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Cover assistant replacing teacher long term

(29 Posts)
anotherglass Thu 19-May-16 16:48:33

I have just discovered an unqualified cover assistant has been taking my son's Computing class ( Year 8 ) since the beginning of the year. This arrangement is to remain in place until September, when a qualified teacher is in place.

I only found all this out by accident. There has been no communication
with parents about it.

Cover supervisors are only supposed to replace teachers for short term absences, not three quarters of the year.

This is a serious breach and I am livid!

But the school is an academy. Can they get away with this?

How can I take this further?


noblegiraffe Thu 19-May-16 17:17:29

Academies don't have to hire qualified teachers, there's nothing you can do.

urbanfox1337 Thu 19-May-16 17:22:46

Not sure what you expect the school to do. They can't pull qualified teachers out of the air, do you actually have any facts about how or why this has happened? Given you only just discovered it, it would seem you didn't query the quality of teaching up to now, so perhaps the cover teacher is doing an ok job. Its only Y8 computing not exactly GCSE level.

EvilTwins Thu 19-May-16 17:27:11

Thank Mr Gove and his government.

Not sure why you're livid with the school - they can hire who they want to teach what they want. There's sod all anyone can do about it.

I'm livid too, but I'm one of the poor sods qualified teachers working the job of two, planning and marking work for classes being babysat by unqualified "supervisors" long term because of this exact situation.

Leslieknope45 Thu 19-May-16 17:27:49

We are doing the same at my school for a core subject. No one applied when a member of staff left with little warning. School wouldn't stump up to pay long term supply. It's not ideal at all, and I totally understand your concern but this is the teaching crisis we are in.

JOEYDOESNTSHAREFOOD Thu 19-May-16 17:29:25

I would rather the same cover supervisor than a different teacher every lesson, as would happen with supply. We have a year seven class that have had eleven different teachers since Christmas.

FreshHorizons Thu 19-May-16 17:34:11

This is why we need to fight the government over academies.
They don't have to have a qualified teacher - this arrangement is much cheaper.
Unfortunately the government won't admit that there is a teacher recruitment and retention problem. Quite probably they can't get applications.

anotherglass Thu 19-May-16 17:39:58

Yes I do have facts about what happened. Firstly, it is not a cover 'teacher'. A teacher left suddenly in December so they installed the cover supervisor, rather than hire a supply teacher.

The school has told me this is an unusual situation as they would normally only use a cover supervisor for short-term absences.

They have recruited a qualified teacher to cover the class from September. They prefer to use the cover supervisor for the class until then, rather than hire supply teachers.

I am sympathetic to the recruitment issue but

a) long term use of unqualified staff to cover a teacher would not be allowed in non academy
b) the cover supervisor, who is likely on about £16k a year, is being exploited

Given the situation is very unusual, the minimum the school could have done is tell parents what was going on.

Jimjamjoos Thu 19-May-16 17:41:16

I agree that this is pretty poor, but at least they're not in an examination year and they do have consistency. Maybe the cover supervisor has a degree in this or a related subject. I would imagine they would be university educated.

anotherglass Thu 19-May-16 17:43:30

I'm afraid this is a sign of the times.

Growing concerns over unqualified teachers in Suffolk as recruitment agencies target under-pressure schools


anotherglass Thu 19-May-16 17:45:56

The headteacher has told me that the cover supervisor is hoping to get an ICT qualification - so currently unqualified.

The cover supervisor is probably a very nice man, and doing his best in the job, but kids deserve better and the man is being exploited.

Jimjamjoos Thu 19-May-16 17:47:57

Absolutely. I have worked as a cover supervisor and would not have been happy with this arrangement; for my own sake and the kids'!

noblegiraffe Thu 19-May-16 17:59:07

The situation is far from unusual.

Just don't ask who is teaching your kid maths!

urbanfox1337 Thu 19-May-16 18:01:23

So if you got rid of academies the recruitment crisis would be solved? The problem is the country doesnt have the income to pay for a more expensive education service. The solution is to vote for politicians who promise to put taxes up.

noblegiraffe Thu 19-May-16 19:39:17

There's a severe shortage of computing teachers, they're lucky to have one starting in September.

