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To think you can't expect children to do well at school when they have constant supply teachers?

(53 Posts)
U2HasTheEdge Tue 15-Dec-15 16:56:40

Child- GCSE stage, so year 10.

A big drop in grades for the school. Got a new head teacher, she sacked teachers with the idea that hiring new staff would improve grades, not sure where all these new staff are, they are mostly supply teachers. It's an academy.

I am not too sure what happened really but I know that my children have three permanent teachers now and the rest are supply teachers which change all the time. Parents meeting today about my year 10 son was done by a supply teacher who has taught my son for one lesson. I felt very sorry for him, he seemed like he is a great teacher but not the right person to meet with me to discuss my son who he doesn't know. He was completely out of his depth.

Seems like many children's grades are dropping by talk going around, including my son's. AIBU to wonder WTF they expect with all the upheaval of sacking teachers then them having different supply teachers all the time, so there is little continuity?

My other child who is the year below has also failed to reach his targets. Of course I can't blame that all on the staff problems but it hardly helps does it? He has had 8 supply teachers in one subject since Sept. Of course I have told my children they still need to work hard etc, but my SN child really does need to build up a relationship with his teachers and have some stability with staff.

Donge13 Tue 15-Dec-15 16:59:42

When this happened to dd1 we ended up paying for private math tuition to get her through her exam. The supply teacher was constantly changing so it was our only option

EponasWildDaughter Tue 15-Dec-15 17:27:25

When this happened to dd1 we ended up paying for private math tuition to get her through her exam. The supply teacher was constantly changing so it was our only option


The last two years of DD3s secondary school was a nightmare with regards to wasted lessons in various subjects. I wrote to the school and requested meetings many times regarding the lack of lesson planning and total chaos in all the lessons with supply teachers.

She scraped through her exams with good enough grades, just.

Supermanspants Tue 15-Dec-15 17:37:35

Serious shortage of teachers narionally. Even good and outstanding schools are struggling to recruits a few going overseas to recruit. She must have sacked teachers for a very good reason. A situation that I think is only going to get worse.

hesterton Tue 15-Dec-15 17:39:39

I suspect her good reason may have been to save money.

I wish people would make more fuss about this. Of course it affects your children's outcomes. Please go and complain.

Supermanspants Tue 15-Dec-15 17:40:23

hester I doubt it

U2HasTheEdge Tue 15-Dec-15 17:44:49

That's interesting Super

In the news it said she sacked staff due to being warned by the government about failing grades and the head had recruited new staff for Sept. Well I don't know where they went to!

I didn't know it was a problem for other schools as well.

U2HasTheEdge Tue 15-Dec-15 17:45:14

Well, the school was in financial difficult. Owed a lot of money.

NewLife4Me Tue 15-Dec-15 17:46:27

This happened to both of our ds throughout their secondary education.
With their schools though it wasn't a shortage of teachers, but cost saving.

With a dd fortunate enough to be receiving a private education the difference even for y7 is amazing. No supply teachers, all subject specialist and they are all consistent with the ethos and environment of the school, smt and Governors.

MissMillament Tue 15-Dec-15 17:51:43

Replacing experienced staff at the top of the pay scale with cheap NQTs is an easy way to save money. I'm not saying this is what has happened at your school, because unlike Super I don't have an inside track, but it does happen quite frequently. Perhaps she then found it was more difficult to recruit the hoped for NQTs than she expected.

I would be interested to know why Super is so adamant there must be a good reason though. IME purges of long serving teachers are not a rare course of action when a new head comes on board.

Sparklycat Tue 15-Dec-15 18:08:17

It does sound like she made the sacking due to money maybe, if she is employed supply teachers as 'cover supervisors' you will find that they aren't actually qualified teachers and are paid about 1/3 of a teachers salary.

Mistigri Tue 15-Dec-15 18:14:28

If you look on the TES website it does seem that there is a trend for academies to get rid of experienced (ie expensive) teachers either by bullying them out, or using "capability" procedures. I suspect this is what happened here. Either that or the management is so poor that all the teachers left, either for new jobs elsewhere or for another profession.

Anyone remember the thread on here a month or so ago about teachers leaving?

TheFallenMadonna Tue 15-Dec-15 18:15:51

It is highly unlikely that a school that needs to improve attainment would make teachers redundant in order to replace them with cover supervisors. Cover supervisors covering classes long term are not a way to improve attainment. They are a great way of covering short term absence. Sadly, in many subject areas, both would-be permanent teachers and long term supply teachers are thin on the ground, and good ones even thinner. Supply teachers are also ruinously expensive.

mineofuselessinformation Tue 15-Dec-15 18:17:13

I wonder if you live in East Anglia?
If so, I think I know the school you're talking about....
In any case, the school either has a problem with recruiting new staff, or won't pay the salary needed for qualified teachers.
In your shoes, I'd be talking to other parents about how they feel.
If you can all get together and approach the head (and then the governors) you will hopefully get some answers and should be told what the school intends to do to ensure your children hit their targets.

