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Is this legal?

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by heypeach, Feb 15, 2011.

  1. Hi all,
    I need to get a second opinion on something.
    I'm not a teacher, but my boyfriend is currently working at an MLD school on supply. Although he has been working there for a few weeks now full-time, (and is also manning the Art dept by himself), he has been given no real indication on how long the school require his service (although the school have vaguely mentioned that they may require him up to Easter).
    Having finished his PGCE last year, he is keen to begin his NQT year now - which he would not be able to complete at his current school. He was thrilled to find out that he has been selected for an interview at a school tomorrow and rang his agency to notify them that he would not be able to work tomorrow.
    His agency have threatened that they will get rid of him if he attends. This is obviously blackmail as he is having to choose whether to go to the interview tomorrow (which he may not get) or to remain on supply at this school, for an indefinite amount of time with no career prospects. The woman at the agency has told him that "competition is too high, and that there are no jobs right now and he won't get the position he's going for anyway" which I think is absolutely horrific as if he were sick for a day they wouldn't have grounds to 'fire' him.
    What can he do about this?

    Many thanks in advance.
  2. littlemissraw

    littlemissraw Occasional commenter

    If hes on day to day supply there is nothing he can really do, if its fixed term they there should be notice both ways.
    If he is at his current school for at least a term he should be on induction.
    Has he tried speaking to his line manager at the school rather than the agency about this interview? Supply is only good for 16 month. He needs to find a permenant post, and although a huge risk financially IMO he needs to go to the interview. x
  3. I cannot comment on the legality, but it most certainly is not good for the agency to treat its most valuable asset this way.
    NQTs in agency employment must take care that thje agency understands theiur needs as well as the agency simply thinking of their employees as cash cows. As a NQT he needs to get an induction post and start the process. If the school cannot say if this could be a term long post - which by law then makes it an induction post - regardless of who the employer is.
    By not attending the interview the only possible loser can be him. The agency will carry on making money while he goes to schools, the school gets a good teacher to plug a gap and ultimately, for him, the clock on the sixteen months ticks on.
    Clearly he is good for the agency otherwise they would not object. He cleraly makes them money. But once his sixteen months is up they will lose and so will he.
    In his place I would consider chenging agency - they are clearly not looking after him, just their own interests.
  4. jubilee

    jubilee Star commenter

    He should attend the interview and should have spoken to the school directly about it, as well as confirming it with the agency. Presumably the job vacancy is for a start after Easter or in September; the current school should understand that their temporary teachers have to secure employment for after the placement ends. Planning the work for the day's absence also helps.
    The agency is being highly unprofessional in trying to persuade him not to apply for jobs. They will be keen to keep a newly qualified teacher on their books as they are cheaper and generate more profit for the agency.
    As has previously been said, he is limited to a 16 month 'window' to be employed on supply without a completed Induction. That 16 month period will count down from his first day of qualified teaching and will expire 16 months later even if he doesn't get much work in that time. he'd then need an LA extension (up to another 12 months possible, but not guaranteed) to carry on supply teaching without having passed Induction.
    Agencies are clueless on the supply limits applying to NQTs and some continue to employ NQTs illegally.
    Your boyfriend has no guarantee of being kept on at the current school even if he is absent through sickness for one day. The school would get another supply teacher in and could easily decide to stick with the newbie. The agency will always agree to what the school decides. Contracts with agencies usually stipulate a day's notice and someone was on here recently, having been told towards the end of a week off for illness, that the long-term work had been given to her supply replacement.


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