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Overloaded and need help - can I give up Deputy role?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Amblesidewalks, Jun 15, 2019.

  1. Amblesidewalks

    Amblesidewalks New commenter

    hello all
    I am a deputy head in a mid sized primary school. For the three years prior to this one I was a non-teaching deputy - to help get us through Ofsted. Our SENCo left and there was none to take it on so I had to. After two years decided I was happy to keep the role as we could not employ a new member of staff and no one in school wants it but then due to budget cuts I had to go back to class. This year I’ve been teaching full time in Y6 except for half day PPA and 2 more afternoons to keep up with SEN and DH responsibilities.
    It’s been incredibly hard and my average working week is around 65 hours.

    I went to the head earlier in the year and said I was struggling and acutely aware that I wasn’t fulfilling my deputy responsibilities and felt that I wasn’t doing the job if SENCo properly either and I shouldn’t be paid my deputy salary. He was sympathetic and in effect said not to worry - Y6 was priority and keep SEN ticking over. When we came to sort staffing for next year it was agreed I should have more management time via a class share and not be in Y6 (because not ideal for class share) all good! A class share planned in a different year group...or that was until 1 week ago when I was told I would be in Y6 again (I could choose to class share - I do 3 days or it could be the same as this year.)

    I know I can’t do it again for another year. I’m 51 and was planning on retiring at 55. My school is part of an academy trust. Can I refuse the SENCo role? (There’s no one else to do it) or can I give up the deputy headship and therefore the obligatory duty of SENCo with it but keep a teaching job in my school? I don’t want to change schools now and I’m happy to be in Y6 - no one else in school is and I’d rather be back in class without all the additional pressure. Yes my pension will take a hit but I’d rather be alive to enjoy it than in an early grave.

    Any ideas or advice anyone?
  2. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    If you are employed as a DH and that includes the SENCO role, then no you can't give it up. Especially if, as you say, no-one else wants it.

    Three days teaching and two days management/SENCO/PPA sounds reasonable for a mid size primary DH. Two full days management is a fair bit more than three afternoons, so they are giving you more time for these roles.
    65 hours a week, although a lot compared to the general idea of 37 hours a week, isn't ridiculous for a teacher, certainly not a DH.

    The only way it could work is if someone else in the school wanted some or all of the DH and/or SENCO role. Then you could negotiate a swap round with the head. Without that, you would need to leave, as the school needs both a DH and SENCO, so would need to appoint someone to do it as a non-teaching role, which they can't afford.
    starlightexpress likes this.
  3. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Just put it all in a letter and say that you resign the post of DHT w.e.f. the end of December 2019.

    And stick to it.

    Let the HT do and say what he may. He'll have to persuade someone else to do it or .... We'll, he's paid the big bucks. You sure ain't going to be after December. You must help him whilst you're still in post and it clearly will be very difficult. Oh, dear.

    Your conduct has been beyond reproach and I admire you enormously.
  4. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Only do this when you have a new job for January, otherwise you will find yourself unemployed.
    Piranha likes this.
  5. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    You sound like me two years ago. I had the same problem... I couldn't say "no" because we are expected to just keep on and on in teaching. I ended up stressed and then dismissed. I was very ill for a long time and it effected everything in my life. You have to stand up for yourself as hard as it is. You have to say "no".
  6. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    It's the tension between what's good for the school and what's good for the individual.

    The HT has tried to reconcile the two: the needs of his staff and the needs of the school as a whole.

    But you're the only one who can adjudicate on your own behalf. Nobody else will speak up for you. The time has come to do just that. Your needs are not compatible with those of the school. You're currently the best DHT your school can get. But this job isn't the best fit for YOU. You have a responsibiity to yourself first and then (very much second place) your YR6s.
  7. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    The only way you can give up your DH and Senco role is by resigning altogether (see CTB’s comment) or by asking to be moved to a non promoted class teacher role as and when one becomes available. They could then advertise for a new deputy head. You say there’s no one who wants the role currently on the staff. You could put this request to the head in writing and ask for it to be given serious consideration for the near future. Otherwise, you have no right to give up just the deputy responsibility.
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    I certainly wouldn't try resigning altogether as a first option. Unless you really want to work elsewhere.

    I would give the HT more time to release you from the role but state that quitting altogether is your final recourse if he can't give you what you need. You're clearly indispensable as YR6 teacher and the YR6 results appear to be what many Has value above all things.

    Give him a chance to fix this for you but you may have to contemplate packing it in and moving on. Leave that as a threat/promise for the moment though.
    agathamorse and UpperPayShelf like this.
  9. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Except that you did, in post 3 above.
  10. Catjellycat

    Catjellycat Occasional commenter

    I’m going to disagree on the fact that the 2/3 split sounds about right. Round these parts, a teaching deputy is almost unheard of nowadays even in the one form entries. It may be they cover when needed but certainly not a class commitment. As Heads become more and more ‘strategic’, deputies become more ‘operational’ and needed on the ‘shop floor’.

    Your opinion about whether this is a good or a bad thing may be different, however.
    UpperPayShelf likes this.
  11. Amblesidewalks

    Amblesidewalks New commenter

    Your conduct has been beyond reproach and I admire you enormously.[/QUOTE]

    Thank you
  12. Amblesidewalks

    Amblesidewalks New commenter

    I had a nervous breakdown about 15 years ago and I feel I’m heading that way again. I’ve lost 5lbs since Thursday, chest pains, headaches and I’m not sleeping but I live alone and I have a mortgage- I need a job.
  13. Dorsetdreams

    Dorsetdreams Occasional commenter

    Dropping pay/responsibility for those last four years will have a very minor impact on your pension, because most of your pension will be 'final salary' and that will be protected by the 'best-three-in-ten' rule. (I'm assuming your plan is to go at 55 whether or not you manage to drop your responsibility).
  14. Amblesidewalks

    Amblesidewalks New commenter

    I initially agreed to take on the Senco role as ‘caretaker’ until we could appoint but we still can’t and now it seems it’s just been tacked on to my other responsibilities indefinitely. As for DHship - I don’t necessarily want to give that up. I just don’t want to be Senco anymore.
  15. Amblesidewalks

    Amblesidewalks New commenter

    Well that’s something positive. Guess I’d better check with teacher pensions
  16. Amblesidewalks

    Amblesidewalks New commenter

    I don’t want to give up the DH role it just seems the only way I could legitimately drop Senco. We have an assistant deputy who could easily step up to deputy if I did though. It’s just that Senco role which I was ‘caretaking’ and now am stuck with. I never applied for it and it never was part of my DH role (which I’ve had for 18 years)
  17. Amblesidewalks

    Amblesidewalks New commenter

    Exactly. I had 2 years and 2 terms as non teaching deputy. Prior to that I was teaching 3.5 days - with no SENCo role
  18. Amblesidewalks

    Amblesidewalks New commenter

    I guess in my angst I haven’t explained myself well.

    I don’t want to give up the DH role - I’ve loved it for 17years I’ve been doing it. It’s the Senco role that seems to have become my responsibility because no one else wants it. I felt I had to take it on at the time but was promised it was temporary
  19. Amblesidewalks

    Amblesidewalks New commenter

    Absolutely- can’t do this for another 9 years
  20. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    WOW! Schools must be more affluent where you are.
    Our smaller primaries have no money and generally no deputy. A senior teacher who steps up to cover for the ehad for the occasional short absence.
    Our middling primaries have teaching deputies, often with no more than a day for leadership.
    The larger, 3 from entry and above, have perhaps a non-class based deputy, but they do some of the ppa cover ,and a couple of class based assistant heads who have perhaps a half day leadership.

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