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Sec English teacher told to teach KS3 Maths, Science & History

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by charliejack, Jul 6, 2015.

  1. I have suddenly been told I am moving from the job I have been doing successfully for the last 10 years to teach KS3 Maths, Science and History as well as my own subject. I am okay with basic arithmetic but know little about KS3 History and nothing about Science at any level. I am concerned about how I will manage to plan, teach and assess all core subjects plus History. I envisage being up til all hours trying to learn the subjects before I teach it to the kids the next day. Now in my middle 50's, this seems unreasonable to me and an insult to those who are qualified Maths, Science and History teachers. What do you think? I would appreciate the opinions of my colleagues on this one.
  2. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    I think you should speak to your Union ASAP (if not a member - join at once). It looks like you are being set up to fail, tbh.

    I was a secondary History teacher - I also taught, at times, KS3 RE, KS3 Geography, KS4 Citizenship and KS5 General Studies, with differing levels of support from the HoD required, and differing levels of success. I think I could have managed KS3 English... But Maths or Science? No chance!

    I think - as an experienced English teacher - you could probably manage KS3 History, certainly in Year 7 or 8 providing the Department shared resources well and supported you. But it would require effort & commitment on both sides.

    PS Have they conducted a risk assessment re: Science practicals carried out by a non-specialist?
  3. Thanks - this is exactly the type of response I was hoping for. The NUT are supporting but there is a view that it is a change of class being forced upon me - not a breach of contract. I appreciate your reply and am hoping for others along the same lines to give me the will to continue my battle.
  4. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    I agree with FF.

    You are right that you would be up all night spending hours in preparation. It just isn't doable and you are being set up to fail.
  5. Thank you. I agree.
  6. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    It seems a little strange. You need a full and frank discussion with the timetabler first before getting unions involved. What is their rationale? How much of each are you teaching also? If it is a lesson or two of each and say, 16 lessons of English then whilst not ideal, I don't see it as awful.

    I am unsure at this stage what a union can do. If they used underperformance as evidence for dismissal then constructive dismissal could come into play, we aren't at this stage though yet?
  7. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    That's one good reason to discuss it with them now...

    Bit late for the OP by then...

    Very difficult to prove this...

    IMHO getting Union advice & possibly involvement may provoke a rethink by the school...

    Oh, and BTW:


    He/she is acting on orders from above. Timetablers don't propose things like this unless told to. Believe me - I used to be one.
  8. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Or the person in charge then. You get my drift though.
  9. tall tales

    tall tales New commenter

    Bit gobsmacked to be honest: many areas are struggling to recruit English teachers. I don't think history will be a problem as the same sort of skills are involved, but Maths and Science? Do you have A levels in any of these subjects? Also, how come you were selected? Sounds almost like constructive dismissal! Hopefully GL will be along to help, and as others have said - union!
  10. Dunteachin

    Dunteachin Star commenter

    Have you made the point that it's not in the best interests of the children for you to do this? What if there's an inspection? Has this just happened to you and nobody else?

    I think your worst fears might be correct. I can recommend early retirement!
  11. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter


    You might want to wave a copy of the Teacher's Standards 2014 to whoever gave the nod for this change:

    3. Demonstrate good subject and curriculum knowledge

    ? have a secure knowledge of the relevant subject(s) and curriculum areas, foster and maintain pupils’ interest in the subject, and address misunderstandings

    ? demonstrate a critical understanding of developments in the subject and curriculum areas, and promote the value of scholarship

    Unfortunately, with recruitment at a crisis (yes, Mr Gibb it is!) there will be many secondary Art and PE teachers being timetabled to teach humanities and maths come September.
  12. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Technically.......................the Head can direct you to teach whatever he/she wants.

    However, one has to question what is going on. At best, they see you as experienced and able to handle such a demand. At worst, they are sticking you out on a limb to make you 'redundant' or to try and catch you out in observations.

    I think you have to see the timetabler ASAP to ask what is going on, maybe the school does have a genuine reason.
  13. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    Like I said before, so much of this depends on the specifics. I can't imagine any school throwing anybody random maths lessons for the hell of it. I can only assume that there is one or two lessons of each subject to teach, this teacher teaches a subject with a surplus of staff and has been chosen, amongst other reasons, because they are experienced. I have taught other subjects ( re and geog) to ks3 and 4 ( I am a historian btw) I do think any teacher ought to be able to teach y7 in any subject reasonably well with the expectation of support with resources and help from subject specialists.

    If the op comes back and says that on actual fact they are teaching 8 odd maths lessons, 6 science and 4 history a week etc. I would find it strange, but I can't see the benefit for anyone in this.
  14. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    Be nice to know why this is happening.
  15. Ruthie66

    Ruthie66 New commenter

    I taught English Maths science and humanities to a bottom set year 7 group whio needed a stepping stone between the primary model and the normal secondary model. All of the students had additional needs and were vulnerable in one way or another and I took this on as SENCO. This group is now taught by someone else in my department who has an interest in nurture groups. I wouldn't expect anyone who didn't have a very specific interest in working with vulnerable students to do this and I would expect that it would be done with a specific group of students in mind not just a random selection of English, maths , science and humanities lessons
  16. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    Constructive dismissal is where an employer's conduct is so repugnant as to be repudiation of contract. I don't see how the situation described fits that bill.
  17. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    It is very difficult to prove, I understand, which is why the OP needs to act now before this TT is set in stone.

    Mind you to ask a teacher with no experience, knowledge or interest in Science and Maths to teach them gets pretty close to being 'repugnant' I'd suggest.

    I mean, what on earth would the parents of those pupils say, I wonder?
  18. Jolly_Roger1

    Jolly_Roger1 Star commenter

    Since science is (or should be) a practical subject, I would be more than I bit worried about the H&S aspects of taking class practical sessions without the qualifications and experience to do so. If someone got injured in a practical class, you could find yourself it in the brown stuff, as could your Head. It would be like putting you in charge of DT lessons, without the safety training on the band saws and lathes.
  19. Thanks for all comments. Some good things for me to use especially teaching standards and parents responses. This is part of a bigger picture I think ...... New Head - new broom.

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