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Teaching in a Special Measures School

Amy is a secondary school teacher who has works for Protocol Education. Amy has worked in a number of different schools and in her most recent blog she shares her experience of working in a Special Measures School. 

Teaching in a Special Measures School

When a school is in 'special measures', it is easy to be put off straight away. OFSTED have clearly stated that it has to improve. Yet working in a special measures school can often be rewarding, with students really appreciating good teaching. Seven years into my teaching career, I worked in my first special measures school. The experience was both challenging and rewarding at the same time.

How quickly can a school fall into special measures?

It can take a school as little as just 6-8 weeks (half a term) to plunge from good into special measures. It can take years to recover. The lack of strong leadership and management can mean a negative effect on the whole educational institution. This can often mean poor behaviour from students and low staff morale.

What can you expect from a special measures school?

It is good to get into a special measures school when it is on the up. As a good teacher, you can really make a difference. Here are some of the key challenges of working in a special measures school...

  • High staff turnover
  • Challenging behaviour
  • Possible poor management from SLT or Heads of Department
  • High levels of scrutiny such as increased amounts of observations or OFSTED visits
  • Extra lesson plan submissions to the Head or SLT
  • Financial issues due to loss of pupils
  • Low TA availability for SEN support


Top Tips for Working in a Special Measures School

I would recommend working in a special measures school for the experience. It can help you to be more effective with your time management and improve your discipline. Here are my top ten tips for working in a special measures school...

  • Enjoy it! If he kids see that you like being with them, they will feel the positive energy in the classroom.
  • Plan lessons effectively with fun plenaries. Poor behaviour is often a result of poor planning.
  • Keep on top of your marking on a fortnightly basis (plan your PPA's).
  • Follow up on sanctions and carry them out when promised.
  • Be firm but fair in behaviour management. Be clear that it is the behaviour that is a problem (not personal).
  • Share resources and encourage each other within your department.
  • Delegate jobs to students. It will give them responsibility and take pressure off you as the teacher.
  • Reward good behaviour and hard work.
  • Use educational DVDs and YouTube clips to free you up for 10 or 15 minutes each lesson. This will allow you to give feedback to pupils and check their books.
  • Communicate well with other staff such as Form Tutors and Head of House and they will support you.

Would you like to know more about working in a Special Measures School? Do you have any questions for Amy? Email them to and we will get your questions answered. 

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Tags: AmyTR, Watford, Secondary, supply, special-measures, OFSTED, rankings, development

Category: Australian Teachers

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