As for the school telling the parents - like I said, don't ask who is teaching your kid maths.

EvilTwins Thu 19-May-16 20:44:00

OP, don't be under any illusions that this is unusual. It is not. Obviously the HT is not going to say that.

At my school we have had an unqualified supply teacher teaching English, including to a Yr 10 group, for weeks. She's moved on now - got another (not in a school) job. Her title may have been "supply teacher" but the only difference between her and a cover supervisor is the job title. She was unqualified, but was able to sign up with a supply agency because it didn't require staff to be qualified. She would have been on a lower rate of pay than a qualified teacher, but there we go.

catslife Fri 20-May-16 09:53:10

OP even qualified teachers may not have a degree in the subject that they are actually teaching.
The headteacher has told me that the cover supervisor is hoping to get an ICT qualification - so currently unqualified.
Not necessarily unqualified, there are conversion courses for IT teaching for staff to update their skills/gain a qualification if they don't have one. He may have relevant work experience as an IT trainer, but not have worked in a school, for example.

t4gnut Fri 20-May-16 10:17:33

Academies can hire unqualified teachers. No school is obliged to tell you what its staffing arrangements are, will be or the qualifications of its staff. Its responsibility is to provide a good standard of education through whatever means it sees fit.

As above just don't ask who's teaching maths - its probably a PE teacher.

Ladymuck Fri 20-May-16 10:28:38

In South London here. Don't look too closely at what your Chemistry teachers have in way of science qualifications.

gleegeek Fri 20-May-16 10:45:38

Our poor kids. Pressure to achieve is through the roof but it's a lottery as to whether they're actually being taught well enough to succeed.
My dd had a PE teacher for maths last year. She learned very little tbh - at parents evening it was clear he was a PE teacher and not a maths teacher! Fortunately this year she has come on in leaps and bounds. She is being taught by a lady who really struggles to control the class but who clearly knows her stuff! The school are desperately trying to support her with the behaviour issues because they struggle to recruit maths (and science) teachers.
They are destroying our education system and our children are suffering sad

FreshHorizons Fri 20-May-16 20:33:25

The recruitment and retention crisis is because of the workload. Teachers are leaving in droves- whether academies or not.
The problem with academies is that they can use unqualified teachers.

HostaFireandIce Sat 21-May-16 21:09:07

Actually, you can hire unqualified teachers in any school if you can 'prove' that you couldn't get a qualified one to cover the teaching. Of course, nobody asks you to prove it in reality. I know this because I had one working in my department - not qualified, no experience of teaching. We were not an academy.

wannabestressfree Sat 21-May-16 21:27:48

I think it's funny you think he would be on 16K......more like 11k at ours.

Zodlebud Sun 22-May-16 11:35:40

Just to throw this out there - one of the best teachers my daughter ever had was unqualified in terms of a piece of paper. She had, however, taught creative writing, blogging and script writing at summer camp for three summers, worked as a resident pastoral assistant in a top boarding school for a year and spent a further year teaching at a school in Kenya. She KNEW what she was doing and was very well supported by the school. Plus the kids loved her. She went on to do a PGCE but until that point only had her English degree to her name.

I know not all cover assistants would have the same level of experience but some people are very able to teach without a qualification.

If the stand in has no experience of working with children or the subject then that is a very different situation.

We should also acknowledge that there are some shocking teachers out there who are qualified.

If people are great teachers then they shouldn't be judged purely on a few letters after their name. I just worry that this area is not properly policed and we have people with no teaching experience or qualifications!!!!

mumsneedwine Sun 22-May-16 12:12:20

A lot of cover supervisors are graduates, and some are qualified teachers (who don't want the hassle of paperwork and planning). I have worked with some amazing unqualified teachers and so I'd wait and see before complaining, as this person may be amazing. And the alternative might be no consistent teacher at all. Recruitment is dire and finding staff a nightmare at even the best schools. A crisis is coming and parents are starting to see what teachers have seem coming for a few years.

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