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School residentials

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by hermitcrabbe, Oct 31, 2015.

  1. hermitcrabbe

    hermitcrabbe Established commenter

    As in year group going away to a camp for three days during term time. As an assistant form teacher do I have to go with them or can I refuse?

    I have not been asked, this seems to be "expected" although this is the first time pupils have gone on such a thing - its a new HT with different ideas. I have never done such things. I would rather not start now.

    That's about it really.
     
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  2. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    Would it entail you being out over night?

    If so then common courtesy would be you being asked. It'd fall outside of directed time and if I recall correctly, you are part time anyway so it might not fall on your working day.
     
    snowyhead likes this.
  3. hermitcrabbe

    hermitcrabbe Established commenter

    It would entail me being out over night - three nights in fact.
     
  4. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    That falls outside of directed time then [assuming you are state sector] so turn it down, you don't even need to provide an excuse.

    Probably the new Head is hoping no-one says no and then it becomes a new norm. When eventually someone does say 'no' he can turn around and reply 'ah but X Y and Z said yes and did it... for the kids'.
     
  5. hermitcrabbe

    hermitcrabbe Established commenter

    Thanks.

    I will just say " No". I had been wondering what excuse I could give. The new HT has made it clear to several female staff that he does not consider childcare and families to be a " reason" for refusing to work extra time and do additional activities already. One has left. ( I am a single parent male. I would not be able to use that clearly but I did wonder where it said I was required to go away for three days and leave my own home on the whim of the Head teacher.
     
  6. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    Will there be any kids in the year group not attending? If so volunteer to do extra with them - maybe liaise with the staff organising the residential to see if there is any work which could be done with those children missing the trip so they don't feel they are "missing out".
    No, you do not have to attend this trip - you might well have any number of home/life things you have to attend to. It just might be politic for you to have some ideas to offer to "do your bit" whilst still in the workplace environment.
     
  7. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    I'd suggest getting a few others to say no. Or consulting with your Union rep just to ensure you aren't on your own. Lone wolves are very easy to pick off by SLT [I know, I was one]

    But I know you needed a quick response so not sure you have time for consultation.

    IMO any job where you are required [I won't say asked] to sacrifice your family for the job is not worth it.
     
  8. Mangleworzle

    Mangleworzle Star commenter

    Consider him as has being delivered a virtual slap round the chops with a large semi-rotten fish.

    No-one needs an "excuse" for not doing things that aren't part of their job.

    Does he do such things himself? My old SMT were very keen on people doing extra stuff "going the extra mile", were they ever there doing it? Were they 'eck as like.
     
  9. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Agree with lanokia here. Refuse if you don't want to do it.

    You may get the 'we do it for the children' nonsense but at the end of the day it is just a job not a lifestyle.
     
  10. hermitcrabbe

    hermitcrabbe Established commenter

    HelenREM - I am aware that at least six pupils have refused to go. HT is putting them with a higher year group for the time.

    I am in secondary so I actually have many classes ( including exam classes) I would have to leave for this residential . I will agree to extra cover for teachers away if that helps but I probably have to do that anyway.
     
  11. hermitcrabbe

    hermitcrabbe Established commenter

    I am aware of disquiet among several members of staff over these residentials. HT has organised one for each year group and its the year group tutors who are supposed to accompany them. Three yr 7 teachers moaned but did it.

    I will be the first to actually refuse . But I am only an " assistant" ( ie my class is split between two of us). My partner tutor is off sick right now ( hospital) hence I got looked at. ( I am part time too).

    I cannot see why he cant just ask for volunteers as he does with day trips ( although frankly, the volunteers would be the same people who always volunteer ( they usually leave the roughest classes for cover).

    Thanks for the replies.I will stand my ground.
     
  12. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    I also think you are within your rights to say No and that your HT is acting beyond what it is reasonable to ask staff to do under the catch-all "other duties as directed" (or whatever the expression is).

    The key word is 'reasonable'. If it is not part of your contract, I do not believe it reasonable to direct staff to work 24 hours per day for 3 days and to be away from home. This is something for which staff might be asked to volunteer, but not be directed. What you do in the hours that are not directed is entirely a matter for you.

    I do not think you need to find an 'excuse' and may weaken your position if you scrabble around for one. I think it sufficient to say: "Having given the matter my consideration, I believe this falls beyond the scope of what I may reasonably be asked to do."

    I like others' suggestion of volunteering to mop up some of the inevitable consequences of having staff out of school, to demonstrate your esprit des corps.

