Talk

Advanced search

Reception staffing - should I be concerned?

(27 Posts)
JollyHolidayWithMary Mon 08-Oct-18 20:24:38

My DD just started reception last month. We were told that she would be taught by one teacher three days a week and the headteacher two days a week, with a nursery nurse supporting the teachers five days a week. We’ve now been told, however, that the headteacher will no longer be teaching the class - on the two days she used to teach, the class will be taught by a teacher (who used to work for the school) in the mornings and she will be focussing on PE. In the afternoons of those two days, they will be taught by the nursery nurse and a teaching assistant.

I’m concerned that the class are not going to have a teacher at all times, but I don’t know whether this is normal in other schools? Are there any guidelines about staffing that schools have to follow? The school are saying that it is fine and normal, but then I wonder why they didn’t make this arrangement in the first place if not having a teacher at all times really doesn’t matter?

OP’s posts: |
BringOnTheScience Mon 08-Oct-18 20:39:46

Sadly normal. Bloody annoying, but normal. Many TAs covering PPA time in other classes too.

Worth asking what the nursery 'nurse' qualifications are. ETFS covers nursery & reception year so they may well be qualified.

BringOnTheScience Mon 08-Oct-18 20:40:07

EYFS !

PavlovaFaith Mon 08-Oct-18 20:40:19

Our PPA time in reception is covered with a similar arrangement. The free flow style of early years means that children are not being "taught" in the traditional way you might imagine so a teacher doesn't need to be there at all times. They just need to plan/assess/manage staff etc:

JollyHolidayWithMary Mon 08-Oct-18 21:11:57

Thank you for the replies. I’ve just googled PPA time and I’m not sure that’s what is being covered because my understanding is that the teacher only works three days a week, so surely her PPA time would be during those three days? But if it’s ok to have that amount of time (two afternoons) without a teacher, then I don’t suppose it really matters?

I’m not sure about the nursery nurse’s qualifications - I’ve got no idea how to ask about this either without appearing rude!

OP’s posts: |
Cantchooseaname Mon 08-Oct-18 21:35:48

If it’s an academy there is no requirement for them to have a person holding qts at all. So long as head believes they are appropriate for role, anyone could do it.
It’s really shit, but a sad fact of life.

JollyHolidayWithMary Mon 08-Oct-18 22:16:11

Gosh that’s unbelievable shock luckily it’s not an academy. Is there a legal requirement for local authority schools about how much class time should be supervised by a teacher?

OP’s posts: |
TruelyTruelyScrumptious Mon 08-Oct-18 22:21:19

If it’s an academy there is no requirement for them to have a person holding qts at all. So long as head believes they are appropriate for role, anyone could do it.It’s really shit, but a sad fact of life.

That isn't true, the eyes statutory framework says

Reception classes in maintained schools and academies are subject to infant class size legislation.43 The School Admissions (Infant Class Size) Regulations 2012 limit the size of infant classes to 30 pupils per school teacher44 (subject to permitted exceptions) while an ordinary teaching session is conducted. ‘School teachers’ do not include teaching assistants, higher level teaching assistants or other support staff.

TruelyTruelyScrumptious Mon 08-Oct-18 22:23:39

The link is here:

assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/596629/EYFS_STATUTORY_FRAMEWORK_2017.pdf

They are not following the EYFS statutory guidance, why not ask the Head how they are complying with section 3.38 of the guidance.

TruelyTruelyScrumptious Mon 08-Oct-18 22:27:33

Consequently, in an ordinary teaching session, a school must employ sufficient school teachers to enable it to teach its infant classes in groups of no more than 30 per school teacher

This is they key part. They must have a QTS employed for each of the 10 teaching sessions. From your explanation they only have them employed for 8, if that is accurate then they are breaking the law.

JollyHolidayWithMary Mon 08-Oct-18 22:58:23

Thank you very much for that, this is the kind of thing I’m wondering about. You’re right that they have a teacher for eight out of ten sessions per week. I’ve just had a look at that document and it reads to me like it’s saying that teachers should not have classes of more than 30 rather than saying that there should always be a teacher present. I suppose the key thing is the definition of an ‘ordinary teaching session’ - do all sessions have to be ‘ordinary’ sessions or can schools say that they are providing e.g. eight ‘ordinary’ sessions and two extraordinary sessions per week?

OP’s posts: |
Norestformrz Mon 08-Oct-18 23:10:46

*"*^*If it’s an academy there is no requirement for them to have a person holding qts at all.*^ *"* There is in Reception even in academies and independent schools.p (school admission regulations 2012). A HLTA can cover for PPA time which would be 10% of the teacher's teaching time so roughly 1.5 hours for the teacher who works three days and and 30 minutes for the teacher who works two mornings ...not two afternoons.

TruelyTruelyScrumptious Tue 09-Oct-18 10:01:30

No, they have to have a teacher employed and allocated for 10 sessions, they can then cover 10% of these teachers time during PPA, so maximum 1 session in most schools. But here they do not have a teacher employed for 2 session, so they are clearly in default of the EYFS statutory guidance and the infant class size legislation.

