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What's the impact on endless teacher absence/supply?

(30 Posts)
rainydays2017 Wed 08-Feb-17 18:09:12

Year 1 class and teacher has had 3 x longish absences of 1.5-3 weeks and around 7 or 8 absences of 1-2 days since September.

There are supply teachers, sometimes singular days, sometimes for a week or so. Sometimes other senior teachers take the class plus static TAs and student teachers in the mix.

While it's unavoidable that people get sick, it's feeling a bit unmanageable if it continues like this to the end of the year. Child is tearful going in with the extended absences and things have been missed like rewards overlooked or forgotten about. School is good and very apologetic but I guess there's not much they can do really.

If you have experience of this, is there a long term impact on the year or is it ok if a bit frustrating as kids are resilient and used to multiple teachers anyway??


junebirthdaygirl Wed 08-Feb-17 18:35:26

It is annoying and the class often get giddy and not the easiest of classes for a while. But Inn my experience the school usually pick a good experienced teacher the following years to make sure class get opportunity to catch up. So longterm it evens out.

Jayfee Wed 08-Feb-17 18:38:07

why does the teacher keep being absent?

BeingATwatItsABingThing Wed 08-Feb-17 18:54:59

It's not ideal but there isn't much the school can do about it. Getting a consistent supply isn't always possible. Not when you don't know how long the teacher will be off for.

My class has 3 teachers. Me mostly but 2 PPA covers because they switch half way through. They just get on with it.

rainydays2017 Wed 08-Feb-17 18:57:15

Thanks. No idea why teacher is absent. None of our business I guess. It's just really frustrating - more so that there isn't really anything that can be done to improve the situation.

Wheredidallthejaffacakesgo Wed 08-Feb-17 19:10:34

There's nothing you can do about it. Many public and private sector organisations have absence management policies which are verging on the punitive. Teachers can be signed off for months at a time, come back for a little while and then go off again. Classes experience massive disruption when it happens and governors and headteachers have few options at their disposal.

Jayfee Wed 08-Feb-17 19:26:28

I just wondered whether it was stress. But you are right. The school wouldn't tell you. As a teacher, I think excessive teacher absence can impact learning..obviously. Perhaps you could talk to other parents and the parent governor.

Jayfee Wed 08-Feb-17 19:28:46

If is stress, the teacher might need some more support either in class or from the management team.

Trifleorbust Wed 08-Feb-17 19:28:52

It must be frustrating but you can't do anything about it. Long term illness is common in education because of the stress. There can be many other reasons as well.

rainydays2017 Wed 08-Feb-17 19:51:48

Thanks all.

Do teachers have sanctions for sickness absence in the same way as most other employers? In my job I'd be on a written warning or worse by now with that much sickness but I don't know if my company if just quite strict!

Luckily dd is learning generally and happy mostly. When the teacher is there it's great but when she's not everything falls apart and she gets really unsettled.

Trifleorbust Wed 08-Feb-17 19:58:27

Do teachers have sanctions for sickness absence in the same way as most other employers? In my job I'd be on a written warning or worse by now with that much sickness but I don't know if my company if just quite strict

Yes, of course. Long term sickness will eventually mean an OH referral.

LaserShark Wed 08-Feb-17 20:10:34

Yes, teachers have sickness sanctions as well. I had hyperemesis twice though and was off frequently throughout two pregnancies in a similar pattern to what you describe and pregnancy-related illness is treated differently. There really wasn't anything I could do about it and I'd much rather have been well and in work.

pieceofpurplesky Wed 08-Feb-17 20:14:59

Yes of course teachers get sanctions. In my county three absences or one absence over three weeks results in OH and county involvement. You are then put on an attendance plan. After six months of illness there is no pay.

HelenDenver Wed 08-Feb-17 20:19:01

IME, yes, it affects learning. You may need to support your child a bit if that's the case.

Doesn't mean there's anything else the school can do (though perhaps the deputy head, if one, could help cover the class if that might provide more consistency?)

Trifleorbust Wed 08-Feb-17 20:20:19

The Deputy Head will have a teaching timetable - only Head doesn't teach in most schools.

