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Left with no management

Discussion in 'Scotland - Primary' started by jen_jen1986, Feb 26, 2018.

  1. jen_jen1986

    jen_jen1986 New commenter

    I am looking for any advice on where we stand on this issue. We are a village school with 90 pupils. Our only management is the headteacher. She has been out of school at meetings on 12 occcasions since Christmas leaving us with no management. Today she was at a meeting all day despite 2 teachers, the supply teacher, the secretary and janitor all being absent. This meant there was only 2 fully qualified teachers in the school. Our p1/2 class was being taught by a student teacher and the nursery teacher had to cover p4/5. There was also a major behaviour incident.

    Is it right for us to be left without management so often? Apparantely if the ht didn't attend today's meeting we would miss out on funding so she had to be there.
  2. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    From your account, education in Scotland is clearly stretched, and woefully underfunded.

    For a start, student teachers should not be being used as supply staff. Whilst students should have an opportunity to take some responsibility for a whole class in their final ITE year, the permanent class teacher should still be available if assistance is required.

    The nursery teacher being used to cover a class could also be an issue if the required child / staff ratios are not being adhered to in the nursery. In addition, what does it say about the importance of nursery education if a nursery teacher can be withdrawn to cover absences elsewhere in a school?

    Also, if the secretary and janitor are absent, who is available to take urgent telephone calls and manage the secure school entry system - an auxiliary or learning assistant, I presume, which takes them away from their other responsibilities.

    To be fair to the head teacher, they are under increasing pressure to attend LA, and other, meetings and senior officers seem to have little understanding of how overstretched schools are in terms of staffing. I have also heard of some HTs deciding to 'work from home' so that they can get peace and quiet to complete the ever-increasing paperwork, required by the LA and Education Scotland, without much consideration of how this can impact on everyone else's workload.

    Unfortunately, those who have run the Scottish Qualification for Headship up till now seem to be of the opinion that there are lots of other people in primary schools who can take on the HT's responsibilities when they are absent. Then again, perhaps their understanding of the role of a primary head teacher is someone who can sit in an office, overseeing policies, paperwork and performance without having to deal with the day-to-day realities of children and teaching.

    At the very least, I would have expected a school of 90 pupils to have a Principal Teacher on the staff to be, for example, a point of contact in the event of an emergency, given that HTs are, increasingly, expected to be elsewhere.

    Given that you are working in a small village school, getting the HT, and LA, to address the issues you raise may not be without its difficulties. One course of action would be to raise the matter with a local union officer but beware of putting too much trust in them. In my experience, whilst some can be helpful, others appear to be working hand-in-glove with the LA employer. If they are unable to help, speaking to a senior union officer at headquarters may prove more worthwhile. At least they should be able to give you the legal position.

    In the first instance, however, you should raise the matter with your head teacher. You mention that there was a major behaviour incident whilst the HT was out of school. You could, for example, ask for clarification as to what is to happen in the event of a major incident happening again when there is no manager on the premises. At the very least, I would expect the LA employer to have a written policy dealing with such a situation.

    Good luck.

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