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Is this normal practice when there is no supply teacher available?

(25 Posts)
idril Thu 12-Nov-15 18:54:14

Today my Year 5 boy came home and told me that their teacher was absent this afternoon (for Diwali so it was a planned absence) but because there was no supply teacher available the class were split into groups of 3 and were sent to other classes around the school to do the set work.

I'm not that bothered about that, but what I am bothered about is that they had to sit on the floor for 1.5 hours solid whilst they did the set work.

So not only did they not have a teacher, they also didn't even have a chair to sit on or a table to write on. One of the bits of work was to write something out in their best handwriting the other was some kind of reading comprehension.

The class teacher of the class they were in was teaching their own class something different. I guess they could have asked if there was a problem but there wasn't any direct interaction with the class teacher and the children from my son's class.

Am I being precious or is this a bit rubbish?

TheTroubleWithAngels Thu 12-Nov-15 18:57:12

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

temporarilyjerry Thu 12-Nov-15 18:59:57

When I taught in London twenty years ago, this was the norm in my school. I haven't come across it more recently. I agree it is a bit rubbish.

MisForMumNotMaid Thu 12-Nov-15 19:02:45

Its a bit bad especially as it was a known absence not a sudden illness.

As a one off its probablynot worth making much of an issue, drop into converstaion or write on a parent questionnaire at parents evening.

If its happening more than one day every half term i'd take issue by writting or specifically going in.

KittyandTeal Thu 12-Nov-15 19:06:13

We used to do it at my old school. We all had to prepare a differentiated work book of activities. Each class was divided into 5 groups and if a teacher was off each group went to an assigned year group.

For us it was because our children were so challenging we couldn't get supply teachers to come to our school so we gave up!
I'm pretty sure they were all given table space and a chair though (although it would have been squashed)

OSETmum Thu 12-Nov-15 19:46:35

No I've never seen this happen in any of the schools I've worked in.

IoraRua Thu 12-Nov-15 19:56:47

Never seen it happen (well, classes being split, yeah. Sitting on the floor, no.).

I can see why it happens though, I have taught in tiny rooms where we are all squished in and would not have been able to fit more tables into the room.
The problem lies with school funding.

IoraRua Thu 12-Nov-15 19:59:09

In general though, if kids are split up and come to my room I dont have too much interaction with them, they have independent work packs with them and I get on with my teaching. Of course they check in if there's a problem and I keep an eye, but that part of it sounded normal to me.

idril Thu 12-Nov-15 20:00:13

Hmm, interesting.

It is the first time it's happened so I don't think it's a huge problem. My son was really gutted because instead of ICT he had to write and the classroom he was in was another year 5 class who were doing the planned ICT lesson (which was a programming a game in scratch which he loves). It could have been worse though because another group had to do their work in the hall whilst another year group were watching a film!

I'd have rather they all watched a film actually. At least they could have had a chair to sit on. I can't imagine that the work they did was of much value.

annatha Thu 12-Nov-15 20:04:21

I've seen it happen with an unplanned absence but the school would've known about this for ages. Why couldn't they move tables into the hall for the afternoon or something or take them into the other rooms at lunch so the kids had tables and chairs? If it was my class with extra kids I'd have organised a round robin style afternoon (perhaps based on Diwali) so all kids had a small amount of carpet time and most of the time on a table.

idril Thu 12-Nov-15 20:05:42

It's not really the independent work that bothers me. It's the way it was done.

My son and lots of his friends complained that it was like a punishment being made to write whilst other children were doing fun stuff. And not even having a chair to sit on whilst doing it!

I also am confused about why a TA couldnt have supervised them in their own classroom. Surely this would have been better or are TAs not allowed to have sole respondibility?

idril Thu 12-Nov-15 20:07:53

I agree annatha. I am going to ask about it tomorrow and find out the circumstances. I thought maybe the supply teacher hadnt turned up but apparently the own teacher told them what was happening before lunch as she left.

LibrariesGaveUsP0wer Thu 12-Nov-15 20:09:20

I would be annoyed about this for a planned absence. Acceptable in an emergency

mrz Thu 12-Nov-15 20:10:14

Not at all normal for a planned absence classes might be split in an emergency for a short time until cover organised

IoraRua Thu 12-Nov-15 20:11:47

And if they couldn't get cover mrz?

In my school TAs cannot independently supervise classes.

IoraRua Thu 12-Nov-15 20:14:10

Having said that - if I was the principal I'd have moved the desks into the hall and supervised myself.

Considering that the teacher left at lunchtime, I know that in our system a sub could not be paid unless a teacher was absent. That may have been another part of the issue?

TheTroubleWithAngels Thu 12-Nov-15 20:17:55

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

mrz Thu 12-Nov-15 20:22:49

I can't envision a planned absence where cover wouldn't be organised well in advance in an emergency my head teacher would cover the class himself.

TheTroubleWithAngels Thu 12-Nov-15 20:24:59

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

BackforGood Fri 13-Nov-15 00:45:50

Like others have said, you can see that it's happened as a 'no alternative' thing, and - if there isn't room in the classes for extra tables, then there isn't room - you can't just create a larger room. Of course it's not ideal, but - maybe the supply teacher was booked then was ill on the day, and the HT was not in school that afternoon, or maybe any number of reasons why the best laid plans went wrong and they did the best they could.
As long as it was a 'one off' rather than a regular thing, I'd let it go.

mrz Fri 13-Nov-15 06:29:19

If it was a planned absence the head would ensure he wasn't out of the school if no one else was available. Children's education is number one priority.

merrymouse Fri 13-Nov-15 06:38:16

I can see your point - they were set work, but they weren't given a suitable space in which to do it, given the nature of the work.

However, presumably if your son is in year 5 and this is the first time this has happened it is a one off.

nicp123 Sat 14-Nov-15 21:28:14

Bad management or trying to save money at the expense of children's education. Hope is only a one off.

MrsKCastle Sun 15-Nov-15 12:29:28

It's normal in some schools, or at least common enough not to be commented on.

I also know of a school where the children sit on the floor for most lessons- there are only about 6 chairs in each classroom. Although I guess that's a bit different as the room is set up for it, with beanbags, cushions, clipboards etc.

crispytruffle Sun 15-Nov-15 20:26:12

I would be asking questions. The school will always try to get away with these things if no one ever questions them. I am sure teachers think children don't speak to their parents about their day at school!

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