Mistigri Tue 15-Dec-15 18:26:36

There was a case that hit the headlines recently in or around Bristol where a new academy head got teachers' backs up, many left and others protested publicly ... Parents eventually got the press involved, and the "executive head" was removed ...

strawberryandaflake Tue 15-Dec-15 18:29:22

When teachers don't stay in schools it's usually for one of two reasons. Either the head is a tyrant more interested in ofsted than actual progress, or the children are badly behaved with the sort of 'he wouldn't do that' type parents that are against teachers disciplining as 'he said he didn't do it so he didn't. Kids get cocky and abusive, teachers get depressed. (I've worked in both sorts.) It might be worth just getting copies of the specs for each exam board and running through it as a check list with your child to see what they have covered. Often with supply bits get missed out and it has a follow on effect. Just be aware that teenagers often say they haven't been taught something when they have, they just weren't listening, or didn't spend enough independent time on the actual learning. Use their books to help you as a guide. Supply or not they should be having a full mark every 2-3 weeks depending on the time of year. Xx

lighteningirl Tue 15-Dec-15 18:35:49

happened to my ds in gcse years and a levels but it was maternity leave, same bloody teacher only came back for a matter of weeks and it is near impossible to get good physics teachers on supply. My dd had a string of supply for her science lessons due to repeated use of sick leave, we paid for both of them to have private tuition taught them a lot about self motivation mind.

Supermanspants Tue 15-Dec-15 19:33:18

Miss I agree with your comment re: purging staff.
IME when a new head comes into a poorly performing school they usually have a remit. I obviously don't know enough about the school and previous head so can't comment on whether this is the case here. This can involve sifting out the dead wood of teachers who are not up to scratch. That said, a teacher can't just be sacked unless there is a case of gross misconduct and that will often start with a suspension pending investigations before a teacher is sacked. Equally, going down the competency/capability route can take time and will involve unions. Sometimes a poor teacher will be offered a financial incentive to leave. Perhaps working conditions will be made challenging so that a teacher will jump before being pushed. I would be very surprised if experienced but expensive teachers were encouraged to move on in favour of NQT's to save money. If anything, a poorly performing school needs to hang on to its experienced teachers even if they ARE more expensive. There would need to be a water reason to get rid of a teacher or the school may well find itself in front of an employment tribunal.

Foxyloxy1plus1 Tue 15-Dec-15 19:35:33

There is a serious and national recruitment and retention crisis in teaching, although I expect there will be some places where that doesn't apply.

There are very few experienced teachers any more, because when they reach the top of the pay scale, they are 'managed' out because they are too expensive. NQTs are cheap, but they can't stand the heat in the kitchen and inconsistent support, so often don't last long.

Teachers have an annual appraisal, with targets to meet. Not unusual or unrealistic in itself maybe, but there are increasing numbers who meet you he targets, but don't get the increase- 1%. Then ther are some who have the observations, learning walks, book scrutinies etc, but no official appraisal, so can't get the increment.

Cover supervisors and HLTAs or TAs are cheaper. Supply teachers are cheaper. The idea of having excellent classroom practioners, who are paid an enhanced salary for their expertise is pie in the sky these days.

It's a disaster and academies are the death knell to the h education system we knew.

Tamponlady Tue 15-Dec-15 19:39:09

Ha my friend is having this issue her son is studying construction there are two teachers one was sacked and the other is off on long term sick leave he hasn't had a paratical lesson in 4 weeks this is 80% of his markconfused

They are trying to cox the teacher off the sick instead of just hiring a new teacher my friend has said if they haven't got a plan sorted by the end of half term she will be going to ofsted and DofE

Supermanspants Tue 15-Dec-15 19:42:21

They are trying to cox the teacher off the sick instead of just hiring a new teacher
How on earth do parents of students know about this highly confidential information? hmm

my friend has said if they haven't got a plan sorted by the end of half term she will be going to ofsted and DofE

Not sure what she is expecting them to do.

QueenofLouisiana Tue 15-Dec-15 19:44:14

Massive teacher shortage- crap attitude from government and constant belittling of the profession isn't helping. Teachers who remain are often stretched to breaking point with covering everything left behind by absent staff along with their own jobs.

While we sympathise with the concerns parents have, there is little staff in school can do. We need a national drive to retain staff in schools- everyone from government to parents needs to realise that it simply isn't an appealing job in its current state.

Supermanspants Tue 15-Dec-15 19:44:55

Agree Queen

TheFallenMadonna Tue 15-Dec-15 19:47:06

I would imagine specialist supply construction teachers are as rare as specialist supply physics teachers. You can't just magic one up, however much you might need to.

U2HasTheEdge Tue 15-Dec-15 19:52:50

Yes mineofuselessinformation

I do live in East Anglia.

I have very limited information about it all, all I have been told is that there are staff problems which they are trying to resolve. My children have told me rumours, but that is all they are really. I do know they had to let staff go due to debts as that was in the news, they have had to repay back thousands, something to do with being overpaid grants.

I will go in after Xmas and speak to someone else. I have spoke with two members of staff who admitted they have had lots of supply teachers which has affected behaviour etc but no more details than that.

I thought it was going to be a short term problem but it doesn't look that way now.

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