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Setting work for long term absence

Discussion in 'Heads of department' started by sylvanette, Nov 28, 2018.

  1. sylvanette

    sylvanette New commenter

    I’ve got a member of my department who was off sick most of the first half term. The department all mucked in and we managed to get quality work set (for a çover supervisor) and even marked. It nearly killed us.
    She is about to go off again, long story, likely long term this time. I simply cannot ask my department to do the same again. So my question is this...
    How far am I reasonably expected to go with setting and marking work? I just about manage my own workload... I cannot imagine setting and marking for a whole other timetable, all on my own. Feeling overwhelmed!
  2. pianopete

    pianopete Occasional commenter

    Are you employing long term supply to cover it? If so, it was my understanding that someone on a longer term contract has PPA and is expected to plan/mark. If it's still your cover supervisor - sounds like you're being shafted.
    tb9605 likes this.
  3. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    I think you need to plead for either a decent long-term supply teacher capable of planning and marking, or for some of your own timetable to be covered to allow you more time to do this (this might be shared with other colleagues too). There's also the issue of whether the groups are really getting quality teaching if they only ever have a cover supervisor, and if the person setting their work is never actually in their lessons to see how they are getting on.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  4. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Only take issue with one word here, 'plead' (my bold). This is where you have to apply whatever you learned in HoD School to getting SLT to take it seriously and shake the non-existent money tree to get a decent supply in.

    You are still responsible for the (non)progress of this member of your department. You'd better fight the good fight now rather than discover the horrible truth on your next PM Review.

    Also resist dumping any more on other members of your department, unless there's an SLT in it. You're just adding to their stress and probably encouraging more illness and more stress …… etc. Of course IF you can get the SLT to take responsibility for the covering then the supply might magically appear.
  5. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Fair point!

    Wouldn't it be good if any long-term absence automatically got some SLT involvement - they're in a much better place to pop in and check how things are going, since they have rather more non-contact time. We once had two staff off long-term ill, and other members of the department would try and pop in when they could and check whether they wanted anything explaining. It bugged me that the head, whose subject it was, did not do likewise. His office was just as close as our classrooms, and he didn't need to leave another class to do it.
    JohnJCazorla likes this.
  6. sylvanette

    sylvanette New commenter

    Thanks for the replies. The first time it was all cover supervisor, as she was being signed off in 2 week increments. This time it’s long-term, so I actually went to the head and made my plea. I’ve been promised some long-term supply ASAP, but this could still go on till Xmas. Won’t ask my department to do anymore, so looks like it’s going to be a difficult road! At least it’s only for a couple of weeks.
    bonxie likes this.
  7. pianopete

    pianopete Occasional commenter

    Is it worth getting the cover-supervisor (or whoever is doing short term) to cover your lessons a few times so you can pop in and check the progress of the groups without a permanent teacher. Your classes can cope with missing you a few times and at least it will show you are trying to monitor the progress of the classes without a teacher and should avoid any parental complaints.

    Also, if your school uses supply teachers it might be worth asking whoever arranges it whether, if any supply teacher is in school for a day but doesn't have a full day of lessons to cover, whether they could be sent in your direction to give you a bit of a break!
    jarndyce and JohnJCazorla like this.
  8. sylvanette

    sylvanette New commenter

    That’s a good idea Pianopete. I’ll see if I can arrange it when I know my classes are working more independently.
    Thanks for the advice :)
  9. lynne33

    lynne33 New commenter

    We have two vacancies and cannot recruit. Quite simply a nightmare!
  10. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    When I've had this issue in the past, I've either:

    a) block-booked the auditorium and taught my class and the other class alongside (make sure you have a microphone, otherwise you'll lose your voice.... interestingly I find that using a microphone immediately reduces behaviour issues, even with 60 pupils in the room). Do LOTS of peer marking. When I was training, the department lost a member of staff at Christmas and she was off sick until after I'd completed my long-placement. The SiD did this with two Y11 classes for that whole period (I helped him with the marking workload).

    b) get parallel classes to be one or two lessons behind a similar class you (or another trusted member of the department) are teaching. You can then pass on lesson plans and resources to the cover teacher to use the next day. Arrange to meet the cover teacher for 15 minutes every morning or at the end of every day to go through that day's plans. They will appreciate this. It then means that the classes are receiving lessons planned by a subject specialist at least and it shouldn't be too arduous for you from a planning perspective.

    Good luck!
    border_walker and pianopete like this.

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