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Shortage of Staff

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Lalex123, Jun 26, 2019.

  1. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Occasional commenter

    Hello everyone, I am looking for some tips on how to persuade SLT to employ a new member of staff in my department. We are understaffed and due to tight finances school have told me they can’t afford to employ a part time teacher of my subject to cover the 1 day necessary. This means several classes of students won’t study my subject next year.

    I am passionate about my subject and do not want any child to be denied the opportunity to study it. I believe that underfunding my department will contribute to the devaluing of my subject by students and staff.

    I have a meeting to discuss my POV and want to know how to present my ideas in the best possible way so I don’t sound negative and so that SLT take my ideas seriously to give me the best chance of growing my department.

  2. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Occasional commenter

    You can make the best case in the world for your subject.
    You can talk about how it enriches pupils lives, contributes to their future, benefits other subjects etc. etc.

    Or you can just present your results - Excellent results, above target grades showing good value added are all your HT will be interested in. If you don't have the results don't bother.
  3. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Occasional commenter

    I’ve only just started so I have no results....
  4. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    If they're not studying your subject, they must be doing something else in that time, so they're unlikely to be saving a day's worth of teacher salary. However possibly they're overstaffed elsewhere, so giving students an extra hour of that subject balances things up.

    If the timetable is already written for September, it may be too late for next term, but perhaps you need to get thinking creatively.

    The easy option is to have a non-specialist picking up the leftover classes - perhaps from whichever subject is overstaffed. If they've timetabled them to do something different from the rest of the cohort just because they're with a teacher of another subject, you could make the case that you can support that teacher in delivering your subject. It's a common solution where the sole teacher can't quite cover everyone, and you just make sure that the same classes don't get the non-specialist every year. If you're teaching the same year group at the same time, there's also scope for team teaching.

    Another option (to explore for next year) to look at is whether entering into a rotation with another subject (or more than one) could work. That way you might be able to have each group for four lessons a week for a fifth of the year, rather than one lesson a week all year, and so effectively get 0.8 lessons a week with everyone rather than some missing out. Not always ideal in the year they choose their options, as they may not have got to your subject by the time they choose.
    agathamorse and Lalex123 like this.
  5. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Occasional commenter

    Thanks for the reply, I have already discussed the use of a non specialist but this was not chosen by SLT. I also suggested a carousel but that was not chosen either.

    The amount of damage that these actions cause ‘non core’ subjects is killing off my subject across the country and I want to fight my corner. Does anyone know of any legislation that states how much teaching time each subject should have per key stage? Is there any research I can direct SLT to that makes my case for a specialist teacher and regular timetabled lessons? Do leaders really care about subjects other than EBACC or is there a rank order where some subjects are at the top, and others at the bottom?
  6. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Occasional commenter

    Are there results from previous teachers at the school you can quote.
    Also without knowing what subject you teach it is difficult to give specific advice. Some subjects have professional groups to represent them and support their subjects e.g. Design and technology and food have DATA and the food teachers center.
    There may be a wealth of support and information available for your subject? There are also forums on this site aimed at specific subjects and you may benefit from posting for advice on one of these.
    agathamorse and Lalex123 like this.
  7. briceanus

    briceanus New commenter

    At our place, once SLT have made a decision, that's it. No re-thinking, no evaluation of contrary evidence, absolutely no change of plan UNLESS, its made out to be on their terms. They are far too arrogant to even consider that someone else could have an alternative better solution as plausible.
    Do your best, document/evidence everything. At each line management meeting, express concerns and ensure they are minuted accurately - do these yourself, do not rely on line manager's minutes.
    Cynical yes,
    JohnJCazorla and Lalex123 like this.
  8. Happygopolitely

    Happygopolitely Established commenter

    Leave as soon as you can. If your subject is not valued than you will not be.
    Lalex123 likes this.
  9. Jolly_Roger15

    Jolly_Roger15 Star commenter

    Having timetable shortfalls in one subject made up by teachers from another can mean a lot of extra work, and hand;holding for you, though.
    JohnJCazorla, Lalex123 and Piranha like this.
  10. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    You can make a case for it, but whether they take it or not is a completely different thing. I think you need to understand that schools have budgets they need to adhere to. If the HT is saying that they cannot afford a part timer, then they can’t.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  11. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Occasional commenter

    Would this be acceptable in maths? English? PE? If not, why do some subjects get fully staffed whilst others are devalued and further marginalised? I get the budget, but if they can bend the rules for other subjects, why not mine?
  12. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Occasional commenter

    You mention core subjects as having greater priority, and of course that can seem unfair, and I have certainly known non core subjects lose out to core on funding, support and timetabling, but still be expected to get the results.
    As I have already said on this post you may get better and more relevant advice to support your argument if you post for advice on the area relating to your subject.
    Just as a matter of interest what subject are we talking about?
  13. DrJay

    DrJay Occasional commenter

    I truly suspect this is religious studies. If so, ask SLT to ask non-specialists (e.g. history and geography teachers) to deliver your Years 7 and 8 lessons. This enables you to focus on Years 9-13 (assuming you also offer KS5). Not ideal but doable. Single-handedly teaching/delivering KS 4 and 5 is tough but doable.

