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New timetable is 100% KS3 (Y7 and 8)

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by b1003040, Jul 5, 2018.

  1. b1003040

    b1003040 New commenter

    I am a biology teacher and have just found out my new timetable for September. It is my fourth year of teaching and my second year at my school, and have been assigned only Y7 and Y8 classes (13 classes in total).

    Really worried about this; my current timetable was very limited GCSE, but now even that has disappeared. Reasons why: I have been told is it is being trialed for a select few staff members to purely teach KS3 to see if that has an effect on engagement? It appears, however, it is only myself that has no KS4 classes.

    I think I'm struggling to find perspective, but can't help but wonder if this is going to affect my career in some way?
  2. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    One school I worked at did this for a while, the idea being that teachers would become real 'specialists' in the key stage they taught. It soon fizzled out as most staff weren't happy with it. It never happened to me as there wasn't enough ks3 to fill my timetable. Though one year I taught 12 year 8 classes and it nearly killed me...

    If it's just this year, you can easily explain at any future interviews what the school's agenda was. Long-term, having no GCSE classes won't help your career development. I'd try to make sure you have some input with GCSE this year, eg. Supporting revision sessions, helping with interventions if your timetable allows. And long before the timetable is made next year, share your wish to be teaching some ks4. Or apply to other schools.
  3. b1003040

    b1003040 New commenter

    Thank you for the advice
    Thank you for the advice - can't help but wonder what I've done wrong this year!
  4. curlcurlcurl

    curlcurlcurl Occasional commenter

    If you’re the only one teaching no KS4 I’d be inclined to ask how the KS3 classes can remain engaged if their teacher is continually having to put that extra element of performance that KS3 quite often need.

    Also, I’m assuming this means you’ll have an enormous queue at parents’ evening for the relevant year groups?

    It may be too late to change timetable now, but if I were the only one in the department not to be allocated any KS4, I’d feel it was more than a little suspect and would want to know why.
    agathamorse likes this.
  5. b1003040

    b1003040 New commenter

    First thing I asked my HOD was why, and they tried to reassure me that it was not a 'punishment' or anything.

    I'm thinking also of marking load during exam weeks!
    agathamorse and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  6. curlcurlcurl

    curlcurlcurl Occasional commenter

    I do think you may need to push it a little further. Express those concerns. You’re quite rightly worried about lots of centrally set assessments piling in at once.
    - Are you taking ALL KS3 groups?
    - What was the rationale behind choosing you above others?
    - If they feel it’s a strategy to increase engagement and it happens to work, what happens the following year? Make it clear you wouldn’t be happy to take this on permenantly as it will limit your GCSE experience which is a big measurement in performance management.
    agathamorse, Lara mfl 05 and install like this.
  7. b1003040

    b1003040 New commenter

    I think I will, thank you.
    I will have 13 out of 20 groups, but a few of those are shared.

    Very good points, I will set a meeting to try to sort this out. Even the head of KS3 science at the school has fewer classes at KS3, and has KS4 and KS5 classes!
    agathamorse, Lara mfl 05 and install like this.
  8. install

    install Star commenter

    Wow -

    1 How many parents will you have to see on yr7 parents eve?
    2 How many yr7 reports will you have to write at the same time?
    3 How many exam papers will you have to mark at the same time?
    4 What happens to all those yr7 students and lessons if you are ill?
    5 Ditto for yr 8
    6 Do some see your classes as 'baby sitting' while they teach gcse classes - and you as just a 'cover' person and 'walkover' which you are clearly not ?
    7 What about promotion prospects being limited with your lack of underdtanding at ks4?
    8 Is this happening to others?
    9 Is soneone creaming off the best classes to make themselves look good?
    10 It is never too late to change an impossible, unreasonable and unworkable timetable that will only cause stress, problems and crisis for you, your 'team', the students, parents and school.

    Speak to your lm urgently. Speak to Union too. Do not allow anyone to take you for granted or treat you in this manner. If no luck- then leave:cool:
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
  9. b1003040

    b1003040 New commenter

    "Wow" - I know, exactly what I felt
    Writing all these points down.

    I'm particularly worried about KS4 development - only 1 year into teaching AQA, now will have no further experience until next year. Why, why, why!

    This has really soured my attitude towards the school: this morning I was loving life!
    agathamorse and install like this.
  10. Progressnerd

    Progressnerd Occasional commenter

    Sounds nothing short of ridiculous. A level always seems to be one of those where it's always a select few that get to teach it in the department but GCSE should usually be taught by everyone unless you're an NQT (even then they might teach GCSE). It's not only hampering your experience but seems a logistical nightmare too.
    install and agathamorse like this.
  11. MrMedia

    MrMedia Star commenter

    Though to be fair, it just happens sometimes when timetabling classes as a HOD. Whist it does sound rough, I’d quite like all KS3 for a year. Full closure. No waiting on results in the summer. No nonsense grades. I could be rather persuaded to take a year of KS3 on a promise that I’d get KS4 the following year.

