Reception class teacher absent

(23 Posts)
hwill72 Thu 10-Oct-19 09:38:52

My daughter started reception 5 weeks ago . So far the teacher has been absent for 5 and a half days (including this week tues-thurs continuously) because her children were sick. Now I'm a single mum so have compete sympathy from her parental perspective that her kids take priority, BUT from my perspective this is hardly a great start to the school year, settling in a new bunch of 4 year olds. What really got me this week is on the first day the planned lesson in phonics didn't go ahead, p.e was swapped with yoga on the classroom floor (ok not a biggy but with as a child who revels in letting off excess energy in planned games my daughter was really disappointed), yesterday in maths they were left watching Numberjacks (when I say left the TA was apparently popping in and out of the adjacent nursery Room), and the classroom "train timetable" where the daily timeable of activities is put every day has not been changed since Monday. Today at drop off there weren't even any of the usual activities set up for the children to get started on.

Am I over reacting? I'm concerned that this isn't being well managed and although I have full respect for TA's ultimately they are not fully qualified teachers. Should I be concerned or say something to the school?

OP’s posts: |
viques Thu 10-Oct-19 15:23:06

Depends what you want to say to the school .

If you want to say I understand that your budget has been cut to the bone and that you can't afford to pay for cover, but thank you for making sure that the poorly paid TA who knows the children was able to stretch herself in several directions to ensure some continuity even though she didn't choose to come in early and unpaid to set up starter activities. Then that is fine.

If you want to say my child has missed five days of totally vital education and now won't get her Russell Group place in 13 years time then move on.

Early reception days are about social skills, building relationships with peers and other adults , learning to negotiate the way schools work (we look after equipment, we are kind to each other, we listen to adults , we walk to assembly quietly etc etc). Much more important that the children see a familiar face who knows their names than they have a carpet session doing phonics with an unknown supple teacher.

And, for your information, many TAs are very well qualified, for example I know some with advanced degrees in education who are choosing not to work as teachers for family or other reasons.

viques Thu 10-Oct-19 15:25:27

Supply teacher, though to fold yourself up to sit on reception chairs you do need to be supple .

Jenster03 Thu 10-Oct-19 22:12:37

Yoga is a fantastic PE activity for the children at the start of the year. It's excellent for their physical development. Your daughter will benefit from plenty of outside games through the year. Give it time.
With regards to TAs covering, this is very common I'm afraid due to budget cuts. Then again there are some truly excellent TAs out there, and at the beginning of the reception year especially, the children need the stability of familiar faces and its far less about the actual maths and English they're learning, but the prime areas of personal, social and emotional skills which are far better supported with a familiar adult who knows the children's next steps in these areas. No supply teacher would at this point.

The teacher will be back soon. In the meantime, stop worrying. Is your child happy? I'm not saying you shouldn't be unhappy. It's never great when the teacher is absent, but chances are your daughter is absolutely fine and probably quite unaffected. She'll be accessing alot of play based learning anyway through the day so there'll be plenty of learning going on.


ZeldaPrincessOfHyrule Thu 10-Oct-19 22:20:35

DS's reception teacher got sepsis last year just after he started, she was out for five months. For three of those they got supply cover for the mornings, as that's as far as the budget stretched. He still learned loads, had a lovely experience and the other adults worked their arses off to keep everything as normal as possible but yes, sometimes the timetable wasn't changed or they forgot to move all the kids' names off the self-register 'how are you feeling today?' board thing. They did their absolute best, and it was good enough.

Your DD will be fine. Teachers are humans and they have families that they too put first.

stucknoue Thu 10-Oct-19 22:33:29

It could be that they couldn't get cover too ... my friend is a supply teacher and was being begged yesterday morning to drop what she was doing (having a day out with me) and do cover, there's a shortage of supply teachers too

fartingrainbows Fri 11-Oct-19 19:44:31

I'm intrigued about how you know all this though, my year 2 child can barely remember what he had for lunch so if your Reception age child can reel off details like this then I'd say you're winning at life already grin


BubblesBuddy Fri 11-Oct-19 20:03:59

Most schools buy insurance for long term sick cover so the budget isn’t decimated by huge supply costs.