HelenDenver Wed 08-Feb-17 20:29:14

Thanks trifle. I think that's what happened in my kid's school, but perhaps some other teaching got juggled so the deputy head could cover.

TheEmojiFormerlyKnownAsPrince Wed 08-Feb-17 20:37:22

I think perhaps people need to be aware that schools are full of germs! That is why staff often get ill. We always have to have a return to work interview after any absence at my school.

Trifleorbust Wed 08-Feb-17 20:42:35

We have return to work interviews too - excessive following one absence imo.

bojorojo Thu 09-Feb-17 00:07:35

Where I am a governor of a 280 nor school DH does not have a class. She covers for training absences, meetings for Sendco and sickness. Plus lots of other things. A p/t teaching DH would give consistency if they could do p/t in this class
as well.

I do think the school should look at getting the same supply cover. Lots of schools have 'known' and trusted teachers that come to them - often previous teachers at the school.

Yes, changing teachers all the time is a big problem. Repeated shortish times off are usually not stress. That is often weeks and weeks and weeks. It could be a recurring illness though. It could be that assessing progress is not up to date and is snyone actually checking that everything is being taught? Next teacher will be very cross if progress has dropped off a cliff and they have to teach the previous year's curriculum to bridge the gaps. -
Also bright children get bored if not stretched. Often supply teachers are oblivious to the needs of the bright ones.

Campfiresmoke Thu 09-Feb-17 00:21:34

It happened to my youngest. He wasn't bothered or affected at all and quite liked having the variety. I don't think my oldest 2 would have like it though.
Trouble is teachers are very hard to find. It's a tough job.

rainydays2017 Thu 09-Feb-17 06:57:00

Things are getting overlook in these absence periods - letters aren't coming home or notes sent in aren't getting read (we work full time so never there and it's teachers preferred communication method). Reading in class stops, books don't change, rewards stops for the various things they can get rewarded for (I imagine because supply teachers don't know all the systems in place). The TAs do what they can but look run ragged. When the teacher is there is runs perfectly.

I saw first hand at an open class event the more capable kids were bored and overlooked as the supply teacher didn't know their names/abilities to acknowledge their achievements and stretch them etc. it was just single middle of the road activities for all.

Unavoidable but a bit sad really.

Trifleorbust Thu 09-Feb-17 10:26:28

Sounds like your kids have a great teacher who, when she is able, will have a very positive impact on them.

QuiteQuietly Thu 09-Feb-17 13:51:33

DD2 is without a proper teacher for the third year in a row. As teaching becomes less attractive as a career, I suppose gets harder to recruit people who are going to stick it out for a whole year. Our current school struggles to recruit permanent and temporary (ie maternity leave/long term sick cover) staff and once a class is in behavioural freefall, they become less attractive to a supply teacher who might otherwise be tempted to stay on for the rest of the year. If you have more than one class in a school with long term staffing issues, then it's insufficient to have one Deputy Head covering for consistancy. It's rubbish, but I would imagine the Headteacher (if you have one!) is already aware of the issue so complaining isn't going to fix anything. It sadly appears that the council discharges its duty by providing your child with a school space and complaining if you use it less than 95% of the time. It cares little whether anything approaching an education happens while your child is there. Not that I'm bitter or fed up or anything like that.

user1484226561 Thu 09-Feb-17 23:58:49

There is a 40% shortfall of teachers in some areas......

bojorojo Fri 10-Feb-17 15:10:32

I agree a Deputy Head cannot teach full time if they are non teaching but can certainly do the mornings! School management frequently does not see interruptions in teaching as a major problem - it is. 3 years in a row is unacceptable but school staffing is down to each individual school: the SLT and the Governors. Primary teaching is still a reasonably paid job for graduates in cheaper housing areas. You can still buy a house on the starting salary of two teachers with a reasonable multiple of salary for the mortgage.

The better teachers can pick and choose and they don't choose poorly run schools. Schools get a poor reputation and NQTs won't touch them either. Why would they? If Heads do not sort out staff management and work-life balance, they get problems. It does not happen everywhere, so there must be a reason why some schools suffer more than most.

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