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Unpaid INSET for supply staff?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by pryzbylewskir, Feb 13, 2019.

  1. pryzbylewskir

    pryzbylewskir New commenter


    Firstly I'd like to apologies for what is going to be quite a long-winded post... being concise never was a strong point of mine. Essentially I'm looking for any thoughts or advice on an issue that has arisen regarding long term supply and pay for additional work outside of normal school hours.

    I start with the background to the story. I am in my 4th year of being a qualified and have spent this time moving between temporary jobs, never staying in one place for more than a year. I would love to secure a more permanent position, but the seemingly never ending cycle of cost saving always seems to result in a restructuring of the curriculum that means that come the next academic year I am no longer needed. Whilst I enjoy the part of teaching that involves teaching, the lack of job security and increasing demands of the job are seriously making me consider other career paths... but I digress...

    Anyway, my current situation sees me working long time supply via an agency in a school that I really like. I secured the post at the start of the academic year and was told it was on a 'temp - to perm basis' meaning that if the school were happy with me after a set period there was a good chance of me being employed by them directly on a longer contract. I get on well with my colleagues and have a positive relationship with my pupils, feedback from SLT has been good and I've done well in observations so the prospect of becoming an actual member of the school's staff seemed promising... but then came the forecast for the next years budget. Like many schools currently, it doesn't look good and significant savings need to be made. It didn't take a genius to work out that my position looked extremely precarious when talk of redundancies was being floated, and this has since been confirmed to me - I will not be getting taken on to the school's payroll and at the moment I will not be needed in my department for next years curriculum model.

    To finally get to the crunch of my query then. In order to break up earlier for summer, the school is completing a number of afterschool 'twilight' training sessions in lieu of a few INSET days. I've already completed a couple of these unpaid - my rational was that it looked like I would be getting taken on by the school, which would have meant that effectively I would have been payed for the days in the salary I would have gained. However as I now no I am not being paid, I sought clarification as to weather A. I should attend future sessions and in which case get paid for them, or B. Do not need to attend them in future. After some umming and ahhhing the answer I recieved went along the lines of 'we're not going to pay you so you don't have to go, but... why not look at it as an opportunity for some great CPD so you should still go for your own benefit!' This didn't sit right with me so I did not go to the most recent one, but I can't help but get the feeling that some members of staff feel that I am somehow being awkward or unreasonable by refusing to attend training and not be paid when every other member of staff will be. It also irks me that I've been made to feel this way when I work hard and already complete a number of other duties after school without any fuss (parents and open evenings, weekly directed time, a club etc.) Also as I said, I like the school and so want to keep in their good books, but equally do not want to be exploited!

    I just fancied venting this really so thanks for reading, any thoughts on the matter or advice from anyone who has experienced a similar situation would be interesting to here. I'm also not quite sure what to do about the hours I have already worked?

    (FYI, I have asked my union rep for advice, but am still waiting on a response.)
  2. Sillow

    Sillow Lead commenter

    If you're not being paid, don't go. Ignore the other staff members as, unfortunately, come the summer holidays, you won't be working with them again.

    Schools need to realise that they only get what they pay for. Staff need to stop doing things for free or (in the matter of buying equipment) actually stop paying for things the school should be buying.
    bevdex, Catgirl1964, Ohwell and 6 others like this.
  3. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    Part of life on Supply, I'm afraid...

    You could attend CPR (after all, it is part of job applications) but you have the option of not doing so.

    Good luck in your next position.
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. CheeseMongler

    CheeseMongler Lead commenter

    My opinion; write it off. Do not attend future session (unless you genuinely want to) because there is no chance you will get paid for them. Get over what other staff may be thinking. Sure, they'll be jealous of you being able to go home when they have twilight INSET... just as you'll be jealous of them in the summer when they're still being paid and you're not but I doubt this will rest heavily on any of their minds.
  5. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    You're under no obligation to attend. It sounds as if this is genuinely understood at management level, and if other colleagues seem to disapprove when they see you leaving, you can either ignore them or say that you're going home to use the time work on job applications for next year. They might feel a little more sympathetic then.

