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Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by ashleighmariec, Jan 28, 2020.

  1. ashleighmariec

    ashleighmariec New commenter

    How many periods of cover are we expected to do in an academic year. I have done 4 already. Is this normal?
  2. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    I've been in schools where pretty much once a fortnight and at times once a week I had to 'cover' for absent colleagues.

    Depends what sort of school it is, Independents don't employ supply teachers, so always more cover needed, but check in your school pack if there's anything written and also with your union.
    agathamorse likes this.
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    LOLOL How long is a piece of string!?!

    How much non-contact do you have in a week?
    What does your contract say?
    What sort of school are you in? (Free school? Independent? Academy? Local authority?)

    If I'd done four this year, I'd be thrilled to bits!
    But then I do get 20% non-contact time, so hey ho.
    yodaami2, Pomza and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  4. ashleighmariec

    ashleighmariec New commenter

    No I dont have 20%, non contact time, dont have a head of department or any support either...
  5. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    Are the covers you are doing equitable with your colleagues?

    From your last post, it sounds as though there is more going on than the number of lessons you are covering.
  6. install

    install Star commenter

    Ask your lm. Email your Cover Person to raise your concern. Maybe book a morning off timetable to catch up with planning/marking due to you covering so much for absent colleagues. Or book more CPD for yourself in the year if that is what others are doing.
  7. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Occasional commenter

    When I started teaching, 30 years ago, I was averaging at least one cover a fortnight, not evenly spread out so this time of year was very busy. One year I did 36 covers the most in the school. The DHT who organised the cover used to publish the amount done by each person. SLT did very little and this practice was stopped.
    When the rarely cover clause came into the contract, my cover rate dipped to about one or two a year, different school. In the last few years before I retired the number was creeping up.
    With academies and free schools and the attitude of government towards the profession, you should expect your workload to continue to increase. Just glad I am out of it now.

    P.S.- I have speculated in other posts and once suggested this at a school staff meeting that SLT should all do at least 1 cover a week. The benefits? In a year they would see the workings of a high number of different classes. They could discuss with pupils what they were learning and check their understanding. They could look at the pupils books. They could assess the organisation and condition of the rooms and the displays. They would gain insight into the pupils attitudes towards a teacher and the subject by observing how they arrived and conducted themselves. Possibly an alternative to learning walks and marking scrutinizes?
    No one in SLT took up the idea.
  8. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Occasional commenter

    I haven’t done any for years, but my timetable is full so I refuse to cover as I only have 3ppas per week
  9. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    At my current school there were two things that indicated how much cover you would get. All teachers had potential cover lessons identified on their timetable. If you were on the rota for Period 5 (our only lesson after lunch) you were far more likely to be required. Equally, the earlier your surname was in the alphabet, the more cover you get.
    ilovesooty and JohnJCazorla like this.
  10. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    One of the many things I'd do on starting a new long-term supply was to identify and butter-up the Cover Organiser, usually a very harassed woman* in the office. Hopefully this would mean I was on the positive side of favouritism afterwards. I could and did appeal to her occasionally as well.

    Most likely it would have been the same regardless of my approach but given her stress levels maybe not.

    *only saw a man doing this once and I couldn't cope mentally with this :confused:
  11. madcatlady

    madcatlady Occasional commenter

    Best not come to our school, I've been here nearly 20 years, all the cover supervisors have been men

    OP: 4 doesn't seem very many to me. But it depends on a lot of things, as others have said
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  12. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

  13. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    If you are under STPCD, then there are two issues. First, is cover only being used for emergencies, which most often applies in the first day or so when somebody is off sick? It should not be used for long term absence, meetings, people off on CPD etc, where the need for cover is known in advance. Secondly, is cover being shared out fairly? I suppose there is a third potential issue if your PPA time is at the lower limit.

    If you are not under STPCD, then you would need to look at your own contract and general conditions of service at your school.

    Four periods so far this academic year does not seem a lot to me, and I think many teachers would consider it reasonable.

    I found the NEU's advice interesting, and generally agreed with it, although I very much doubt if adding a few students from another class really counts as cover in the same way as giving up time that would otherwise be free. This is one area where teachers can help without much in the way of personal cost. As long as we don't have to mark any extra work!
  14. Arc_en_ciel

    Arc_en_ciel New commenter

    That sounds like an awful lot of cover! I only did 50 mins of cover last year (half a period) because thankfully, we have a team of cover supervisors :)
  15. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    Wow 20% Do they use about 10% on cover then?
  16. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    We get the absolute minimum PPA. 10% and are expected to do no cover. They sometimes beg for a volunteer for emergencies, and always get a volunteer, usually a HOD or equivalent who will have more freed up time.
  17. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    In the style of the four Yorkshire men; you’re lucky! 5 a fortnight when I was full time.
  18. bobtes

    bobtes Occasional commenter

    Back in the days before guaranteed PPA/rarely cover, some colleagues and I had a little competition of how much cover we did in a year. Each of us in the top 3 did over 60 covers a year, so an average of 1.5 per week.
    Extremely glad those days are gone!
    Nowadays (and as a union rep I do monitor this), I would be asking questions about "emergency" and questioning any cover I was asked to do. 1 or 2 per year would be acceptable, assuming they were emergencies.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  19. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Well only on a very, very bad week.

    We are simply given (more or less) the time needed to do our jobs.
    However, we also do way, way more duties than anyone under STPCD would dream of, including lunch.
    We also have 3 Saturdays a year as open days.
    We have 3 parents evenings a year and 6 reports.

    So swings and roundabouts.
    Lara mfl 05 likes this.
  20. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Are we talking about the same thing? The cover organiser is the one who tells Cover Supervisors what they are doing today. I appreciate there are a lot of different job titles out there:rolleyes:

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