This week I came across a school in Bedford who were starting to talk about Career Stage Expectations. The first thing they did, quite naturally, was to shorten the name to CSE. At the same time as shortening the name to CSE, they produced a large document, a matrix of expectations, that they would apply to a teacher’s performance.
Some of you will recognise the process. A head introduces something new and it has to be accompanied by a large piece of paper which, on first glance, you may think looks meaningless, complicated and probably not worth bothering with. You would be wrong. CSE is very sinister, especially if you are at the top of the pay scale.
CSE has a few simple intentions. Firstly it’s something the head will use to frighten you. They may then go on to use it to try deny you pay progression. Of course if you are at the top of the pay scale they may try to use it to reduce your pay. Finally they may use it to force you onto capability and eventually remove you from the pay roll.
“How many teachers, not reaching their CSE had been informed of this, and, where things had not improved, were then moved to formal process?” So what is CSE?
From what I’ve seen of CSE, it is simply a matrix of statements taken mainly from the Teachers’ Standards, arbitrarily divided into sections. Each section is attributed to one of UPS 1, 2 or 3, sometimes it’s even applied to the main scale. You, as a teacher, are then judged as to whether you meet the criteria depending on the pay scale you aspire to, or the pay scale you are on.
“CSEs are very clear and explicit in 2017, so much so that it is now much harder for teachers to reach them”. You can see where this is going.
For instance, if you are an experienced teacher, on UPS 3, you will be asked to produce evidence. Failure to produce evidence will have its consequences. “Clearly ……… we will move into a more formal process, capability”. Let there be no doubt of the intention. The intention is to get rid of teachers at the top of the pay scale. And this at a time when schools in Bedford are forecasting budget deficits in the hundreds of thousands by 2020. So heads are thinking, lets start getting rid of the expensive teachers now. The experienced teachers. The older teachers. The teachers who would be expensive to make redundant.
The introduction of CSE has not been agreed by the teaching unions. The opposite is true. The unions specifically state that Teachers’ Standards must not be used as a checklist to judge a teacher’s performance. The unions say that teachers should be assumed to be meeting the standards unless there is evidence to the contrary.
The School Teachers’ Appraisal Regulations states that teachers should be judged against the Teachers’ Standards. If you thought they were an innocent introduction in 2012, well now you know the real intention, and what to expect in 2017.
One final thought. If you think you can fight your way through this on your own, as an individual teacher, you are mistaken. You will be picked off one by one. Remember, the criteria is not your performance. The criteria is how expensive you are.
You need to organise. You need a rep. You need to act collectively. You need to act quickly. The first victim has already fallen.
Of course you may have been completing some sort of tick sheet on Teacher Standards for a while, in which case I have to ask, why are you doing that?
You are just as disposable as everyone else, loyalty counts for nothing when money has to be saved.