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teach in brding schl? do wkend travel paperwork?

Discussion in 'Independent' started by sprite, Mar 5, 2016.

  1. sprite

    sprite New commenter

    apologies for txt spk--trying to get it all in the header!

    Background: I work part time in an independent school. Academic Personal Tutors are not expected to do any boarding supervision, but they are expected to do all the paperwork for times when students go out of the city--day trips, weekends away, school holidays, flights home. They communicate with the parents, check that the correct email address is being used, that permissions match student ages (14 yr olds have less freedom than 18 yr olds, etc), that flight times don't conflict with school, pass on details for taxi bookings, etc.

    Do you do any of this, if you are academic staff? I have worked in other boarding schools, and all weekend arrangements were entirely done by boarding staff. Academic staff were only involved if it was felt that a student should be gated or given extra prep time or some such.

    (This doesn't affect me personally, as I'm part time so do teaching only)
  2. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    I work in an independent boarding/day school - about 50/50, but we do offer Saturday morning activities (some academic, many pastoral) - those activities are organised by the relevant staff, e.g. a sports event or revision by the teacher/teachers involved, but:

    Boarding activity for boarders only (not a Saturday morning all-school activitiy): organised by boarding staff. Trip to Bluewater: organised by the relevant housemistress, who does all the paperwork.

    Activity for all students: whoever is organising that activity. Lower School adventure morning on a Saturday through a local park (for all lower school), organised by the Lower School head tutor, but increasingly shared around with support and assistance for the newer teachers (like me).

    For instance, I just received approval for an overseas trip and I will do all the paperwork.

    [Organised = doing the emails home, health and safety paperwork, permissions, etc]

    TBH, it sounds odd that academic staff are doing the paperwork for boarding activities, but it may be that if your school is a 100% boarding (or with a smaller amount of day students than boarding) that there is so much paperwork involved - we might have three boarding activities a week, but 8 overall school activities, so there is no real imbalance but if there are 11 activities that are boarding and 2 for overall, then it might be more reasonable to ask academic staff to help out the boarding.

    :) Hope that helps and it's not too confusing....
  3. sprite

    sprite New commenter

    Ah. Maybe I didn't explain well. I don't mean boarding or group activities--the boarding/pastoral staff do all that.

    I meant, if a student wants to go out on their own (or with family, friends) on Saturday, there is paperwork to do for that, and academic PTs do it, not boarding staff. At half term, if the student is leaving the boarding house, academic PTs check the flight arrangements etc, not boarding staff. That sort of thing.
  4. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Do academic staff do it for their own tutees? That would seem logical . . .

    Best wishes

    P.S. Good contribution there from @sabrinakat

  5. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    I'm now retired but I spent 40 years in boarding schools, half of that time as a housemaster. I've never heard of having to do paperwork for students on exeat, other than writing the time of leaving and time of return in the exeunt book - and that is done by the duty member of boarding staff. Academic tutors never came near the boarding houses! I would have shooed them away had they done so! Also, it was my job (as housemaster) to do things such as checking flight timetables. It was why I had a rather large salary and why I only taught a 25% timetable !
    SirPurrAlot likes this.
  6. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    It could mean that the paperwork is shared, e.g. academic stuff helping out boarding? Especially if it's one of the larger boarding schools, e.g. mine is very small (under 200), with only half boarders. I can actually see the logic there in your own school if there are hundreds of students and time-constraints on boarding to deal with them all.
  7. sprite

    sprite New commenter

    Thank you for sharing your experiences.

    Personally, I don't think it's logical for one set of staff to do all the paperwork for events that will take place when they are off-campus. Should there be any glitches or missed items, those staff members aren't available to clarify or consult. And in terms of workload fairness, PTs in this school have 28 contact hours per 5 day week, which is on the high end for the Independent Secondary sector--based on what I've seen advertised/discussed.

    I have a theory that the situation has arisen from a history of management not being particularly fussed about the quality (or language ability) of boarding staff, because until recently the majority of boarders were 18 or over so legally required much lower levels of supervision. Combined with a domineering personality as head of boarding, I suspect it was decided that PTs could be better relied on to meet legal requirements for showing duty of care.

    I find this arrangement odd and potentially confusing for parents; when I was a housemistress, I was the first point of contact for students and parents when someone wanted to go off-site, and my role was very much as a sort of second parent, not just a health and safety supervisor. Parents only contacted teachers for academic concerns.

    To be honest, one of the reasons I don't try to work full-time at this particular place is because the of extra time PTs have to spend on things like this, which I don't believe should be part of an academic teacher's role. It would make more sense if teachers were also houseparents, but not when they are academic-time only.
  8. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    It sounds as if the school concerned is overseas. If so, comparisons with the UK are almost impossible. Here, heads of boarding houses are normally the most senior members of staff below the SMT, and are normally appointed from staff who have already served some years as heads of department and usually also some years as assistant housemasters/housemistresses.
    SirPurrAlot and sabrinakat like this.
  9. sprite

    sprite New commenter

    No, this is in the UK. One of the new wave of chain schools making their money purely off international students who want to get A-levels before going on to British universities. Corporate management refers to students as clients--not students.
  10. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Ah, nothing like the sort of boarding schools that I'm use to, in that case. Mind you, most UK boarding schools are now taking far more boarders from overseas than they used to. I read somewhere that one-third of all boarders are now from overseas.
  11. sprite

    sprite New commenter

    That's where the money is! Between increased regulations (some probably overdue, some onerous) and a large number of parents willing to pay quite a bit, a lot of boarding schools seem to be out of the reach of most middle class parents who might have used them 30 years ago.
  12. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Cost is certainly part of the equation but also I think there is less certainty among UK parents these days of the value of a boarding education (and I know it certainly doesn't suit every child). I saw that starting to happen more than 30 years ago when the demand for weekly boarding started to grow and, more recently, the rise in demand for occasional boarding on an ad hoc basis.

    Also, it is now much easier to attend an independent school as a day pupil - either because two-car families make transport more viable or because of the extensive network of feeder buses operated by many independent schools. When I started teaching back in the 1960s in a boarding school of 800, there were only some 30 day pupils almost all living within walking or cycling distance. Now more than half of that same school are day pupils.
  13. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    We have flexi-boarding and weekly boarding as well as four mini-buses that deliver students.

    I'm academic staff but do no paperwork for boarders at all, unless it's my own department or assist head of lower school (I'm a form tutor in the lower school).....
  14. jarndyce

    jarndyce Occasional commenter

    I've been a non-resident house tutor at a couple of schools (ie, I do a boarding evening once or twice a week). I've never had to deal with paperwork for boarders - it has very much been the housemaster's job - apart from "Jarndyce, could you go round before bedtime and collect in their flight details forms to put in my office, please?"...
  15. sprite

    sprite New commenter

    Thanks for all comments.

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