The SIG GroupNovember 9, 2006
The SIG Group at Stafford Grove school reflected its importance in its composition. It was lead by the most junior member of SMT, Joyce, the head of the sixth form. Each department was represented by the least important person from each department (providing they were a permanent full-time employee that had been there more than a week). For my department that meant me.
SIG stands for School Improvement Group. I guess this means that calling it the SIG Group is technically inaccurate. However the word “Improvement” in the title is not just technically inaccurate, but better described as screamingly, blatantly, dishonestly, staggeringly, inaccurate. The last thing we were meant to do is improve the school.
Why not? Well the main problem the school had (and OFSTED had confirmed this) was discipline. The main scope for improvement was also therefore discipline. The previous year, before I’d joined it, the SIG group had looked at discipline and concluded that it could be improved by photocopying a sheet called “How to catch them being good” and distributing it to staff. This somehow failed to do the trick against the rising tide of assaults on staff. So we had another look. We looked at detentions.
First it was pointed out that at some schools teachers didn’t have to organise their own detentions – thereby no longer penalising teachers for enforcing the rules.
“The Head won’t allow that”, Joyce pointed out.
Then it was raised that children don’t turn up for detentions. We did a survey of staff and discovered the attendance rate at detentions was under 50%. We suggested there should be some consequence for not turning up.
“The Head won’t allow that” said Joyce.
So now we’d got to the core of the problem. The only punishment we had was a strain on teachers and completely optional for students.
So we came up with something. We photocopied some sheets about how to do detentions and distributed them to the staff. Then we waited to see if that did the trick.
My feeling is that the problems I had in the next two weeks getting students off of the roof were enough to suggest it didn’t actually solve our problems.
At the end of the year our exam results went down by over 10%.
Now that was something the Head did allow to happen.