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Free trial days

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by baxterbasics, Oct 1, 2018.

  1. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    I visited a social/ emotional EBD school today. It was quite extreme, as you can guess - locked doors, kids swearing and kicking the walls etc

    The agency wants me to do a "trial day". They don't normally pay for these (you can probably guess the agency)

    I said on the email, "I will be paid, won't I?"

    No reply as of yet - which speaks volumes

    Would you work in such an environment for a day for free?
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.
  2. steviepal

    steviepal Occasional commenter

  3. 50sman

    50sman Lead commenter

    Doctors do not work for free as a trial day
    Dustmen don’t work for free either!

    I rest my case
    APTSJ, Mermaid7, les25paul and 7 others like this.
  4. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    Agreed - it is yet another erosion of our professional status...I am not prepared to do it
  5. Moony

    Moony Lead commenter

    Irrispective of the agency charging the school you need to be paid.
    agathamorse, pepper5 and tonymars like this.
  6. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    No, repeat after me:

    I am a person of value and I respect MY time. If I do not respect MY time, nobody else will. MY time is valuable to me. Because MY time has value, I should only give it freely if it profits me. If it does not profit me, I will need to be paid.​

    What a pi$$ take!:mad:

    I'm sure @Jolly_Roger15 could comment on this 'work for free' philosophy.

    And now you have to politely decline and come up with an acceptable excuse so as not to alienate the agency who may have real paid work on offer.

    Remember the natural progression from NO pay is really LOW pay.:(
  7. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    The way i put it was "I will be paid, won't I?"
    But I have not heard back since

    They will no doubt give me the nonsense about "if you make a good impression, they will book you for longer" etc
  8. The-Gaffer

    The-Gaffer Occasional commenter

    Ok so I'm assuming this 'trial day' is for tomorrow?

    I'd phone the agency up at 7am & explain to them that you haven't heard back about the rate. You are confirming that thier understanding is the same as yours that you will be paid your usual daily rate of ...

    Wait & see what they say
  9. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    It is for Wednesday, but we shall see...
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  10. nearmiss

    nearmiss Lead commenter

    No one with our qualifications should need unpaid work experience. Tell them that. There are laws covering national minimum wage and modern slavery. You work, you get paid.
  11. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    Yes, it is absolutely ridiculous.

    If somebody ever bothers to write a history of education in the UK, they would conclude that the status, conditions, stresses, and pay of teachers took a complete nose-dive after around 2010.
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  12. captain scarlet

    captain scarlet Established commenter

    Tell the to stick it where the monkey sticks his nuts.

    Strange saying, father in law was always saying it though
    Mermaid7, agathamorse and tonymars like this.
  13. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Yes, certainly I could! An agency asking you to work unpaid? Fork off! Kiss My Arras! This agency (as @baxterbasics surmised, we know which one!) is using you as a 'loss leader', to get a toe hold in a new school.

    I would be more cynical than @catbefriender. Assume the lotus position, put on finger cymbals, and repeat this mantra:

    "Unpaid work does not lead to paid work." (ting).

    What is it with 'special schools'? They are notorious for wanting something for nothing. There is a PRU in Harrow, which has been advertising for a science teacher (and other subject specialists) for at least a year. Regularly, agencies phone me up about working there. What is it offering? It tried to get people willing to 'put something back' (euphemism for freebie). When that did not work, it offered CS rates of £10 per hour, contact time only.
    agathamorse and catbefriender like this.
  14. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    The other issue is...what protection do I have as a supply teacher over allegations?

    I ask this, because the HT asked if I am Team Teach trained

    So I could potentially be risking a lot volunteering for a day with little protection if a restraint goes wrong and somebody gets hurt.

    Let's put things into perspective: my mum has just been quoted £200 for a 20 minute consultation for arthritis at BUPA.

    We are being collectively taken for a ride
  15. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    @baxterbasics. It all sounds very dodgy! I wonder if the Head of this school knows you will be working unpaid, or is it just the agency trying to pocket all the cash. It might be worth asking the Head, and see what reaction you get.

    If he did not know, would the school's insurance cover you, if you were injured? Would your union support you, if complaints were made against you?
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    I would research the special school on company's house to see who exactly owns it and what they do. There is usually just one special school per LEA and they are usually doing things legit, paying proper salaries, employing QTs etc. but there are many private ones, run by social workers, accountants, photographers o_O, nurses etc. who employ a QT to run it, and try to get by with just TAs until the exam season, when they are flooded with referrals from the schools in their attempt to get these, extremely high risk of failing, and often violent students, basic passes at GCSE.

    As I have mentioned before the new English Language and Maths GCSEs is particularly challenging for the neuro typical child, but for children with EBD, it is extremely difficult for them to cope with the pressures.

    It really is a rip off, considering the schools could be paid up to £200 a day for each student. The money goes into the costs of running the centre, the investors' salaries, and the rest is paid on the staff's salaries, so they need to make as much profit as possible. In my area there are loads of these Alternative Provisions being set up. They last a few years, then they close down and the same investors set up again elsewhere with a new remit i.e. the first one could have been on sports and core curriculum, and then the next will be on art, and the next one on music and drama etc..
    Last edited: Oct 2, 2018
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    There are at least two special schools in Harrow, and this one sounds like a private one. It does the things you describe, such as buying in hourly paid subject specialist QTs, as-and-when.
    agathamorse likes this.
  18. catbefriender

    catbefriender Lead commenter

    Usually when a school had sch.uk in its email/website address was LEA funded but when it was org.uk or something else it was not. However some LEA funded academies use org.uk these days, to complicate matters further.

    Another way you can find out is if you ask whether you could complete Induction there as you can only complete Induction in LEA run APs and PRUs.

    All the work for free offers I got from APs where from private ones I could easily find full details of on the companies house website.
    agathamorse likes this.
  19. baxterbasics

    baxterbasics Senior commenter

    It is definitely an LEA run special school.

    I think the main issue here is that agencies don't appreciate the sorts of skills, risks and preparation needed to work in these places.

    Is it any wonder, as most of these agents have never been teachers, let alone worked in that sort environment.

    It takes very special skills, should be paid properly and proper advice should be given on the risks of working with volatile kids.
  20. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I would never work in one of those places - it's just too risky
    agathamorse and pepper5 like this.

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