I think this absence is a bit unreasonable and I think you will see it repeated. I wouldn’t be happy. In these circumstances Heads can teach! Does your DH have a full teaching timetable?

icantfind Fri 11-Oct-19 20:07:28

@fartingrainbows I was thinking the same thing!

Clammyclam Fri 11-Oct-19 20:12:44

I think YABU

The PP who speaks of insurance needs to be aware that this doesn't kick in immediately and budgets are so very tight. Also why will this happen more throughout the year? It could just be something like chicken pox.

Perhaps a supply was on their way but just wasn't there first thing?

You seem to know a great deal more from your 4 year old than I think even my 9 year old would remember.

What would you actually say to the head?

Feenie Fri 11-Oct-19 20:50:36

It kicks in after three days, so wouldn't have been any use in this case.

SallyLovesCheese Fri 11-Oct-19 20:54:08

How do you know so much detail?

IlsaLund Fri 11-Oct-19 21:33:15

Often the insurance doesn't cover the full cost of supply - in the school where I work it covers about 75%

The HT may not have a full teaching timetable themselves, but they won't actually have enough 'spare' time to step in and teach as they actually need to use their non contact time to run the school.

I'm also surprised you know why she has been off as this isn't information the school should be sharing.

ChloeDecker Fri 11-Oct-19 21:49:59

YABU and overreacting. Massively.

Pud2 Sat 12-Oct-19 09:59:04

The insurance wouldn’t cover this absence as it’s not the teacher who is sick, it’s her children. Whilst it is difficult for parents, being absent from school because you child is sick is not a justified reason for absence unless it’s something really serious. Even the, you would be expected to put something in place as you are contracted to be at work and ensure service provision.

Having said all that, it will be fine and a few days absence will not impact your child.

Feenie Sat 12-Oct-19 11:05:18

The insurance wouldn’t cover this absence as it’s not the teacher who is sick, it’s her children.

Not necessarily - depends on your insurance.

crimsonlake Sat 12-Oct-19 11:29:44

Exactly, I would really like to know how you know such detailed information as to what went on during the day???

IsobelRae23 Sat 12-Oct-19 13:13:05

Massively over reacting

nuttybutter Sun 13-Oct-19 18:08:25

YABU and massively overreacting.

It's actually none of your business how each teacher chooses to timetable their class so it's irrelevant that phonics or PE got swapped. There will be hundreds of other times in your child's school life when the teacher changes the timetable around, whether the teacher is off sick or not.

simonisnotme Sun 13-Oct-19 18:20:28

you know what YABU
Doing yoga instead of physical 'pe' doesnt matter, missing a couple of phonics lessons doesnt matter, as many other MNs will spout your child is 4
and should be playing anyway

Questionsmorequestions Sun 13-Oct-19 20:02:08

Would love insurance which kicks in after 3 days ours take 11 days before we get anything back!

SansaSnark Mon 14-Oct-19 21:16:18

What are you hoping to get from the school in this situation? I am sure they know that the situation is not perfect, but they have made the decisions they have made for whatever reason and it is unlikely that you saying something is going to make them change their mind.

I'm surprised that you know why the teacher is off as well!

If you are concerned then maybe talking to the school will reassure you that they have a plan and that things are under control- but equally maybe it won't. So what will you do then?

In schools, things do change all the time e.g. the change from outdoor PE to Yoga may be a weather related decision rather than due to the teacher not being in.

cabbageking Tue 15-Oct-19 17:07:20

Unless the childs problem is serous then the Head will expect the teacher to have something in place for emergencies.

Sometimes you can't get a decent supply teacher and some supply teachers you would not touch.

It is unfortunate but it happens.

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