1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Rarely cover advice

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by elksnow, Mar 3, 2020.

  1. elksnow

    elksnow New commenter

    I'm expected to do rarely cover in my new job, everyone is and it's on our timetables. In the last 10 years I have never experienced this, I've helped out in emergencies willingly but this is new to me. Have I led a sheltered life or is the school pushing the agreement to the limit? Still getting ppa allocation so it's instead of teaching. TIA
  2. shevington

    shevington Occasional commenter

    Speak to your School Union Rep if you have one or the Regional Centre if you have no rep.
  3. elksnow

    elksnow New commenter

    Does this mean it isn't supposed to be like this? Thanks for replying!
  4. ScienceGuy

    ScienceGuy Established commenter

    It may be that your school has identified the period you are likely to be taken for cover - it doesn't necessarily mean that you will be used during that lesson, just that you are on the list as required. Equally, if you are full time and have been given less than the usual allocation of lessons, you may have a cover lesson timetabled to make up the hours.
  5. mrkeys

    mrkeys Occasional commenter

    About 30 years ago moved to a school in Tower Hamlets from another LEA.
    I had a cover period on my timetable and spent several weeks checking the cover as I was so used to being required for cover. (Rarely knew what a free period was)
    One day the DH explained to me that I would only be used for cover on the allocated period and they would always ask me if it was ok!
    I did not realise how much INSET and professional support existed until I worked for Tower Hamlets. Should add that this was years before rarely cover.
    agathamorse, ajrowing and strawbs like this.
  6. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Rarely cover is meant to cover emergencies, a teacher vomiting in the corner of the classroom and going home is an obvious example.

    Trouble is that it's the harassed Cover Organiser who determines what constitutes an emergency and as her line managers are acutely aware of a lack of money for supply then the word 'emergency' has to do a lot of heavy lifting:
    • SLT call a meeting at short notice with other members of staff.
    • A teacher forgets to inform the school that he's on a course that day.
    • A HoD realises that she's meant to be observing a lesson and taking her own at the same time.
    • SLT doesn't have enough time to prepare the latest initiative for tonight's training.
    • A timetable change means that one teacher is meant to be in 2 rooms simultaneously.
    • A supply can't be found to take that subject.
    • There isn't the cash to pay for that supply anyway.
    • SLT (who have the free time on the timetable) have got adept at avoiding taking the class themselves. Though they were pretty adept at this from Day 1.
    All the above is the reason why I'd never go near the job of Cover Organiser myself and have already advised others against taking it.
    agathamorse, pepper5 and Catgirl1964 like this.
  7. JJ83

    JJ83 Occasional commenter

    We had it at my last school, I covered once a term maybe on it!
    agathamorse and nomad like this.
  8. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    If it's more than a couple of times a term, they need a new dictionary.
  9. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    I was at a school which had this. We were timetabled as doing 'faculty support' and supposed to be supporting lessons or interventions in our depts, but could also be deployed elsewhere if needed. I think officially it was fine because it wasn't using noncontact time or ppa to cover, and it meant there was always someone internal who was available to cover if needed. I didn't have a problem with it, it was much less annoying than random cover when you were expecting to be free.
  10. muso2

    muso2 Occasional commenter Community helper

    (but calling it a rarely cover period is a misnomer as it presumably then isn't rare!)
    Catgirl1964 likes this.
  11. GreenTrees123

    GreenTrees123 Occasional commenter

    The alternative to asking teaching staff to take cover lessons would be to have thousands of pounds leaving the building to pay for supply teachers or cover supervisors.

    That would result in a significant reduction in teaching staff- we’d be looking at making at least 10 redundant at my place.

    It makes no sense to waste money on external staff when there is a resource already in the building that knows the culture and procedures of the school. There are also other options such as teaching assistants and office clerks which can be utilised to take classes should the need arise.

    I think leading a few cover lessons is a small price to pay for being able to maximise the amount able to be spent on our core function of teaching and learning.

    Learning journey facilitators can be taking cover lessons every free period during peak absence season at my place.

    As the coronavirus spreads, I expect a lot of schools that currently use supply staff will find themselves having to use internal options for sickness cover. I think many will find that this is in fact a far more efficient and effective solution.
  12. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    It's a shame your SLT aren't trained & qualified teachers or they could be used. Or maybe they will be as the office staff etc aren't qualified either! Will you be teaching some lessons?

    NB if employing supply teachers would mean making "at least 10 staff redundant" it strikes me your business model is fatally flawed. Maybe too many chiefs & not enough indians?
  13. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    And when the 'few' cover lessons become significantly more than a few? You will still expect the high level of planning and marking to continue?
    I'm always wary of people who use the phrase 'a small price to pay' as it is invariably those who say it who don't pay it themselves.
    jellycowfish and agathamorse like this.
  14. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    Sorry, maybe I am being dense, but if it is taken off your teaching time allocation rather than PPA, why is it a problem? Would you rather have the extra preparation and marking that would result from having a teaching period instead? Or am I misunderstanding?
  15. madcatlady

    madcatlady Occasional commenter

    Came to say this. If you have your PPA allocation then you would expect to be deployed elsewhere as your tt isn't full.

    Rarely cover applies to people who have full tts, surely. Part of the function of rarely cover is use teachers first who have extra free time - if I understand it right that would be you! Is that right?
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. meggyd

    meggyd Star commenter

    Surely no one at GreenTrees' school would ever think of taking the day off sick. Obviously there is some kind of penalty for such behaviour. Instant dismissal? Cleaning all the school toilets with a tooth brush? And don't forget those sick teachers have to phone his direct line so that he himself can decide if they are sick enough. I am guessing GT may well be self-isolating himself during the crisis..somewhere warm and cosy...with a pool and a beach at the bottom of the garden....
    CWadd, chelsea2, FollyFairy and 7 others like this.
  17. letap

    letap Occasional commenter

    1. If you want to save money then you should sack your entire SMT as all they seem to be doing is embezzling school funds or watching videos.
    2. Getting teaching staff to be office/cleaning/security staff on a 12 hour day is more likely to lead to staff absence - the covering staff then have to cover on top of a 12 hour day making them more likely to be absent. Do you see where this is going Greentrees123?
  18. letap

    letap Occasional commenter

    Your posts rarely do, but keep trying. A monkey given enough time on a typewriter would apparently produce Shakespeare.
    chelsea2, madcatlady, a1976 and 4 others like this.
  19. yodaami2

    yodaami2 Lead commenter

    If it’s under allocation lessons then you’ve got no leg to stand on. It’s not unusual.
  20. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    chelsea2 and Ivanhoe like this.

Share This Page