    Be prepared to watch your back after this. Those who stick their heads above the parapet can become unwitting targets. Ensure there is always a paper trail, just in case.
     
  13. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    I have also just spotted the query about whether or not you are part-time...

    You cannot be made to work on a day that is not part of your part-time contract.
     
  14. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    A residential for every year group! - obviously this HT won't be going on them then. What is the educational value of all these trips for 5 different year groups? I was never in favour of a Year 7 "bonding" whatever residential and quite how I got away with never actually being Head of year 7 was a relief on that score. The issue never arose from years 8 to 11. I did lead French exchange visits but that was MY choice and I firmly believed in their value. I remain to be convinced about most residential trips I have knowledge of.
     
  15. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    If those additional activities fall outside directed time, this HT may be getting himself into an indirect sex discrimination situation.

    I appreciate that you are male. However, statistically, the burden of childcare tends to fall more heavily on women. To introduce a 'provision, criterion or practice' that puts a particular group with a protected characteristic at a disadvantage is indirect discrimination. An individual within that group who has been affected would bring the claim - it seems to me that the teacher who left because of this direction may have had such a valid complaint.
     
    Vince_Ulam likes this.
  16. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Just say no. You suggest that you are concerned that this headteacher has suggested that childcare is not an excuse, this may be true or it may be heresay greatly exaggerated. I have heard all sorts in my time that are liberal with the truth. Even if he has clearly intimated this to others it depends to what context it has been said and in what situation. If it is someone trying to get out of meetings or parents' evenings clearly on the calendar then maybe he has a point and isn't in fact being unrealistic

    Unless he is a total idiot he must know that he had nowhere to go with this. It is well outside of what can be deemed reasonable, and secondly you are part time. I don't think you have to offer to do anything or give any reason? You are going to turn up on the days you are contracted for, and will do whatever the head deems appropriate.

    I agree 100% with the comments here by Helen
    I am very unsure as to these residential camps anyway. If people don't go, they get cancelled. And I think no bad thing...
     
    HelenREMfan likes this.
  17. hermitcrabbe

    hermitcrabbe Established commenter

    I too would really like to know the rationale behind it- even behind any sort of residential or school camp as they were called when I was a young boy. I am not exactly in favour of this " bonding" either . I bond with my own children, not those of other people. As a teacher I do not believe in being "friends". I am there to teach. An adult figure of authority.

    I am not sure, but I always thought the history of such residentials was that they developed out of disadvantage. The idea being that children whose parents were very poor and whose offspring never got a holiday in their lives, or even got to see the countryside , were taken off for a week to a "camp" to enjoy the fresh air and outdoor life. ( None of the pupils in my school fall into that category. We are well heeled leafy rural).

    But thats a different discussion I suppose.

    Thank you all for the advice.I now feel more confident tackling the HT tomorrow.
     
  18. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Good luck - you and definitely within your rights here.

    As I wrote recently on a similar thread, l once broke ranks and refused to go with my form as it was camping (something I detest). Words were spoken, but nothing else. However that was years ago.
     
    DYNAMO67 likes this.
  19. hermitcrabbe

    hermitcrabbe Established commenter

    Me too as I indicated in response to HelenREM. Funny you should mention it because the HT has spent several weeks berating the pupils who are refusing to go in some numbers across the school, (or their parents are refusing them permission) in assemblies. Although he singles no one out, he has a bee in his bonnet about this.

    I am sure the pupils do not want to hear it - and neither do I. He does the same kind of thing with staff in staff briefings, telling us that we are not showing committment when we refuse to do all those little extra activities and after school clubs and revision classes . He has also mentioned but not yet dictated that every subject must have an activity and a school visit arranged each year. They wouldn't need revision classes if they were not constantly out on residentials and other school visits. I lost nearly two weeks of lessons in the week before half term with " residentials", overnight trips off somewhere or other and school visits. Not all the pupils went on these but the ones left could not really be taught because I only had half classes.


    In this day and age, when pupils are taken here, there and everywhere by parents (some go more places than I do), they do not need to go on school camps, school trips and school everything else. What about their families? Do they not want them with them?. I do not know what is wrong with just doing what we are there for - teaching the pupils.
     
  20. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Can't totally agree that trips have no value - as a teacher of History I took many pupils to historical sites and museums that they would never have gone to otherwise. But no teacher should be forced or coerced into going on one, let alone a residential one. And all trips should be based round a subject, not just team building or a 'jolly'!
     
    DYNAMO67 likes this.

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