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Observations While On Supply

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by sebedina, Oct 23, 2015.

  1. sebedina

    sebedina Occasional commenter

    Does anyone know where a supply teacher stands here? I don't mean learning walks but proper formal no notice observations from either consultants or SLT while on slightly longer supply (e.g. one term).

    I have been through formal interviews to get the supply work, things go smoothly, then out of the blue either "consultants" or SLT decide to do a round of formal obs and include me in this without any prior discussion.

    I am a good teacher with excellent subject knowledge and a proven track record. However, I am not a "singing and dancing" bubbly personality and time and time again I have been told the school is trying to fill a permanent position and need an "outstanding" teacher.

    So I get the elbow. It is very upsetting. They always give me excellent references and I do well in schools but the rejection tells me surely I shouldn't be under formal observations when I am not permanent but employed by an agency.
  2. sebedina

    sebedina Occasional commenter

    It is really distressing. My current job was supposed to be extended until Christmas but I have been given the heave ho saying they are looking for someone as they are looking to fill the job on a permanent basis and the school is trying to get outstanding (they are good at the moment). I couldn't sleep I was really upset about the rejection. It feels so personal.
  3. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    I think anyone on long term supply needs to expect observations (though I'm never happy about 'no notice' inspections - even OfSTED isn't quite 'no notice').

    Best to ask yourself, would you really want to work in such a school? I'm not sure I would...
    midnight_angel and snowyhead like this.
  4. old_dobbin

    old_dobbin Occasional commenter

    It's just a job and not worth worrying about too much. You'll find other work somewhere else where you are more valued. Even if you get a so called "permanent" job, these days in teaching it just means they can get rid of you in one term. Teaching is not a profession any more- if it ever was - and job security is a thing of the past. "Outstanding" teachers are rare by definition : and even if you accept that the criteria used to assess you are fair and valid, there's nothing to be ashamed of if you are competent. Do you expect an outstanding bus driver every time you get on a bus or an outstanding police officer whenever you call the police? Do you expect your mail to be delivered by an outstanding postman?
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2015
    Mermaid7, mark6243 and sebedina like this.
  5. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    I'd settle for simply 'standing'. TBH! :D
  6. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    Schools can observe supply if they wish (they can observe anyone working there just as any employer can monitor any employee in the workplace) but then supply are in the unique position if they don't want to be observed they can just walk away. I've known of supply teachers that have done this and picked up another placement the next week.

    I wouldn't worry too much about this placement being cut short. It sounds to me that whilst the school is happy with your work (you mentioned excellent references) they believe that you are only interested in a temporary position and they want to get a permanent meber of staff in as soon as possible. It might be an agency has another teacher they wish the school to trial.
    mark6243 likes this.
  7. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    There is a thread about this issue over on the supply forum if you want to have a look.

    I agree with old dobbin- it is just a job. You are in a good position in that you have good subject knowledge. Don't let them grind you down. The schools of course candrop in to observe you but I would say no to any formal observations.

    Instead of going through agencies, why don't you see if you can get some work directly from schools and not use an agency.

    Try not to worry and get some rest over the half term. I am sure an even better job will come up, so they did you a favour. Who would want to work in an environment like that?
    snowyhead likes this.
  8. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    If a school employs a teacher directly on a contract that lasts longer than a term then the teacher has to be included in the performance management cycle, which will almost certainly include observations of their teaching to inform judgements about whether they have met the Teachers' Standards.

    If you are employed by an agency any observations are just a tick-box exercise for the benefit of SLT records: they rarely provide support for CPD. As I have said before (on the Supply Teaching forum) observing an agency-employed supply teacher is a pointless exercise because both the school and supply teacher can end the relationship without notice. It would seem that the school exercised this option in the OP's case.
    mark6243 likes this.
  9. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    If I put my (well worn) cynical hat on, maybe the school have 'found' a candidate through relatives etc.
  10. mark6243

    mark6243 Occasional commenter

    Observations for supply?! **** that! Let them get someone 'outstanding' who will tick their ******* boxes for them. We do supply because we don't want the long hours and all the ********.

    Tell the agency why you're on your way; they will tell other teachers and soon the school won't be able to get long-term supply, only day-to-day. They've shot themselves right in the foot!

    les25paul likes this.
  11. les25paul

    les25paul Star commenter

    This exactly what happens. I know of one particularly challenging school who wanted to observe their long term supply teachers (who made up half the department). Since these teachers were concerned it might lead to a blot on their career prospects they refused. The behaviour in the school was that bad the chance of getting anything above "require improvement" wasn't going to happen, The school insisted so the supply teachers all left.

    Whats more they told other supply teachers during staffroom encounters in other schools in the area who also turned down work there. The situaition even continued into the following school year and the school was unable to get supply staff in for anything other then day to day or very short periods.

    SLT need to realise if they treat supply badly the word very quickly travels to all supply in the area. But fortuantly in my area schools are normally very appreciative of supply and understand how to treat them.
    mark6243 likes this.
  12. Cliffedge

    Cliffedge Occasional commenter

    I don't think supply teachers should be subject to observations - at least not in the same way as permanent teachers. Supply teachers have none of the benefits of permanent staff.
    mark6243 likes this.
  13. irs1054

    irs1054 Star commenter

    I think schools do need to keep an eye on supply staff to make sure they are getting on OK and I have no problem with that.

    But if schools think that they can hold supply staff (even long term) to the same account as permanent staff without their specific agreement then they will have to think again.

    Most supply staff are on considerably poorer pay than permanent staff and have no security whatsoever. Most are doing supply because they don't want the additional hassle that goes with permanence.

    They have a choice and can vote with their feet.

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