to reality?

Off I go to the year group leaders to collect their data (or should I say "harvest" their data? Apparently that's the new term) to find out if my targets are in any way accurate.

Wonderful! I find that all the targets have been met. All, that is, except driving the required change in guided reading, even though our school results are above the national average. And I shouldn't call it guided reading, apparently. It's not called that now. I've got to call it something new. Supervised reading. Paired reading. Group reading. Reading with a teacher. I'm not entirely sure.

So the review is done. I've found that there are endless things I do every day to drive my subject forward, and none of them has required me to refer to the action plan.

Now I can sleep at last... except, I forgot to write the new one. I forgot to quantify the passion for my subject so that it fits in neat little boxes. Not sure I'll be sleeping until August. How about you?

The writer is a teacher and subject leader in the South of England.

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