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second subject and sudden timetable increase - what can I do?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by onbekende, Mar 12, 2017.

  1. onbekende

    onbekende New commenter

    I have been at my school for 3 years teaching music and a second subject, which has varied. In my job offer letter 3 years ago, I was told I was being given a lighter timetable than other full time staff (28 per week, not 32) on the basis that I would be expected to make a very substantial contribution to extra-curricular activities, which indeed I do - 5 lunchtimes, and 2 after-school clubs! Now, however, I have been told that in September I will be teaching 32 periods like everyone else and that I will be teaching a new second subject (not one I have any interest or skill in) to year 9.

    My question is A) Was I on a "lucky" deal and there's nothing I can do now it seems to have changed or B) Are the school out of order making this change, and can I challenge them?

    Thanks in advance for your thoughts guys.
  2. gazzmus

    gazzmus New commenter

    1. Bye bye afterschool clubs

    2. Use any free down time after exams to fully prep for the new subject

    Brave new world. Lots if schools will be trying to squeeze even more out of staff with budget cuts.

    The grass may not be greener at another school....
  3. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Find where you have it in writing that you will teach 28 periods a week and take it to the leadership.
    If you have in writing that that's your contract/job/whatever then they can't change it without your agreement.

    But yes you have been lucky.
    The nature of part of my role mean I do three sessions in club time. However I get no extra frees to compensate and am still expected to run a normal club as well. That's just life sometimes.
    onbekende and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  4. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    A Were you lucky? Who cares? Don't compare yourself to others. We have no idea how long these after-school clubs take or how much work you have to do. And the workload of others is supremely irrelevant because...

    B Get that job offer letter. Don't brandish it in their faces yet. Decide on what your objective is. Prioritise.

    1. I won't teach History but I don't mind Geography or French.
    2. I can tolerate teaching 30 but no way can I do 32.
    3. I need one lunchtime and one evening to myself.

    Then go and speak nicely to whomsoever. Try cajoling and wheedling. If that fails? Produce the letter and invoke the spirit of the TUC.

    Can my employer change my contract?
    A contract of employment is a legal agreement between the employer and the employee. Its terms cannot lawfully be changed or varied by the employer without agreement from the employee (either individually or through a recognised trade union).

    onbekende likes this.
  5. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    "In my job offer letter 3 years ago, I was told I was being given a lighter timetable than other full time staff (28 per week, not 32) on the basis that I would be expected to make a very substantial contribution to extra-curricular activities."

    You could say that for each extra lesson, you're going to need to drop an extra-curricular activity. (You could actually argue that since you were given 4 lessons off and ran about 6 extra activities, you might drop 3 activities for every two extra lessons.) Whether that's a good strategy depends on whether the school actually cares about the extra-curricular side.

    I had an R&R allowance, and the head told me that "the governors expect to see you merit it by your contribution to the department". When they suddenly removed it, I said "... so I no longer need to merit it?" That worked, although it was in the days when people were much more reasonable.
    onbekende likes this.
  6. BelleDuJour

    BelleDuJour Star commenter

    They can change your contract and ask you to sign the new one. If you don't then it's goodbye.
    I'd look for a new post.
  7. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I'd be surprised if your formal contract of employment incorporated that as an express term without any right for the school to alter it. You'd have to get all your contractual documentation reviewed by an employment specialist in your union to be sure but I wouldn't lay too much store on this being a breach of contract.

    Headteachers usually have the right to deploy staff as they see fit, it doesn't need the staff member's agreement. Indicating how they intend to deploy you when you first start is unlikely to be a binding contractual guarantee that the deployment will never be changed, with or without your agreement.
  8. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    If you're a music teacher, the extra curricular often takes on a bigger emotional importance. However, that new subject that you admit you have no expertise in will take a lot of prep. There may be a battle of wills. Extra-curricular music attracts parents of children for whom it is often easier for the school to show value added.
    Stay tough.
  9. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    They've told you this early...
    I was given a new subject in which I had no experience, qualification or interest the week before the end of summer term. A week in which I was supporting a music department residential trip.
    onbekende likes this.
  10. thistledoo

    thistledoo Senior commenter

    I know someone that this happened to, twice.They asked SLT to provide support in the new subject and listed the support they expected e.g. Time to study new subject and prepare, support from subject specialist, an agreement that exam work was assessed by a specialist... the list was long and presented by their union rep. First time, it was arranged someone else taught the extra subject. The following year the subject appeared on the teacher's timetable again. SLT would not back down, so the union fought all points on the list again. Long after the Summer term and lessons were in progress/ assessments due etc., the teacher was able to remind SLT of the lack of specialist knowledge to deliver and assess. Second time around SLT have honoured all support because it was all written/ thought about and backed by union rep.
    This teacher is very strong and would not back down, all own/ specialist subject prep and assessment comes first. If there is no time to do work for the newly acquired second subject this teacher informs the LM.

    I would find this situation incredibly stressful and I'm constantly amazed how they can compartmentalise demands but this is how this person 'survives'.
    onbekende and grumpydogwoman like this.
  11. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    You can challenge it, if you don't get what you ask for, then leave. You have about 80 days to find a new job before the resignation deadline. We are in the recruitment season now for September starts, don't leave it too late! You don't want to be at a worse school / academy than the one you are currently at!
    onbekende likes this.

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