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Cover work when poorly

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by Lilyofthefield, Feb 13, 2010.

  1. Contact your Union rep who will issue the school with clear guidance on this matter: you are not (unless you're in an Academy or private school) required to set work when you are off sick.
    If you are off on a course or a trip, you must leave work. If you are off sick you are too sick to work (geddit, school?) and that includes setting work for others to teach. Your school is not even entitled to contact you at home unless you specifically give them leave to do so. Your line manager is paid to set work for absent staff.
    If you don't fancy a confrontation with your line managers over this, ask your Union rep to have a word and ensure that no comment about about this goes on your record. I daresay an apology will too much to ask but you should not have been told off for not setting work during a period of sick leave.
  2. fantastischfish

    fantastischfish Established commenter

    Lily is absolutely correct and I dare say if more of us had the backbone to stand up to line managers on this issue, there wouldn't be a problem. In both schools Ive worked in, there has been an expectation that you set work when off poorly. In my previous school, a good friend and I had a deal that if we were going to be off, we'd ring the other one and they'd set our cover for us. It wasn't too difficult to find text books and turn to a page for the kids to complete: a few comprehension exercises aren't going to hurt after all, and any supply teacher worth their salt can manage to get the kids answering a few questions.
    However, the pressure has always been there to set work. I hate it, and I know I shouldn't do it, but I always do. I take care not to set anything that requires marking on my return though. And I keep at home a copy of each of the text books that we have, so that I can set work from those. We have a fantastic TA who sorts out the cover work if someone's off (presumably the HoD doesn't have time or doesn't get paid enough to do this!) so I email her with the information and tell her whie books to place in my room. It makes it easier, if I have to do it.
    If you were off for 4 days, you were clearly very poorly and you are right, if you are too ill to go to work, you are too ill to plan cover work, mark books etc
    I remember being off a few months ago shortly after the year 11s had done their mock exam. I'd been dying on my feet all week and finally gave in and took Friday off after I hadn't eaten anything for 2 days. When I returned on Monday, I was asked , "I bet you got loads of mock exams marked, did you?" Errrmmm, NO! I was too ill to work, hence why I wasn't in. If I was well enough to get my head around marking, I'd have come to work. If I'd broken my leg, fair enough, I can mark at home/set cover. But illness is illness.
    Lily's right, seek union advice. We should all have the backbone to stand up to them on this matter.
  3. Um... does an Academy work differently? Should we have received notification of this? I have been signed off by the doctor. Do I need to set cover work?
  4. Ruthie66

    Ruthie66 New commenter

    it is my understanding that academies can dictate the terms of service to their teachers and so if they say you need to set work then you do. The idea of a nationally agreed set of working practices is out of the window where academies are concerned.
  5. Vampyria

    Vampyria New commenter

    In one department I worked in we actually compiled a file of suitable cover work for absent teachers. Each of us was put in charge of a year group at the time. It didn't take long at all.
    This reminds me of an appalling situation I heard about where a teacher collapsed in school and the ambulance was called. Incredibly while lying on a stretcher he was approached and asked about cover work for his classes that day!!!
  6. A friend of mine went into labour at school and was interrogated by the cover manager as to why she needed emergency cover and what an inconvenience it was......
  7. I did supply at one school where I was told not to mark the books - the head was going to drive them round to the teacher who was off sick's house that evening for her to do and pick them up in the morning! Despite my protestations that I fully expected to mark and it was fine, and did she want me to save her that running around in her evening (having sussed the score fully and wanting to protect the poor absent teacher but put it politely) - she was adamant that she'd be taking the books to her to be marked.
    Have been to that school since the head left and the staff that worked there at the time she did go visibly white and very very shaky when they think about the time she was in charge. By all accounts she was terrifying to work for.

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