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Is it legal to replace long term supply with unqualified?

Discussion in 'Supply teaching' started by jmntsp, May 21, 2011.

  1. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

    Can anyone answer this question for me? I'm presently on long (ish) term supply covering a full time teacher who is off due to sickness. I've done loads of supply in this school and know all the staff well, so I've spoken to this teacher a couple of times over the phone to chat about his classes, checking what he wants me to do next, etc. He's presently recovering from quite a serious op and is certainly not fit for work, but is quite happy to talk to me about work, and actually requested that I be the one who did his cover as he knew that I would be competent and that he would feel happy to leave his groups in my care. I've covered for the last month. Anyway.....now that Y11 have just gone on study leave yesterday the school cover secretary suddenly mentioned to me that we'll just have to see how things go, she's not sure if they are going to need me anymore. They'll see me Monday and she'll check with the Head about whether they are going to need me or if they'll just use cover supervisors now that I've lost all the Y11 lessons, which admittedly gives me about 2 free periods more every day. I know this teacher will be off until end of July and this has come as a nasty shock as they'd asked me originally if I could cover for him until his return.

    Anyway, my question is, is this legal? I thought you could only use unqualified CS for short term absence and supposedly, if you could not get a qualified teacher. Surely the school are not allowed to dispense of my services covering long term sickness and use unqualified staff instead because it will be cheaper?
  2. Unfortunately schools can do what they like.
    The rules are ambiguous and written to be very unclear.On one side there seems to be some sort of three day thing where schools are supposed to get qualified teachers in for absence longer than 3 days. In secondary even this is open to massive interpretation. Possibly interpreted as Secondary teacher off, teaching group has three periods a week. So further interpreted as a qualified teacher is needed after the teaching group has lost 3 days worth spread over 3-4 weeks.
    So interpret it that way bend the 'rules', a little bit more and add a further two weeks on, then you have 6 weeks which is half a school term.
    To ensure that the rules can be interpreted which ever way a school likes to interpret them (to save money) the rule makers say it's all at the headteachers discretion anyway.
    Headteachers decide who is fit to teach the classes, CS's good and nice, supply teachers a mercenary bunch of has beens or wannabees, Only concerned about their weekly pay check.
    Supply teachers think childrens education is missing out. and they are missing out on work.
    Children and parents. They are given a healthy helping of propaganda (CS are good and supply teachers are not good) so they don't really know what it is happening.
    Me, highly miffed. I normally get loads of work on the run in for GCSE, picking up coursework and being told I have done a good job. This year well the CS's have taught the coursework. under the guidance of the HOD and the discretion of the head.
    Those HOD's must be real hot-shots, being able to get unqualfied and inexperienced staff unfamiliar with the G.C.S.E. specification to teach the classes. As I would be highly pushed to get coursework done by just leaving a lesson plan for someone else to teach. I would also find this a big burden if I was a HOD. However the HOD's do not seem to be complaining.
    So everything is OK unless you are a supply teacher. And some supply teachers work very hard and do an excellent job. And some supply teachers wear I pods in class. (ref CS forum) the IPod wearing supply is the high tech version of the newspaper reading supply of a few years ago.

  3. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    @Technically' legal or not, maynot come into the equation. Be prepared!
  4. It is also worth remembering that with pension arguments, falling school rolls, redundancy. Some teachers are grasping early retirement to get the best pension deal. If they stay on new deals on pensions may not be to their advantage.
    Heads happily say great job you have done, we will throw a few days direct to school supply your way if you knock it on the head now, and I can tell everyone how me the head has avoided making staff redundant. So you can go gardening and do a bit of teaching for us.
    Which is fair enough but not good for us lot.
    The CS's, they love their job, however they do moan a bit about the pay.
    Me, well I went in as a CS a week ago. No work left, HOD off and teacher off and CS's off.
    Must have been a bad hair day for the school. It was certainly a bad hair day for me!
    . . . . . . on half pay
  5. And hear is some tittle tattle. I was talking to a recently retired HOD out of school.
    Hows things I ask?
    Just retired
    Sounds good
    It's OK and you (asking me)
    No work broke on supply
    Yep he says we missed you but we stopped using supply
    Schools make their choices I answer gloomily
    Yep had a supply in before I went. Great teacher very happy with her work
    School told me to drop her. We can use (alternative cover)
    I reach for my IPOD

  6. typo error in my last post. should be 'here' instead of 'hear'. Before I get told off!
  7. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    I was once put in a Maths lesson with a laptop-tapping CS. He stayed in one seat fiddling with his computer and occasionally growling at the kids, while I stayed on my feet, got in among them and attempted to move their learning forwards. Vive la difference.

    Regarding the OP, the rules are simple:

    In Primary, theoretically no use of unqualified cover after three days of absence. I know this is not always the case - my sister is a TA, and will not become a HLTA because her Head uses them for maternity covers.

    In Secondary it is the Head's discretion as to what constitutes 'short term absence', so there is no agreed time limit after which supply must be used, hence the creative use of CS in some high schools.

    That said, the OP's case is one of the most cynical pieces of supply teacher manipulation I've heard of. That's a bloody disgrace.
  8. Another nice piece of rule making by the rule makers.
    You can use unqualified staff if a qualified teacher is not available.
    School phones a naff agency, with naff pay rates.
    Naff agency says ain't got a teacher. or sends a naff supply in. The supply teacher who wears an IPOD in class (observation on the CS forum from our CS <strike>teaching</strike> colleagues). For anybody not sure what a CS is. A Cs is a person paid by schools not to teach classes. Only we in the UK could accept this 'Yes minister', style of very british word play.
    School uses this as evidence they tried (albeit not very hard)
    Or school insists on CS rates, knowing there is a good chance they will get a qualifed supply teacher in anyway.
    Them rule makers have covered all bases to ensure the rules they make, . . . . . . can be bent.
    Meanwhile the rule makers boast of robust standards for teaching and teachers on their carefully crafted websites.
    Teachers and TV, teaching does not lend itself to good drama (my personal opinion of Waterloo Road). However it does lend itself to good comedy.
    We need a teachers sit-com, I have plenty of time to write the screenplay!

  9. Towards the end of last year Michael Gove was given a Parliamentary question which he delegated to Nick Gibb to answer. The question asked about the number of unqualified staff teaching in schools and the effect on the employment of NQTs.
    Nick Gibb waffled on about the number of unqualified teachers in post but did not mention at all the number of staff with no form of teaching, coaching or instructional qualifications.
    Nor did he mention that it is in fact illegal to employ some groups of unqualified teachers when there are qualified teachers available.
    What does it say for the competence of politicians, senior civil servants and trade union leaders who make up regulations, guidelines and National Agreements that can be so widely interpreted. Why is it illegal to employ instructors when there are qualified teachers available and also illegal for qualified teachers without GTC registration to teach but it is perfectly legal for anybody else to teach even if they have no teaching qualifications?
    Is this an example of English justice in action? I just wish that I had more legal training on this matter as well as the laws on restraint of trade.

  10. jmntsp

    jmntsp New commenter

    Thanks for all the comments and postings. None of us really seem to know, do we? Is it legal to get rid of a qualified teacher and replace them with an unqualified CS? I thought schools had insurance that kicked in after 3 days so that the insurance paid for supply teachers for long term sick staff. Is this just an urban myth?
  11. Crowbob

    Crowbob Lead commenter

    It isn't illegal.

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