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Part time problems

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by nothinglikethesun, Jun 18, 2015.

  1. Hi all

    I'm returning to work I September after maternity leave as head of a core faculty on 0.8. I've just received my timetable and I'm sorely disappointed. I have one full day off a fortnight (fortnightly timetable) and the rest of my time off is just odd lessons here and there. This means my daughter will be in nursery full time 9 days out of 10. The whole point of me requesting 0.8 was so I could spend some quality time with her. As it stands, I basically feel like I just have a few extra frees and it's not worth being part time. I haven't signed the letter stating the amendment to my new contract yet. Do I have any grounds for complaint or am I just going to have to grin and bear it seeing as the school have technically granted my 0.8 request? I'm in the independent sector.

    Any advice gratefully received!
  2. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    0.8 is pretty much a full timetable, really. The best you can hope for is late starts and early finishes, if they can do that for you, so that you can drop your child off a bit later to nursery and pick her up earlier. Odd lessons in the middle of the day are hopeless, unless you live nearby and can nip home or do some shopping. Not much chance of quality time with that percentage, I'm afraid. Also, the danger is that you'll end up staying in school in those extra frees, doing unpaid work. Welcome to working part-time! That's the nature of the beast - I did it for the best part of 30 years.

    All you can do is have a chat with them and see if they can block some of those frees into a full morning or afternoon.

    The other thing to bear in mind is the financial aspect: 9 days of nursery fees and a reduction in salary.
  3. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    When you say you haven't signed the amendment to your contract do you mean you have signed agreeing to go to 0.8 from September? Or that you haven't signed agreeing to the proposed timetable? They're often different things. The 0.8 varies your contract but unless it specifies particular days you don't work the way the head deploys you, your timetable, is probably at the head's discretion and doesn't need your agreement as it's not a contract variation.

    This is benefit of hindsight, but if you are HOF and go down to 0.8 you are going to end up doing 100% of the HOF management part of your job for 80% of the pay unless you get specific agreement which parts of the HOF role you will not do, and who the school is going to appoint as 0.2 HOF to do them.

    You have grounds to bring a grievance, although you need first to go back to the head and say pretty much what you've said here. Or get a commitment to one full day a fortnight and ask to go to 0.9?
  4. I haven't signed the letter agreeing to 0.8 from September. This letter states that they will do their best to give me a full day off each week but it cannot be guaranteed. It does not need to be returned until August. I have already raised the issue of only getting 80% of my TLR when expected to do 100% of the job and their solution has been to pay someone to fulfil the 0.2 by taking on a couple of discrete responsibilities and deputising in my absence. Though with my out of school time being so sporadic, they are teaching during most of the periods I'm out.
  5. Thanks for your reply, Dunteachin. I had really hoped for a full day each week - this is a precedent that has been set by other colleagues working 0.8 contracts. I'm still thinking carefully about the financial aspect and wondering whether it's worth it...I'm currently on the side of not!
  6. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    They are correct on the TLR! To be honest I wouldn't take .8 - the advantages are few for less pay.
  7. Lucy12

    Lucy12 New commenter

    Although as it is an independent school they do what they like and might not call them TLRs
  8. I requested 0.8 because any less would have meant I lost HoF. The advantage was supposed to be that I'd have a day off week with my baby...
  9. School Boy Error

    School Boy Error Occasional commenter

    Look at it the other way. You're only losing one day a fortnight. If you were working solidly for the four days you were in, you'd probably end up taking work home. With your frees sandwiched into the middle of your day you can get your planning, marking etc done which could mean that your time at home, is your time at home....
  10. That's true, school boy error. Just need to find somewhere I can hide and be untraceable for that to work!
  11. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    But they aren't frees! They are UNPAID hours which the OP isn't contracted for. You'd be working for nothing and it also affects your pension contributions.
  12. Coolgiraffe

    Coolgiraffe Occasional commenter

    I'm 0.8 and definitely wouldn't accept a timetable like that. Try telling them you can't book nursery places on a fortnightly basis so they are making childcare impossible to arrange and afford. Tell them you asked for 0.8 thinking that the working pattern would be like that of other teachers on 0.8. Try standing your ground, see what happens. If they can't accommodate you, look elsewhere x
  13. Fair point, Dunteachin. I teach English and have so much marking to do that it used to amount to around ten hours a week outside of school. If I could get this done during the day then at least my time at home would be my own. In theory, anyway... Only in teaching would you just accept that working for free is a standard part of the job! Something's not right there...