    Understand, they are most likely to push this through. So bleat, fight, but more importantly extract promises for 2019-20. You might be thinking - I’d agree to this if I knew in 2019-20 I’d be given not just KS4, but KS5. Guaranteed. Though never trust a Head's promises.

    So that’s my advice. Use it to negotiate a better 2019-20 than you were going to get and book a full six week holiday next summer free from worry about exam grades.
  12. install

    install Star commenter

    I would go straight to the headteacher first thing and make your point in the professional way - calm and measured. Ask for an urgent meeting and in fact don't speak to anyone else in the school.- get your head on the case. I suspect that people think you would never do this - and see you as just giving in. Don't. It may be that your school has cliques or something else - but this is not on.

    This does not 'just happen sometimes' - it is anything but fair. Timetables are often thought through and good ones often involve full communication with teachers, and with a range of classes. Don't accept promises of a better timetable next year. This could make you ill. Ks3 is tough these days.

    If no luck - then suggest that you wish to make a formal complaint about your treatment. Do speak to Union too :cool:
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
  13. b1003040

    b1003040 New commenter

    I like this idea!

    Can't shake the feeling of being shunned. What I didn't mention is that it is a split site school, so I will be at the KS3 site for the entire week and only emerge for meetings. Plus the boredom of teaching the same lessons after lessons and none of my beloved biology content.
    agathamorse and curl88 like this.
  14. install

    install Star commenter

    If you like the idea then go with it - not sure why you are unhappy then? You didn't mention split site before - it would make sense then to save you travelling from site to site and travelli g between lessons and maybe being late too would not be good. Schools that have this arrangement often alternate it to suit ks3 and ks4 teams on each site. And its nicer to have a base too with one classroom lab rather than several. So as others have said - enjoy. No need to see the head then - you may be very fortunate :)
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
    Lara mfl 05 and grumpydogwoman like this.
  15. b1003040

    b1003040 New commenter

    To be honest, this response wasn't entirely helpful.

    You misunderstand;
    -My response to the other user was a reply to their positive spin on the situation, which to be honest (on a human level) made me feel a bit better for a second.
    -"I like that idea" was "I would love to see it in a positive light like that but currently don't"

    And split site travelling is not the issue. Plus being at one site does not mean one classroom. I will be teaching in three classrooms. Again not the issue.

    I do thank you for your previous advice, which I will be following.
    install likes this.
  16. install

    install Star commenter

    Thankyou - whatever you decide 'good luck'. I hope it all goes well and that you get what you want. Make sure your points to the ht are clear with no room for ambiguity or mixed signals though. I think you give mixed signals here, but I could be wrong.

    And do feedback on how it goes :)
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2018
    b1003040 likes this.
  17. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    The split site is one good reason for the proposal, although there is that big list of arguments against. So I suppose if it were just for one year, and then someone else's turn, maybe there's something to be said for it. However the chances are that when it comes to next year, everyone else has a year 10 group to take into year 11, so it "has" to be you again. If they make vague promises about next year, raise this possibility - they probably haven't thought that far, so making them think about it now makes it harder for them to present that reason next year as though it's something that's just cropped up.
    It would make more sense for the full-time-in-KS3-person to be the KS3 lead (but perhaps they're a physicist and needed for KS4/5?).

    Other thoughts:
    Get a proper look at the timetable. Solutions always work better than complaints. So if you can point out that swapping your 8A for someone else's 10C would not involve any awkward swaps of site for either of you, they're more likely to relent.
    Assuming no change, ask for reassurance that you will be involved in any KS4 inset, so that you do not lose out on training.
    Possibly make the point that you will be scanning the job ads for a post where you could teach across the full range - or that you will do so if this happens two years running.
    midnight_angel, b1003040 and install like this.
  18. b1003040

    b1003040 New commenter

    Thank you, great advice.

    (KS3 lead is a biologist like me)

    Hopefully I will get this sorted soon, or at least a more understandable reasoning.
  19. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    I'd be gutted if this were me and certainly wouldn't be trusting promises for next year. I'd be looking for another job and intending to resign at the next deadline.

    Sorry that this is happening, know that you're not being unreasonable and try not to let it ruin your summer.

    It may be impossible to change the timetable now but it's easy to swop names on it. If I felt discussion was worthwhile I'd be asking whether one of the other biology teachers might be willing to take on the KS3 instead of you. The excuses you get as to why this is not desirable will be illuminating.
    agathamorse and install like this.
  20. lovejoy_antiques

    lovejoy_antiques Senior commenter

    On the bright side, you'll only have to do 2 parents evenings! Plus only planning for 2 year groups will be a lot less hassle.

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