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Really ticked off - maternity cover

Discussion in 'NQTs and new teachers' started by butterbeer, Mar 22, 2011.

  1. Crowbob I think you are being unfair to Bobby. When I went back to work after having children I have to say that I knew when I was going back and told my employers this. It didn't occur to me that I could change about as I just wanted to my employer to have as much time as possible and they employed my replacement for a fixed period to cover this. Whilst I agree that the other person didn't do anything wrong, it does seem harsh that someone can be taken on on one basis and then it changed with just a week's notice. I would find that hard and so Bobby did the only thing he could do to ensure he wasn't without work.
    People take maternity cover jobs for many reasons, sometimes because the permanent positions aren't out there. Although it sounds like you are saying it, I am sure you are not saying he should stayed at home without a job, rather than go for a maternity cover.
    Bobby, I can quite see where you are coming from and I would have been equally frustrated, even though no one has done anything technically wrong. Just one of those irritating things I think. I think you probably feel worse as your new school is not great, which doesn't help the situation at all.
    Hopefully things will take an upturn and you will secure a permanent position for September. Fingers crossed.
  2. Thank Singup - I am not angry just really miffed that I could have stayed another term in a school I loved rather than ending up in a school I really don't like very much. I had loads of great NQT support at my first school but finding my present school hard work - a good learning experience in some respects but far from ideal. As Singup has stated, there were very few jobs in my area last September that were not maternity covers.
    Crowbob, I totally get where you are coming from, however those of us on maternity covers want to work and for some of that is/was all that was available in the area. A friend of mine did one last year and was dismissed 2 weeks prior to the school holidays as the maternity person returned, QED, no holiday pay for them. I am a single wage earner and have bills to pay and cannot afford periods of unemployment or none earning (I doubt many of us can) and you are right, I wouldn't touch a maternity cover with a barge pole again unless I really had to. I understand why the rights are all with the person whose job it is, but schools can dismiss you with 1 week's notice and often won't answer you directly when the person is coming back (sometimes because they don't know and aren't allowed to ask). I just think schools need a better system that is fairer to everyone, especially the children - it does not seem fair that a class has no continuity because of a maternity cover? Surely the children are the priority and if you have several teachers in one school on maternity leave this can be a massive upheaval - the parents at the the school I left were worried as they didn't know who would be teaching their kids. I felt bad leaving before the end of the maternity contract but couldn't afford not to have a job mid-term. If the person has declared their intentions from the start then everyone would have known where they were...
  3. Is this true? A week? I only ask because I did resign from my maternity cover post end of last year. My question being - if I had stayed [​IMG](my contract being until 31st August 2011) there and the original postholder decided to return say at half term in the summer term, then I would only be paid up to that day I left and thats it, end of contract? So if the postholder returned they could have terminated me in a week (providing it is one week before end of term)?

  4. Yes, exactly. A friend of mine had their contract terminated 2 weeks before the summer break so received no pay for the summer holiday. The person on maternity leave had decided to come back two weeks prior to the end of term to make sure they got full pay over the holidays rather than SMP. Obviously the school were not going to pay both staff. Whether this has always been the case/practise in schools I have no idea or whether it is just something schools with squeezed budgets feel the need to do now I can't answer as I have no experience of this prior to this year, but it does illustrate how precarious the situation is for those on maternity contracts.
    I think it depends on the contract given by the authority, but the positive part was that it was the same notice on both sides so when I got a job towards the end of November commencing in January I was able to give notice to 31st December.
    I was certainly not my intention (has been insinuated by one poster) that I am against new mums, this is most definately not the case, however in some areas maternity covers are the only work that is available and I wanted to draw attention the details to people who may be considering them that you may suddenly find yourself out of work, even though the school has agreed a contract to a certain date, because they cannot afford to pay two people and choosing to stay can be a bit of a gamble. I could have stayed until the summer (with the aid of a crystal ball I might have realised this) but as someone who needs to earn a wage to pay my rent and bills it was a gamble I could ill afford to take. Unfortunately, I have found myself in a second school that I dislike immensly for a variety of reasons when I would rather have stayed at the other school. Had the person on maternity leave not changed their mind about their return dates or been honest about it, I would have been in a better position to make the right decision for me but those doing cover are employed or unemplyed on the whim of someone else. Sorry but I just don't get why people can't be up front about their decisions/return dates/intentions, but I am not one to do cloak and dagger while others are... but that's the way it is and I feel it is important that anyone who takes on a maternity cover knows exactly where they stand.
  5. GloriaSunshine

    GloriaSunshine New commenter

    It's always been the case. Teachers know they can just work a day or two at the end of the summer term to get paid over the holiday. And while this may seem unfair, some supply teachers arrange to be paid on daily rate so that they get some holiday pay included. You need to be very clear about end dates, notice periods and holiday pay before you take on any employment and supply teaching is no different. The system certainly doesn't work in favour of supply teachers.
    Back in the day, I did some supply because it suited me and most supply teachers were either between jobs, had young children, were semi-retired or teachers who could not get a job. There was plenty of supply in most areas and everybody knew how it was. Some teachers found permanent posts through a supply post or networking.
    Now we have too many teachers being trained and NQTs having to do supply or a series of short contracts. This is bad enough but it also means they accept a job with little idea of what they have agreed to. As for people being up front, that's already been dealt with. It;s not always the returning teacher who is changing her mind at the last minute; often it's the head who keeps quiet about what's happenening. If you take on a maternity or sick cover, it's always best to thiink that the post holder could return sooner rather than later. If you work in schools long enough, you'll realise that it happens often. If you are not guaranteed work until the end of term (and think twice if there's a risk of the permanent teacher losing money by staying off), do some maths and work out whether you'd be better off beng paid as supply.
  6. I am glad that I left my maternity contract, it was not an enjoyable experience. I was also not given a tutor group leading me to believe that my employment could be then cut short (they were also advertising for 2nd in department listed for 6 months), so I knew from the off my situation would become untenable. I then left after being the school after 6 months out of the 12 month maternity contract. I would rather be dealing with notoriously badly behaved learners than have stayed at my last school hence the truth in Gloria's post:
    BobbyC thanks for answering about the notice period. I suppose I would do the same (come back for a week or so to get paid full salary over holidays) if I was a woman on maternity. I just feel sorry for those who find themselves in a predicament because of this.
  7. I am not ruling out maternity covers but I am applying for permanent and fixed term year contracts first. If I am unsuccessful in securing one of these posts, then I will look at maternity covers again but having changed schools this year, and having not really enjoying that change as I really didn't want to, I would prefer to stay a year in a school. That said, there is so much competition for each post and even though I think my application is strong it really does depend on what a school is looking for (and I mean the sub-text and hidden agendas beneath the official person spec LOL)
    Similar methods within my applications (albeit tweaked for the school) last year yielded interviews at some schools but not others. One head teacher's idea of my creativity was described by a different headteacher as pretentious. And if a school is looking for a young NQT, as an older NQT I am disadvantaged, but equally this has also worked in my favour the opposite way round. Also heads appear to have preferences for how a person trained, whether it is BEd, PGCE or GTP (even though they can't state this) and we all know some schools just bin applications when a person has been unable to visit (even if a full-time teaching commitment or distance makes this impossible!)
    I am fairly philosophical (I think you have to be) that if it is the right school for me I will get an interview and gain employment, if not then I won't [​IMG]
    Good luck to anyone else job seeking at the moment and Gloriasunshine's advice about looking at the terms and maybe negotiating supply rate for a second term is good advice. Perhaps something I will definitely think about if I find myself in the same situation again.

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