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Question for teachers about workload in "difficult"; school

(7 Posts)
saadia Wed 29-Jun-11 19:54:22

I am an NQT applying for my first post and went to visit a school which has a Reception vacancy. The school has not had good Ofsted reports and is trying to improve. The HT really laboured the point that she was telling all potential applicants about the extremely heavy workload.

I just wondered if there were any teachers who worked in a similar sort of school - lots of EAL, need to improve results, - and could explain what the workload involved. I would imagine that the core is still assessing, planning and teaching. Thank you

Snowy27 Wed 29-Jun-11 20:51:31

I work in a school very much like this one and in Reception as well! The first thing I would say is- try to forget what OFSTED say- how did you feel about the school when you went to visit? How did the staff seem?

In terms of workload- as an NQT you will get extra support anyway and if the school is working hard you may get even more support- on the otehr hand everyone might be so busy working on things you might get forgotten! When I started at my school I was an NQT, it was hard hard work, lots of hours, occasional feeling like I'd made a massive mistake but- I got thrown in at the deep end and allowed to 'have a go' at things far more then other 'better' schools may have allowed.

Yes the core is still the same- it's all the 'extras' that will wear you down- more SEN, slower progress so you have to work harder to make the same progress as other schools and all the social problems you will be asked to help with- I've had two serious domestic violence cases this week!

Overall I'd say- if it seems like a happy, cheerful and supportive team go for it! If not stay away- because in this sort of situation people either work together and support one annother- in which case there's no better place to work because you can make such a huge difference, or the staff may end up pulling each other apart under the strain,

Hope this helps!

Littlefish Wed 29-Jun-11 20:54:18

I worked for 2 years in an extremely challenging school. I wouldn't say that my working day was that much longer than in other places I've worked. however, I've always worked long days ie. 7.30 - 6 .00 generally. There was a huge amount of paper work re. Behaviour plans, pastoral support plans, IEPs, intervention assessment and planning etc on a daily basis sometimes. Assessments/APP/pupil tracking was also done more rigorously than other places I've worked in. In other schools I was a subject/year group co-ordinator but not at the challenging school, so I suppose that the time I used to spend on my co-ordinator role was used for more paperwork at the challenging school.

I don't know if that helps at all.

lulaloop Wed 29-Jun-11 21:04:16

When I applied for jobs the schools I also looked around some schools where the head really emphasised the workload.

When I asked people on my PGCE placements about these schools they said that the heads had extremely exacting standards and expected an awful lot from their staff and so the workload was unusually high in these schools. I took a job in a school in challenging circumstances and the workload is massive and I cannot imagine working somewhere where the head gave us extra on top of that iywkim.

On the other hand the head may just be being realistic, because there is a huge amount of work involved in teaching, particularly in your NQT year.

I would ask for opinions on this school (subtly of course, just say I am thinking of applying for x and see what people say - with both the schools I mention above eyebrows were raised immediately) and go from there.

Best of luck in getting a job!

saadia Wed 29-Jun-11 22:46:53

Thank you so much everyone, it really helps to hear about your experiences. I popped in after school today so only met the HT and Foundation head they both talked about getting a buzz from the challenge. The application also mentions that the applicant would be expected to run extra-curricular activities. They also said that they had opted out of the LEA NQT process so that may also become an issue in terms of higher expectations.

Littlefish Thu 30-Jun-11 09:47:01

Saadia - just a quick note - the school cannot "expect" any teachers to run extra-curriculr activities. They are entirely voluntary. Any union would take an extremely dim view of a school which does this.

Also, before you apply, make sure you are absolutely clear what their NQT Prof Dev. opportunities are. I'm sure there are legal requirements regarding monitoring/observations/reporting on progress against professional standards. Just make sure that these are still being followed, and that it is simply the LEA courses etc. that are being opted out of, and that you are happy with what's being offered as an alternative.

The school I worked at where I was the NQT mentor, didn't give NQTs a blanket half day per week. Instead, we had a carefully thought through programme of training involving observing colleagues, visiting other schools, planning alongside more experienced colleagues etc, as well as additional LEA courses in any areas which fed into the School Improvement Plan, or supported the NQTs development in any areas of weakness.

saadia Thu 30-Jun-11 18:39:09

thanks Littlefish, will definitely try to clarify everything as much as possible

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