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(130 Posts)
cabbage67 Fri 19-May-17 22:58:06

My eldest son is in year 8 at secondary school. The school seems to have an awful lot of supply teachers, who seem to just "babysit" rather than interact or teach. For instance his supply teacher for his French lesson didn't speak French. Is this the norm? He tells me that most supply teachers just tell the class to look through their books for the lesson.

Also his class was meant to have a science test today, but not enough pupils had revised so the teacher said he'd give them another week to revise. I don't agree with this and I would have made them take the test regardless. Is he soft or AIBU?

I'd love your comments as I don't have anything to compare it with or have much experience with secondary school

Thank you

needsahalo Fri 19-May-17 23:02:23

This is the state of our schools. Or many of them. MFL teachers in short supply somthe chances of getting one on supply are very small. Teachers so bound by data, perhaps the teacher feels he can't risk a test failing en made.

You want better? It's going to get a lot worse if we return a Tory government in June.

Maggy74653 Fri 19-May-17 23:16:21

Unless they are long term supply they are unlikely to be subject specialist teachers. The staff just aren't out there to fill the positions most of the time.

The test thing surprises me. I'm a secondary school teacher and I wouldn't do this unless the kids hadn't known about the test for some reason (for example half the class away on a trip etc.)

leccybill Fri 19-May-17 23:20:15

Lots of secondary schools these days will try to save money by only paying cover supervisor rate which is ~£60 a day, so qualified and good supply teachers won't work in those schools.
You don't need any qualifications to be a cover supervisor.

BackforGood Fri 19-May-17 23:30:08

Agree that most cover in secondary schools is now provided by 'cover supervisors' who just babysit. They are not qualified teachers let alone subject specialists.
Is it normal ? Yes.
Is it good enough? No.

DailyMailReadersAreThick Fri 19-May-17 23:52:33

Your expectations are reasonable but the school probably can't meet them rather than don't want to meet them, at least where the supply teachers are concerned.

As for the test, it depends. Maybe the teacher weighed it up and thought it was better to be 'soft' in this instance than have the kids discouraged by all getting poor marks. I wouldn't judge him as a teacher unless there was a pattern of letting the kids walk all over him.

SnapAttack Sat 20-May-17 00:03:21

It's hard to recruit decent teachers who can/want to stick it out under how things are at the moment

The education system is in a sorry state

SnapAttack Sat 20-May-17 00:06:44

And yes if you want better.. don't vote Tory

HearTheThunderRoar Sat 20-May-17 01:10:14

I'm not in the UK and we've had similar, DD had the same supply teacher for both economics and geography hmm where the 'teacher' just sat on her laptop, all the kids were on their phones and she didn't give a jot according to DD.

I've go no issue with the teacher being sick but DD's geography teacher was away for nearly a week (ill) and it didn't occur to the school, to you know, get an actual Geography teacher to cover hmm

Trifleorbust Sat 20-May-17 06:20:24

Normal, sadly. Recruitment crisis. Read through comments on here about teachers to find out why. I would stay in education forever if it weren't for the entitled attitudes of about 10% of the parents.

cricketballs Sat 20-May-17 06:26:30

was away for nearly a week (ill) and it didn't occur to the school, to you know, get an actual Geography teacher to cover

Because the school
a) doesn't have psychic powers to know how long the teacher will be off unless they have been officially signed off work
b) doesn't have magic powers to conjure up a subject specialist immediately
c) can not afford it

sashh Sat 20-May-17 06:39:01

was away for nearly a week (ill) and it didn't occur to the school, to you know, get an actual Geography teacher to cover

OK lets suppose you are a head teacher. For some reason you have a long term supply teacher, lets say you managed to get an MFL supply to cover Spanish lessons and then you had a geography teacher phone in sick at 7.30 am do you ...

a) try to get another supply teacher in at great cost?

b) Look at the supply MFL teacher's timetable and give them Geography to teach?

Trifleorbust Sat 20-May-17 06:39:01

We have a long-term supply teacher covering lessons in my subject at the moment. I don't want to say much as it could be outing but confused

There is no guarantee of quality in the supply market whatsoever. With subject specialists, there is usually a reason they do not have a permanent job.

SavoyCabbage Sat 20-May-17 06:39:18

I'm a supply teacher in Primary and the schools are grateful if you turn up. My agency are always trying to send me to places I wouldn't be any good at and pretty much always phone me on the days I have said I can't work as there is so much work.

user76895432 Sat 20-May-17 06:39:23

was away for nearly a week (ill) and it didn't occur to the school, to you know, get an actual Geography teacher to cover

School budgets have been slashed. Supply teachers are hugely expensive. Most schools can no longer afford them. Do you seriously think it's because they couldn't be bothered?

Outbackshack Sat 20-May-17 06:41:37

Spot on cricketballs. Another thing to remember is the allocation of supply and specialist supply. GCSE and exam classes will always take priority over a year 8 lesson especially at this time of year.

BertrandRussell Sat 20-May-17 06:43:05

I suppose it depends what the test was for. If it was to make sure they knew the topic so they could move on it's not much point doing it if half the class don't- so better to leave it for a week than do it and have to do it again.
And do people really think all these subject teachers are just hanging around waiting to fill in while Mr Smith recovers from his stomach bug?

brasty Sat 20-May-17 06:48:48

Who would want to do cover supervisor for £60 a day?

PaleAzureofSummer Sat 20-May-17 07:02:12

The poster who wrote about the Geography teacher that three people have quoted said she isn't in the UK, so it won't necessarily be the same situation as here.

cricketballs Sat 20-May-17 07:04:14

Exactly brasty the pay is ridiculous - there is no way I would put myself through it for that little.
When we can recruit cover supervisors (open vacancies - ad is never taken down), they don't tend to stay long, those that stay longer than a month use it as experience to get on teacher training so these aren't long term either

Radishal Sat 20-May-17 07:14:14

Am I naive to do MFL with my dd as a sort of competition on Duolingo (when she can be arsed). I am a language grad (no longer use much in my job) and it pisses me off that MFL isn't given enough attention at school. I remember going the the school 's open evening and there was some basic French misspelled on the display.

ilovesooty Sat 20-May-17 07:18:00

I'm glad parents are waking up to the recruitment and retention of teachers. It's taken long enough. This situation has been building for years.

thisagain Sat 20-May-17 07:18:50

My yr 10 DD had a supply teacher for geography the other day. He made them do a test on a subject they hadn't yet finished covering. They tried to tell him but he insisted on doing it anyway because it had been set.

Trifleorbust Sat 20-May-17 07:20:34


Well, he has to do the set work, really. Cover teachers don't plan lessons.

SaltyMyDear Sat 20-May-17 07:26:20

The school puts everything they can into Y11. And next best into Y10. And neglect Y7-9. Which is why they have to put so much effort into Y10-11.......

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