The Pay Policy Disaster

Oh, Beautiful Governors’ Policy on the Teachers’ Pay!
Alas! I am very sorry to say
That not all governing bodies had got this underway
By the autumn term of 2013,
Even though they’d known about it for a very long time.

When Ofsted came to visit, the inspectors did say
“Where is the evidence for performance related pay?”
Even though, for main scale teachers, PRP was not in the current
School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document.

’Twas the new performance related pay
That made the teaching staff in sadness say
“This may mean next year I don’t get a rise
Which would be a rather unpleasant surprise.
In the past, we knew we’d be moving up the scale
But the new policy will make our hearts for to quail”
And many of the teachers with fear did say
“I hope there’ll be guidance on this Policy on Pay.”
For it wasn’t clear if it was a pay-and-appraisal policy
And whether it also included the bits about capability.

So the governors knew that they must approve a policy on pay
And it was an agenda item for the meeting one day.
The governors’ hearts were light and felt no grief,
When the meeting began, they hoped it’d be brief
And the shortness of the item seem’d to say
They’d soon be able to agree a policy that day
Though some of the governors in fear did say-
“I hope there’ll be clear guidance on this Policy of Pay.”

The DfE had produced a model policy
Which with all of it the unions did not agree
So finally several versions were made available
That seemed to be useful to put on the table.
But the school about which this poem tells
Didn’t heed any of the warning bells.
“Let us devise our own policy on pay.
How hard can it be?” the governors did say.

And when the new headteacher put forward his plan
For linking pay to pupil progress they agreed to a man.
A consultation process had been undertaken
Which made them think they were not mistaken,
And for all those little details that didn’t yet feature
They delegated full approval to the new headteacher.

So the meeting sped on with all its might,
And the end of the agenda soon hove in sight,
And the governors’ hearts felt light,
Thinking they would be home a bit earlier that night
With their friends and family they lov’d most dear,
Now that they’d agreed what would happen next year.

Some of the Y7 teachers set up a great roar
About the progress of children who’d come in with a four,
And said, “They’re now working at a level three –
Have we “untaught” them things? How can that be?”
And the answer they had which made them feel abused
Was that the reported attainments were the ones being used.

For the primaries too had their necks on the line
And their Y6’s they’d been cramming for a very long time.
And this made the teachers in Y7 go pale
And the hearts of those with bottom sets began to quail
For the targets they’d been set might not ever be achieved
But this was a scenario that was not widely believed.

So the terms mov’d slowly along till the next autumn
Until it was time to agree pay rises according to PM,
But those whose performance was deemed not good enough
Started to claim they’d been treated too rough.
“Do children really make progress on a steady line
Or is it only measurable over a very long time?”
And the panel convened to hear the appeal
Agreed that perhaps the starting points had not ever been real.

Then the pay policy with a crash gave way,
And union reps now entered the fray!
The cost to the budget of fighting each case
Meant the finance committee soon had a red face.
And the deficit budget for which they must pray
Was not considered viable by the LA.
Then the Secretary of State did loudly bray,
Because the delegated budget had been taken away,
In the autumn term of 2014,
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

As soon as the catastrophe came to be known
The alarm from mouth to mouth was blown,
And the cry rang out all o’er the schools,
Good Heavens! The Pay Policy had broken the rules!
And an IEB was set up on the morrow
Which fill’d all the parents’ hearts with sorrow,
And made them for to turn pale,
Because none of the governors were sav’d to tell the tale
Of how the disaster happen’d in the autumn term of 2014,
Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

It must have been an awful sight,
To witness them under the media spotlight,
While the Twitterati did laugh, and mockingly did bray,
About the Governors’ Policy on the Teachers’ Pay.

Oh! Ill-fated Policy on the Teachers’ Pay,
I must now conclude my lay
By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,
That your pay and appraisal system will not give way,
(At least many sensible men do say)
If it’s supported with a well-thought out policy,
(At least many sensible men agree)
For the better we implement our PRP
The less chance we have of getting a Three.

 ………
Please note this set of verses has been created for comic effect only. The events described are entirely fictional and should be regarded as entertainment rather than a considered view on the likely outcome of implementing any pay policy based on performance as judged by lesson observation grades or pupil progress from dubious starting points. Please do not eat the daisies ….
 

Inspired by ….  The Tay Bridge Disaster by William McGonagall

Beautiful Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay!

Alas! I am very sorry to say

That ninety lives have been taken away

On the last Sabbath day of 1879,

Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

’Twas about seven o’clock at night,

And the wind it blew with all its might,

And the rain came pouring down,

 And the dark clouds seem’d to frown,

And the Demon of the air seem’d to say-

“I’ll blow down the Bridge of Tay.”

When the train left Edinburgh

The passengers’ hearts were light and felt no sorrow,

But Boreas blew a terrific gale,

Which made their hearts for to quail,

 And many of the passengers with fear did say-

“I hope God will send us safe across the Bridge of Tay.”

But when the train came near to Wormit Bay,

Boreas he did loud and angry bray,

And shook the central girders of the Bridge of Tay

On the last Sabbath day of 1879,

Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

So the train sped on with all its might,

 And Bonnie Dundee soon hove in sight,

And the passengers’ hearts felt light,

 Thinking they would enjoy themselves on the New Year,

With their friends at home they lov’d most dear,

And wish them all a happy New Year.

So the train mov’d slowly along the Bridge of Tay,

Until it was about midway,

Then the central girders with a crash gave way,

And down went the train and passengers into the Tay!

The Storm Fiend did loudly bray,

Because ninety lives had been taken away,

On the last Sabbath day of 1879,

Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

As soon as the catastrophe came to be known

 The alarm from mouth to mouth was blown,

And the cry rang out all o’er the town,

Good Heavens! the Tay Bridge is blown down,

And a passenger train from Edinburgh,

Which fill’d all the peoples hearts with sorrow,

And made them for to turn pale,

Because none of the passengers were sav’d to tell the tale

How the disaster happen’d on the last Sabbath day of 1879,

Which will be remember’d for a very long time.

It must have been an awful sight,

 To witness in the dusky moonlight,

While the Storm Fiend did laugh, and angry did bray,

Along the Railway Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,

Oh! ill-fated Bridge of the Silv’ry Tay,

I must now conclude my lay

 By telling the world fearlessly without the least dismay,

That your central girders would not have given way,

At least many sensible men do say,

Had they been supported on each side with buttresses,

 At least many sensible men confesses,

For the stronger we our houses do build,

The less chance we have of being killed.

 See more at: http://www.mcgonagall-online.org.uk/gems/the-tay-bridge-disaster#sthash.JCKTYsdk.dpuf

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