    Coolgiraffe - thanks for your comment. It's good to know I'm not being unreasonable by not just accepting it! I'd like to think I could look elsewhere, but I'm out of the loop re state education, independent schools are few and far between in this area and even if I could find another HoF role, it'd be incredibly unlikely they'd let me do part time! So if I left my current school, that would mean I'd be leaving teaching...for the foreseeable future, at least.
  14. Skeoch

    Skeoch Star commenter

    Just a thought - have you had a look at the whole timetable and allocations - maybe there is a solution to be found with some shuffling. Have a good look, share the problem with the timetabler (timetablers are great problem solvers, even if they appear to be defensive and unshifting at times), see what can be done. Exchange your Y7 group with so-and-so's Y8s, tweak the balance somewhere else.....
  15. That's exactly what I'm going to do this week, Skeoch. Hopefully there will be some room for manoeuvre!
  16. frymeariver

    frymeariver New commenter

    Part time work is an increasing feature of the profession and we, in common with most schools I suspect, are struggling to meet the demands of the sheer number of staff choosing to work a percentage of full time. This may be one of the issues with which your school is wrestling.

    However, whatever percentage of a full time contract you work you do have the right to expect two things. 1. That the school will create a reasonable working pattern, which in practice should mean a combination of full and half days. 2. That you will be told your timetable in a timely manner so that you have the choice to resign should the working pattern be impossible for you to work. I accept that in independent schools there are different pay and conditions at play but they are still expected to be reasonable as employers.

    You could try asking your school whether they believe the working pattern is reasonable. Having half of your 20% unpaid time trapped in the day is not reasonable. I would like to think that at my school we wouldn't have ended up with such a muddle: our timetabler is a miracle worker despite having 22 part time staff out of 70. However, if a situation like yours arose then, as a last resort, we would temporarily adjust your contract to 0.9 for the year before returning you to 0.8 the year after. You've could ask.
  17. I have a colleague who has specific restrictions in her contract when she went to part-time at a .5 contract. Not working Mondays/Fridays OR first or last lesson on the days she is in. It was under a previous Head and our timetabler hates how awkward it makes things but she says even though her kids are old enough now she could come back up the hours or be more flexible if she makes any allowances then they could do as they want. She is a very valued member of staff.

    You could ask for specific timings as part of your .8 contract - A day off each week. No harm in asking!
  18. wanet

    wanet Star commenter

    timetablers hate part-timers as they cause them issues. Greater use of computers to create the timetable, and the job being done by none teacher can lead to less flexibility. a good timetabler probably sends as much time discussing issues with staff as they do timetabling. I have also known timetables delayed. Was told on at least one occassion that the timetable wasn't resolved until well into sept.
  19. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    OP - this is not ideal but as others have stated, timetabling in secondary is like playing three dimensional chess and a solution that pleases everyone is mathematically impossible!

    However, you are HOD so study the timetable carefully. It may be that you could swap with someone and not teach 8X for all of their periods and pick up one of Ms Ys 9Z. While splitting up KS4 classes between teachers possibly does more harm than good (unless its to match Science specialisms say) KS3 would probably benefit from a different face and style once per week. It may be that your school lets you suggest that final chip and mould before its set in stone.
  20. Thanks everyone for all of your great advice. I now have a copy of the whole department's timetable so will do some serious studying of it to see if any swaps can be made! I know how complicated it can be and if it logistically impossible or untenable to sort then I shall just have to put up with it, but I fear I shall only be putting up with it until Christmas...

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