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Can I demand to work less?

Discussion in 'Independent' started by Bellatrix, Feb 27, 2019.

  1. Bellatrix

    Bellatrix New commenter

    I work at a boarding school as Head of Drama. Currently have department of two plus a grad student who works all the hours! Next year being told I’m losing the grad student, but still expected to keep same level of extra-curricular work - I.e. 5 productions a year, tech club, backstage club, playwriting club, arts award etc.

    The head of music only teaches 1 hour a week of academic lessons because of his extra-curricular workload, which is less than mine currently and will be substantially less when I have to pick up an extra third to cover for all the work my grad student does. I teach 13 hours a week - still lovely by state sector standards, but I have a 60 hour contact week with marking/planning/set painting on top of that.
    The late nights and weekends are set to match the local boys school, but the head of drama there gets accommodation and a much higher salary than I do. Currently I have to live in the most expensive town in the county because if I didn’t have a 5 min journey to work I’d go insane and never see the inside of my flat!

    My union basically said sorry you work in a private school - but surely the “reasonable request of HT” won’t stand up when not a single other member of staff in whole school has the anti-social hours I do and my equivalent in music teaches 12 hours less a week than I do? Head of sport never works past 6pm. I work til 9:30 three nights a week.

    Has anyone had any luck with trying to stop the tide of screwing over the young(ish!) single member of staff because no kids obviously equals no requirement to be anywhere but school?

    It’s a HMC school if that makes any difference? They don’t have to adhere to the burgundy book do they? Or does it just mean they generally pay same or more than state.
  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    No, Burgundy Book doesn't apply, but even if it did it would be irrelevant to your problem. (It's STPCD that deals with working time, but that too is irrelevant to a private school).

    Generally speaking in private schools pay is higher and holidays longer but more working hours and evening/weekend working are expected in term time.
  3. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    Have you spoken to the head about it? I would try and explain to them (use a diagram) how many hours you currently work and how the proposed increase in your workload will effect this. If you're doing to much your work is going to suffer and therefore the quality of teaching the students are getting. If you're having to work until 9.30 at night I don't think they can't expect you in until 8.30 the next day (@Rott Weiler is more knowledgeable on these things) so that may be worth pointing out.
    Bellatrix likes this.
  4. Bellatrix

    Bellatrix New commenter

    Generally speaking in private schools pay is higher and holidays longer but more working hours and evening/weekend working are expected in term time.[/QUOTE]

    Yeah I get that, and Drama is always a subject that gets hit, but there is no parity across the school we’re linked with (I don’t get a free house) and across similar departments (I work longer hours and teach far more hours). Part of me wonders if it’s because all the other comparable staff are men...
  5. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    No, of course, you can't demand to work less.
    Well you could, but ...

    It matters not a jot what other people in other schools do or don't do.

    Make a nice chart showing what the other heads of departments do in terms of teaching, duties, extra, curricula, etc. Then add up all the hours and show how you do significantly more.
    Work out a solution, ideally one that won't cost the school any money, and take it to the head (or whichever member of SLT works out the timetable and duties).

    Don't mention that you think you work more because the other staff are men! :rolleyes:
    Kateray1, willcott and JohnJCazorla like this.
  6. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Is it just down to negotiation then? Can you charm, flatter, request, schmooze... the right people to bring about the conditions you want? Backed up by the (implied) threat that you'll clear off if you're not treated better?

    How much of a novice are you at this politicking? Because that's what it will take. Do you have a friend/relative who can guide you through this process? Probably not anyone at the school because the best game player will probably game you and it's a zero-sum game.

    Apologies if I've shocked you into realising that it's not the best teachers who get the best working conditions and pay.
  7. willcott

    willcott New commenter

    Comparison is the thief of joy.

    As others have said, you need to present your case for a reduction in workload calmly and with appropriate evidence to the relevant person. This is usually the Deputy Head in an Independent but you may ultimately need to approach the Head.

    Any school genuinely interested in staff welfare would not be happy with placing the demands you have described on to one teacher. Accordingly, if the school offers no support and you remain unhappy then you will need to start looking at a different section of the TES website.

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