It’s that time of year. Everyone stares into the abyss, their pious hopes slowly peeling away. The hoped for last-minute burst of progress seems ever more unlikely. What are we to do?
You will be asked to ‘identify the underachievers’.
You will think they stand out like Nicky Morgan at a Union conference. They have made themselves obvious for the past few years. In fact, you will have complained about their underachievement to parents and managers in numerous reports.
You will be asked for your ‘interventions’.
You will think that all possible ways of forcing these recalcitrants to work have been tried. Short of doing their coursework for them what more can one do? Surely that can’t be what is wanted, can it?
You will be asked to take compulsory revision sessions.
You will think why will a detention with teaching bring a magic cure for indolence? You will put in the extra unpaid overtime for those that cannot provide an accepted excuse and see the same responses as in your usual lessons.
You will be asked to do ‘Easter school’ and other holiday lessons.
You will think for goodness sake, give me a break!
You will be asked to ‘close the gap’ between PP and the other pupils.
You will think 4 levels of progress is a lot more than closing a gap and anyway why will these pupils do so much better when neither they nor you have seen any of the funding? No extra helpers, books, devices or any additional resource at all, where did all that money go?
You will be asked for ‘data’ to show progress.
You will think is it really worth all of that extra hassle and scrutiny to tell the truth? If you massage the marks in the mocks a bit the problem would just go away. You won’t be getting that increment anyway so why advertise the class shortcomings? All of your previous warnings and calls for help were ignored with that patient ‘well they work and behave well for others’ look.
You will be asked by parents if a private tutor will help.
You will think an hour a week of an unknown teacher will definitely outweigh many hours of your best efforts at individual instruction over months maybe years, of course it will.
You will be asked to find a way of overcoming every shortcoming in the pupil, the school, it’s SLT and your own performance in the few weeks that are left.
You will think I have done my best in the circumstances, this last minute panic I predicted and it is unfair to expect me to carry on giving ever more of my time, energy and expertise in the vain hope that a final revelation will manifest in the underperforming. Why don’t we listen to the complaints about performance at the start of the Key Stage and panic then?
As usual you will do it all without complaint, and just like last year, it won’t work; And just like last year, you will do it all again next year.