An ordinary teaching session in primaries is a registration session and there are 10 in a week (am and pm each day)

Just drop an email and ask how the current arrangements are meeting this requirement.

UserName31456789 Tue 09-Oct-18 10:38:41

I think this is fairly normal. I would be concerned with consistency (and I would hope the nursery teacher is the same throughout the week) and ratios - I would want two members of staff with them through out the week. In reception most of the academic stuff usually is covered through half the day (usually the morning) then the afternoon involves playing and less structured activities. I'd also say that the teaching assistants can be amazing. My children both had an incredibly experienced TA in reception who was just amazing with the kids so I definitely wouldn't underestimate the value of staff who aren't trained teachers.

TruelyTruelyScrumptious Tue 09-Oct-18 13:19:53

In reception most of the academic stuff usually is covered through half the day (usually the morning) then the afternoon involves playing and less structured activities.

That is simply not true. The EYFS is an integrated curriculum.

UserName31456789 Tue 09-Oct-18 13:24:10

TruelyTruelyScrumptious

It's certainly be the case that the more formal learning in both my DC's school and DN's school happened in the morning. The afternoon was always less structured. My Sister sent her eldest part time for the first year and was advised by the schools she looked round (quite a few) that she should make sure it's the morning DN attends as otherwise he'd miss phonics and writing. I'm sure the afternoon activities were associated with the curriculum but they weren't formal in my DC's school.

Roomba Tue 09-Oct-18 13:27:15

My son was taught by a higher level TA for an entire term last year. It was very much done by stealth as technically he had a qualified teacher who would be 'popping in all the time' and was nominally in charge - in reality she was on secondment in another county for the term. We were told it was until half term, then it was extended and at no point were we ever informed explicitly that the person covering wasn't actually a qualified teacher. She actually did a great job, but I doubt they paid her a teacher's salary hmm

I imagine if the nursery nurse is just covering and there is still a teacher 'responsible', they may think they can get away with this without anyone asking questions.

JollyHolidayWithMary Tue 09-Oct-18 18:07:23

Thank you for all of the replies, it seems like I do need to raise this with the school. Roomba that’s shocking, I wonder whether DS’s school is going to say similar i.e. that the teacher is in charge even when she’s not there. I guess that’s still not meeting the guidelines that you’ve all made me aware of though?

OP’s posts: |
admission Tue 09-Oct-18 18:18:53

The get-out will be that the headteacher is supervising the two sessions covered by school teachers and will have deemed that the nursery nurse and TA are competent to carry out the work defined by the head teacher.Whether any is defined is of course a mute point.

strawberryalarmclock Tue 09-Oct-18 18:31:53

I'm a eyfs nursery nurse working in a state primary school. I always cover ppa and in theory should then have a ta from elsewhere in the school to help me out (sadly not always possible!)
I'm more than capable of covering the class, my teacher herself would say I'm way more competent than her, and the two of us are very much a team.
School nursery nurses generally work longer hours than other support staff and are involved in all planning, assessment etc so should have no trouble providing good quality, regular cover.
In your shoes I'd be a little concerned about whats going on when its ppa time. Very optimistic of school to think that a head can do two full days of cover!

TruelyTruelyScrumptious Tue 09-Oct-18 19:10:44

The get-out will be that the headteacher is supervising the two sessions covered by school teachers and will have deemed that the nursery nurse and TA are competent to carry out the work defined by the head teacher.Whether any is defined is of course a mute point.

That isn't really a get out for EYFS. They would need to prove that they were unable to recruit a QTS teacher (which is highly unlikely).

TruelyTruelyScrumptious Tue 09-Oct-18 19:11:09

Sorry not even recruit- just employ.

JollyHolidayWithMary Tue 09-Oct-18 19:28:50

So it would be acceptable only if the school could not employ a teacher? Would financial hardship be a valid reason for not being able to employ a teacher? This was the reason given for the new arrangement in the letter we received.

Strawberry, whose ppa time would you be concerned about? Sorry for all the questions, it will help me to have my facts straight when I speak to the school.

OP’s posts: |
strawberryalarmclock Tue 09-Oct-18 19:38:49

We do home visits, so each child meets their new teacher & nursery nurse prior to starting. We explain at the visit that one of my roles is to cover the teacher when she's away from the class. It sounds as though your school was maybe unprepared for the new year, maybe there are staffing issues elsewhere in school? Is the teacher part time or away from class for 2 days and full time? That seems excessive if so, for example my previous teacher was a full time nqt, so she had a full days ppa, teachers with lead roles would also get a full day but I've never encountered 2 days of ppa!

JollyHolidayWithMary Tue 09-Oct-18 19:46:58

Oh I see - the first teacher is part-time three days a week and the other that’s been added in is part-time just two mornings a week, leaving two afternoons without a teacher. I suppose ppa time will be within those working hours for those two teachers, with the nursery nurse covering for them.

OP’s posts: |

Join the discussion

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.

Join Mumsnet

Already have a Mumsnet account? Log in