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Setting Work when Absent

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by kbs200, Nov 11, 2015.

  1. kbs200

    kbs200 New commenter

    A colleague was in an accident over half term and has been signed off for three weeks. Her HoD emails daily requesting work is sent in for her classes including setting work for a non-specialist in the department. As union rep I have said she should not be setting work and school should not be harassing her. I have contacted the union but wondered what advice others might have?
    ilovesooty and GLsghost like this.
  2. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    It's been discussed on here many a time. In short the answer is: schools should not be demanding that sick teachers provide cover work - the reasons against providing it are numerous.
  3. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    This is correct, but I would add one point - depending on the injuries etc. - if (I stress 'if') the colleague is able to set work and it would make their return to school easier, then they might want to set some work (guidelines, suggestions of topics etc. rather than detailed lessons plans). But it's for them to offer, not the school to insist... It's actually the HoD's job to set work for their department...

  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    (The missing thumbs-up emoticon) @FolkFan

    If you have a broken leg and are otherwise fine, you might wish to do this. But any signs of any stress, worries about your recovery even - I don't just mean stress about school - then no.

    And NO MARKING either, NO WRITING REPORTS. That is up to managers to manage in your absence.

    So what should they do now?

    Email to Head and Head's secretary saying that on medical advice they should not be receiving communications from school about their teaching or other responsibilities, as could hamper recovery. (Only say this if true, of course). Ask them to ensure that all colleagues are aware of this.

    Best wishes

    Last edited: Nov 11, 2015
  5. cissy3

    cissy3 Star commenter

    @kbs 200 You sound like a good union rep. I didn't know they still existed:)
    Dragonlady30 and GLsghost like this.
  6. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    If I was just physically injured I might set it just because I have 'control' over what's going on with my classes. But, there is no way a school can insist or demand work from a teacher who is off.
    There's a reason HODs are paid more than class teachers and dealing with these situations is one of them.
  7. rachelcg

    rachelcg New commenter

    As someone who is currently signed off, I followed Theo's advice and sent a note with my sick note saying that I didn't wish to be contacted with school related enquiries. My school have been really good in this respect and have left me be!
  8. jago123

    jago123 Established commenter

    As your colleague has been signed off sick she is legally obliged to not set work during her absence. This should be completed by the HOD or a senior member of the department along with any assessments/ data entry or any specific tasks assigned to that teacher.
    I would have thought that the HOD would be more 'wise' with HR relations.
  9. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Here is the sort of thing to write if you have work-related stress/anxiety. Just amend the letter if not. Send copy to School Secretary too.

    Dear Headteacher, cc Head of Department.

    I am being treated by my GP for a work-related condition. I am sending the medical certificate by post.

    You will understand that in order to ensure that my health improves and I am therefore able to return to my duties on (date GP said), I must follow the clear advice of my medical practitioner and not undertake any work at all related to school, nor deal with queries.

    I would therefore be grateful if you would ensure that all my colleagues are aware that they should not contact me about school matters. Thank you for this.

    I am sorry that you will be inconvenienced by my absence, but I am hopeful that by following strictly the advice that I have been given, my health will improve sufficiently to enable me to resume my duties at the end of this predicted period of absence.

    Yours sincerely
    monicabilongame likes this.
  10. englishteach101

    englishteach101 Occasional commenter

    I worked alongside an absent colleague who was off long-term and the rule from the school that I worked in then was that they couldn't ask him to set cover so the Head of Faculty (he was Head of Department) used to do it. Unfortunately this meant that work was being set for the kids by a non-specialist, but following advice from the union, the school couldn't ask him to set anything, mark anything or contact him about prospected return dates.
  11. emilystrange

    emilystrange Star commenter

    and rightly so.
    Dragonlady30 likes this.
  12. OnlyOneOpinion

    OnlyOneOpinion Occasional commenter

    Yes this is right.
  13. Dragonlady30

    Dragonlady30 Star commenter

    I remember when this non contact became the 'rule', as it happened when I was off long term with WRS. The school were so concerned to follow the 'rule' that I had no contact at all, and I mean no contact! Not a card or a flower or email with good wishes. I felt totally cut off. When II returned I spoke to the DH-one of the good guys-and he was so sorry when I explained how I was left feeling so uncared for or appreciated. He took what I said to heart and no other staff on long term illness was left card-less or flowerless.
  14. spacehopper91

    spacehopper91 New commenter

    Hi, I wonder if anyone could help.

    I have been absent from school and have informed my school I am likely to be for the next few days. I am awaiting an appointment from the GP as I have very high blood pressure and severe anxiety (the two hardly complement each other!). I have not set cover, because the very thought stresses me out. As I am not yet covered by a sick note, and I am 'self-certifying' my illness, am I legally obliged to set cover? Is it only you don't have to if you have a sick note? Also, I'm a trainee which is doubly confusing as I have no idea who I'm officially meant to report to with such matters, which in itself is adding to my stress. Please advise!
  15. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    No you don't have to set cover.
    You need to inform your school and your training provider that you are absent.

    Get yourself an emergency appointment as soon as possible.
    Once you have seen the doctor, follow their advice and keep school and the training provider informed.
    Best of luck.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  16. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    When in doubt inform everyone you can think of.

    Do no work related to school whatsoever.

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