A school has been accused of undermining teachers’ authority by getting pupils to ‘spy’ in lessons and report back to senior staff.
The ‘secret shopper’ scheme at Longfield Secondary School in Darlington has been branded ‘outrageous’ by teachers.
Headteacher Susan Jones introduced the scheme to improve the performance of teachers and to share good practice.
She told Tes: ‘We are acutely aware that the pupils are our customers, and gathering pupil voice has always been important to us.
‘However, in the past we have not always informed the pupils in advance that we would be asking them for their views.’
The scheme is based on ‘mystery shoppers’ who visit retailers and report back to head office about the standards of customer service.
At the end of term the school held a ‘Customer Service Week’ where the pupils tasked to mark their teachers gave their results to senior staff.
One teacher, who did not want to be named, said: ‘I personally think it’s absolutely outrageous, basically, the kids were sent in to spy on us.
‘We don’t know what information was shared, we’ll never know and I’m just not comfortable with that at all.’
Concerns were also raised whether pupils were mature enough to grade their teachers performance.
General secretary of teaching union ATL Mary Bousted branded the idea ‘corrosive’ and feared it would ‘turn teaching into a popularity contest’.
She said: ‘It’s underhand, deceitful and it corrupts the proper order of relations in schools.’