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Advice

Discussion in 'Independent' started by jlm1984, Jul 7, 2019.

  1. jlm1984

    jlm1984 New commenter

    Hi all,

    Please could you advise what you would do in the following circumstances.

    I work in and independent SEN school, run as a business but funded by the LA. 1:1 environment, I'm the lead teacher and responsible for the whole education provision. I'm also the only qualified teacher in the whole school and 1/4 of the senior management team.

    Workload has become an issue for myself and the rest of the team- we are expected to plan, evaluate and RAG every lesson we deliver. There is recorded on our MIS.

    Teaching - all curriculum subjects are taught by myself and my unqualified teacher with some like Citizenship being done by our learning support. Our freelance teacher is leaving, so I will have 6 subjects to teach from September. Ability range is from entry level to GCSE so lots of planning and prep involved. With only 2 teachers, we simply cannot give the kids the amount of teaching hours they need to cover everything and I feel the 6 subjects for me to teach along with all of my management responsibilities is excessive.

    We need another teacher, however there are 2 issues. One, it is now July and there is no sign of an advert going out. Two, the pay is much lower than in mainstream so I think we will struggle to find anyone at all, nevermind anyone qualified. E.g.. my salary is less than what I would get just as an M6 teacher with no responsibility and I have loads of responsibility where I am now.

    We are also being expected to record and evidence everything to the extreme in folders, books, portfolios. Literally everything we do. I've also been asked to create workbooks for smsc which I know will take ages to prepare but which won't ever get used. I have strongly raised that I'm not happy with these but it's falling on deaf ears like most things.

    Any advice?
    Thanks in advance
     
  2. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Have you ever considered teaching overseas? It's a lot more fun and less stress. You can send me one of those TES Conversation things.
     
  3. jlm1984

    jlm1984 New commenter

    Thanks, but not really for me. I looked into a few years back but decided it wasn't for me.
     
  4. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    This is so unlike anything in any independent school that I know or have worked in that I can offer no advice and can only say good luck.
     
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I replied to this on WD, but, if you haven't already, perhaps post on the SEN board...other people there might work in something more similar.
     
  6. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    It sounds a bit like (but definitely not) my main workplace which deals with similar clientele.
    I am guessing:
    • You receive last resort kids who are funded by their LA. They need intensive 1:1 tuition as their learning difficulties or learned behaviour prevent learning in large groups.
    • Either you are attempting to undercut other alternative providers to get business so not charging enough in the way of fees or too much money is being taken out of the business as profit.
    • Your management feel a strong need to "quality assure" all the lessons, but don't have the intellectual resources or the skills to do this in a non-intrusive or supportive way.
    The ray of hope is that you are on SMT so have some influence.
    I would say that you need to put together a SWOT analysis of the school for a meeting not too far into the future.
    I would encourage the management to consider buying in part time teachers of the subjects where you feel you have least expertise or interest - almost no teacher in my school works full time. This can cause some difficulties but does ensure that we can provide someone with skills in and enthusiasm for most subjects on the timetable.
    Think about less time-consuming ways of reviewing quality than death by paperwork. We record the content of lessons, but only expect a brief summary of the content and the child's response - in a form so that we can use that as a record of where we've been and where we're going. Most of our youngsters have learning difficulties - the amount covered in lessons is pften small, especially if they're having a bad day.
    We have had excellent reports from the independent schools inspection service, and seem to be well regarded by local authorities around us. Paper work does not have to be overwhelming.
    If the owners of the business continue to treat it as a bargain basement "cash cow" you may have little alternative but to think of something else to do. The sort of kids you work with need expertise above all.
     
  7. jlm1984

    jlm1984 New commenter

    Thanks phlogiston. Comments below
    • You receive last resort kids who are funded by their LA. They need intensive 1:1 tuition as their learning difficulties or learned behaviour prevent learning in large groups- yes, all the kids have been from pillar to post. Most academically very able at present, but can't manage in groups/noisy environments.
    • Either you are attempting to undercut other alternative providers to get business so not charging enough in the way of fees or too much money is being taken out of the business as profit.- As far as I'm aware no one else has ever bid for the contract. My school have had it for 11 years.
    • Your management feel a strong need to "quality assure" all the lessons, but don't have the intellectual resources or the skills to do this in a non-intrusive or supportive way- I whole heartedly disagree with the need for all the planning. The two most senior members of staff have never taught a lesson in their lives and it is an uphill struggle to make them understand why its excessive and time consuming.
    The ray of hope is that you are on SMT so have some influence.
    I would say that you need to put together a SWOT analysis of the school for a meeting not too far into the future.
    I would encourage the management to consider buying in part time teachers of the subjects where you feel you have least expertise or interest - almost no teacher in my school works full time.

    We've had two part time freelancers this year, one for Science and one for History and to help with English. One has left already, one will leave at the end of term. Salary is a key issue in getting teaching staff as it's so rubbish.
     

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