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Urgent advice needed on school's cover for absent teachers

Discussion in 'Primary' started by pinknoodles, May 15, 2011.

  1. pinknoodles

    pinknoodles Administrator

    I just wanted to get some advice on a situation occurring at my school.

    There will be significant period of time (more than just a couple of days)where a year group will be one teacher down.

    The school will not be employing any supply teachers or cover from other teacher/ta's, the remaining teachers in the year group have been told they will be spreading the teaching of the class between them as well their own class.

    I have done some research and found the NUT model cover policy for schools which seems to suggest that teachers should cover classes 'only rarely' and not for extended periods of time where the absence has been known about for many weeks beforehand.

    I just want to know where the teachers stand on this and if there is anything that can be done to improve the situation for the children and the staff.

    Please help, many thanks. :)
  2. How can a teacher cover someone elses class as well as their own?
  3. pinknoodles

    pinknoodles Administrator

  4. Its not possible - the only way i can think of is splitting the class and spreading them around the other classes a few in each which has happened in emergencies at our school.
    The only time I do not spend with my class in school is PPA so how can I go into a different class?
    I thought rarely cover was mainly for secondary schools?
  5. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    We've had a policy of no first day cover for quite some time,due to our tight budget. From the second day onwards, a supply teacher is booked. But, for the first day, the year group has to cover.
    In Foundation, we generally ask if the TA for that class will take the register, do snack, read a story at the end of the day, and dismiss the children. For the rest of the day, we usually split the class between the other 2 classes (we're 3 form entry, which helps)
    The older classes usually put a couple of classes together for whole class input, and then any TAs working in the year group are all sent into the teacherless class to support group work.
    It's far from ideal, and we've recently been adviced by the NUT that we shouldn't be asked to do this.
  6. pinknoodles

    pinknoodles Administrator

    Yes the class will be split between the others in the year group.
  7. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    Should, of course, been "advised"
  8. pinknoodles

    pinknoodles Administrator

    cariad2 it sound just like our situation, has anyone at your school taken the nut's advice any further?
  9. That is ridiculous! Parents will be complaining.
    Behaniour management and safety will become an issue.
    The new budgets have just been agreed school's should have some money.
    All school's should be insured against staff absence to cover the cost.
    Speak to your union!
  10. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    We've recently brought the unions in to support us over another issue which is more pressing. Nobody wants to rock the boat at the moment, so we're not challenging the lack of first day cover for now.
    But, at least it's only the first day that we ever have to cover - although that's bad enough; it makes you very reluctant to take time off, as you know the effect it will have on your colleagues. Your situation sounds worse than ours.
  11. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    Our Head recently gave us a little talk about absence costs. On the one hand, we were told that we need to look after ourselves and not come in if we are really ill. But, that message wasn't as prominent as the emphasis on how much supply costs have hit the budget.
    I don't know if insurance schemes are all the same, but we were told that ours doesn't kick in immediately, and even when a teacher has been absent long enough for the insurance to pay up, then the insurance money won't necessarily be as much as the cost of a supply teacher.
  12. Not all schools insure, either as the cost and lack of payouts don't always make it worthwhile/
  13. crysys

    crysys Occasional commenter

    In the early days of school heads' having to manage their own budgets, at my school it was common for the head to split classes around other classes which was far from ideal. Parents, pupils and class teachers complained so eventually, he had to admit defeat and buy in supply teachers. The school regularly ran at a deficit after that. Insurance didn't cover for the odd one or two days so the costs always accumulated. There was never enough money in the kitty so photocopying was severely curtailed and teachers hassled if they didn't come in and that was over 20 years ago!
    I have just worked at a school where TAs regularly cover for absentee teachers even for extended absences and the head has put a GTP student into a class full-time to save money. No one says anything - not even the student and I would love to know if anyone EVER challenges their head teacher, using the NUT guidelines or if we are all too worried about our job security, good references or just sheer bloody mindedness on the part of the 'boss'.
  14. cariad2

    cariad2 New commenter

    Our unions advised us today that what we have been asked to do is illegal - we should be <u>rarely </u>asked to cover, and even that should only be for unforseeable absence. Planned appointments do not come into this category, and nor so absences where the sick teacher has phoned in at 7.30 in the morning to let the school know that they are unable to come in - both situations which we have covered for.
    We were advised that if directed to cover, we shouldn't refuse. But we should notify our reps whenever this happens so that they can build up evidence of how often this has occured, with dates etc. Then they will have evidence to take to our Head and emphasise that this is illegal.
  15. Our insurance scheme only kicks in on the 4th day of absence but it is then back dated to the first day missed IYSWIM so our head has told us if we are ill to make sure we are fully better before we come back :)
  16. pinknoodles

    pinknoodles Administrator

    Thanks for your replies, I think We'll have to start making notes of days etc and the let the school rep know.

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