    If the subject in question is Drama, English teachers could help teach Years 7-8 whilst you focus on other classes. If, however, your subject is Art or Music, these are subjects that would require specific skill-sets. You could investigate who amongst your teaching colleagues studied your subjects up to A Level or even have a degree in the field but not currently teaching it. For example, I have a colleague who is currently teaching history (up to A Level) who holds a BA and PGCE in English language; another who is Head of English did A Level Art in 6th Form, etc. My message is this. You could find colleagues who are able to successfully deliver your subject to Years 7 and 8 whilst you focus on senior classes.

    Hope this helps.
    Lalex123 likes this.
  14. magic surf bus

    magic surf bus Star commenter

    All I can say is good luck. Our HT's idea of consultation was to order individual subject leaders to go to their office one-by-one a couple of days before we broke up for Christmas, with no agenda provided. There you found yourself outnumbered by the HT and their chief lackey, and were told your non-core subject would no longer be offered as a GCSE course. The other three to whom this happened had other GCSE courses to offer - I didn't. Merry ****ing Christmas.

    In my case, a friendly and much-respected DHT leaked the purpose of the meeting to me about an hour beforehand, such was their disgust with the HT's management style. Consequently I was able to field some awkward questions, and pretend to take note of the replies, but the end result was the same. The GCSE course I'd built up single-handed from scratch over a number of years was discarded - game over.

    Sorry to inject a note of pessimism, but my advice is start working on your Plan B if you don't get what you hope for. There'll be other schools who will treat you better. I got out of that place within 12 months.
  15. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    You haven't mentioned parents.
    What would the parents like for their kids?
    How can you evidence it?
    Chuck in some numbers, the chances of getting a higher grade in this subject over a higher grade in another subject.
    Link it with what they do in Primary school, and claim there is untapped knowledge coming through in Y6.
    Could there be an enrichment activity which the local press would photograph?
    Can you name any local speakers linked to that subject area who work in a prestigious field who you can invite in to assembly?
    Do you have a potted draft SoW ready to throw in?
    Can you suggest any cross-curricular activities?
    Will it lend itself to an entrance hall display board?

    My point?
    So far, you haven't sold it, you've just lamented the situation.
    Your leadership will switch off at the slightest sniff of that. They want initiative, positivity, clear benefit for the school. In other words, you need a sales pitch.

    Your posts so far are not very sales pitchy at all, but the bottom line is you are going to go in and ask for money. What will it buy? "I am passionate about my subject" is utterly irrelevant.
    Lalex123 and JohnJCazorla like this.
  16. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Occasional commenter

    Some good advice, unfortunately it rarely works like this. the OP is more likely to get who ever is available, has a few spare periods on their timetable regardless of their experience. This can work, but the OP will need to support the teacher with good quality SOW's and resources.
    Lalex123 likes this.
  17. DrJay

    DrJay Occasional commenter

    @HolyMahogany. If that's the case, the OP should find another school. If I find myself in such a position, I'll move on.
    Lalex123 likes this.
  18. Lalex123

    Lalex123 Occasional commenter

    Some good points above. Ultimately I feel angry at even having to ‘sell’ my subject in order to achieve a full quota of staffing in the timetable. (Obviously I won’t be letting SLT know this).

    Should the subject matter? What do OFSTED think when a national curriculum subject is diminished purely on the grounds of finances?

    My main points are:
    - Student entitlement to a broad and balanced curriculum
    - Parental opinions if their child’s curriculum is narrowed
    - Numbers on roll and the opinions of KS2 parents who are sending their children to us
    - Results and credibility of my subject over time
    - Some subject specific points about the benefits to the wider curriculum, results, etc
  19. thejudgesscoresarein

    thejudgesscoresarein Occasional commenter

    Because Mathematics and English is a core subject and is not optional, same as PE. All students should have at least 1/2 hours of PE per week.
    You really need to take this up with your HT and / COG as it’s them who are making the decision regarding budgets, not us.
  20. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Occasional commenter

    I really don't understand your reluctance to identify your subject,
    I have already pointed out that there are people on this forum with specialist knowledge and experience, hopefully in your subject, who, I am sure would be happy and keen to give you specific advice and support on this matter.
    For what it's worth I have always advocated a broad and balanced curriculum.
    One argument that might help you is to look at how your subject supports pupils education and career paths beyond KS4 and KS5. What opportunities does it support. What degrees does it give access to. Are there any ex pupils who took this subject as a degree and are now enjoying a successful, related career.
    You may not like having to argue your case, but that is a fact of life, after all on options evening for KS4 & 5 you will be expected to present a case in support of your subject to the pupils if you want them to choose to study your subject.
    agathamorse likes this.

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