    If there's something genuinely useful (eg certificated first aid) then you might seize the opportunity of getting that for free, but somehow I suspect that you might not be so welcome at anything like that! I remember being strongly encouraged to attend one training day on my day off because they'd bought in some external trainer and it would be a really useful day. It wasn't - it was the least useful one all year.
  6. snowfairy

    snowfairy New commenter

    I am currently on supply at a school and am contracted until the end of the year. They also do 2 days in lieu but have them on the beginning of this half term. I asked at the beginning of the year regarding my attendance. I was told that if I attended it was believed I would be paid. I have since gone to the traning sessions and it was confirmed last week that I will paid for the days off in lieu despite being on a daily supply rate.

    If I had been told that it would not happen I would definatey not have attended. Luckily the school seem have been sensible and decided that thet would prefer I attend the inset and will cough up the pay for me to attend.
  7. nomad

    nomad Star commenter


    Yes, if our heart has stopped beating and you are no longer breathing. If so, I would suggest you attend CPR pretty damn pronto.

    With regard to CPD, this is hardly a 'call in the union' matter if you are not being forced to attend. Go if it is useful to you, don't if it is not!
  8. pryzbylewskir

    pryzbylewskir New commenter

    That's what I thought. To be honest I'm glad to see everyone on here viewing it in the black and white way in which I have. I was just left feeling uncertain after the response of some colleagues to my non-attendance ('have you asked the union rep?' 'I get your point, but think of your reference...' etc) who generally did seem to view it as a grey area (even a member of SLT who I spoke to told me that no one had ever asked before and seemed surprised that I was . As someone said in an earlier comment these kinds of responses, and people doing this kind of work for free are a part of the problem really... people attend these kinds of things unpaid in order to 'stay in the good books' which can end up setting a precedent in which others are viewed unfavourably when they've done nothing wrong.

    Either way, I've had a few more conversations at work and these (along with the comments here) have left me feeling pretty re-assured that I did the right thing and have nothing to worry about by not attending. As far as I'm aware the training related to school policy and preparation for Ofsted next year, so ultimately neither me or the school are missing out!
  9. Deirds

    Deirds Senior commenter

    nomad likes this.
  10. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    If the sessions look helpful or like they might look impressive on a CV then it could be a worthwhile investment in terms of your time.
    Otherwise there's no need to feel guilty if you don't go.
    grumpydogwoman and nomad like this.
  11. gruoch

    gruoch Occasional commenter

    No pay. No attend. Simple.
  12. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Me v work

    What do I get out of work v what do they get out of me

    I aim for a balance. I get my fair share. They get theirs.

    If I don't get money or a really useful bit of training? Then there's no balance in the relationship and I'm not playing.
    agathamorse, Ohwell and JohnJCazorla like this.
  13. sparkleghirl

    sparkleghirl Star commenter

    Once in my last week as supply in a school there was an inset. It was end of term and the school specifically said that those teachers leaving didn't have to attend, but were welcome to go if they wanted.
    I went, got to the door, saw a packet of post-it notes on every seat, felt a wave of terror and turned around again.
  14. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    I have only once attended CPD as a supply teacher. I work only for one school, which is a special school for SEND students, and the training was the annual safeguarding thing; the school wanted me to be up to date and they paid for my time.
    Otherwise I don't go.
    In fact, last month I swanned happily off at the end of the school day, as the staff prepared for a twilight session due to last till 7pm. I felt like the better off person, despite not being paid!
  15. creaganturic

    creaganturic New commenter

    They really should be paying you. I am also on long term supply and I was invited to attend and got paid for an inset day. I have another tomorrow which was not compulsory, but I asked if I could attend and I am being paid for that as well. I was even paid on a recent snow day when the school closed. Maybe I have just been lucky, but the way I see it, if you spend your working hours at the school, you should be paid for it. My supply company requested my payment for the snow day, but the school initiated the others. Perhaps a call to your union to see where you stand.
  16. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    Yes but if they can guilt-trip you into coming in for free then guess what? The only good thing is that they're also not paying the agency their cut and at least these top negotiators will be on your side.
    Reminds me of the old joke.
    CUSTOMER: How do I stand for a £200 loan
    BANK MANAGER: You don't stand, you grovel.

    Slightly more seriously, I really can't see how the union can help unless there is a clear breach of employment law, very unlikely. Like @creaganturic I've received pay for such days but it could just as easily be luck instead of my negotiating skills. Lucky or not I've had to put in a lot of hustling to get these and recently I just said I wasn't going to a particularly pointless CPD rather than put in the hard graft to get paid for the day in leiu.

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