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Not being given the resources to do my job - union issue?

(4 Posts)
theduchessstill Fri 10-Nov-17 09:33:31

I am HoD in a core subject - newly appointed as Hod, but been at the school a looong time. I was acting HoD last year but appointed officially last month.

There have been severe staffing issues in the department for a couple of years now and it's just getting worse and worse. A colleague retired 2 years ago and wasn't replace as it 'only left us 6 hours short'. It didn't, because that was doing the maths in a way that would have meant teachers teaching 2 classes at the same time. In reality we were about a class short on each year group. Hence lots of split classes and non-specialist teachers in KS3 and even some KS4 classes.

The situation has slowly got worse due to mat leave not being covered as 'she was only part time anyway' and another teacher being promoted to a management role with hours taken on her and put onto unqualified cover teachers. Things have got so bad that my second is leaving in January and there is no replacement. We will try and get someone for Easter start, and another NQT for next year but that will also leave us short and basically writes off this year.

Colleague on mat leave has just told me she's not coming back straight away after Christmas as planned (I don't blame her for a minute) but I had been relying on her to cover some of my second's timetable, but that now won't work.

Remaining staff are stretched and tired and there is just no capacity to put on the 'bespoke interventions' the head wants to improve results. I have been told I am 'lucky results for 2017 were so low' as I can show lots of improvement, but how can I in this environment? (I actually don't think our department's results were that bad, but it is being masked imo as the head seems to want to scapegoat our department. I just don't see why he won't staff us when we are a crucial department.

It's getting to the point where I can't see a way forward and am even vaguely thinking of going off with stress - never would if not genuine, but it seems so hopeless now. How can I keep a track on all these random people teaching my subject when it's a huge department and chronically understaffed. I am absolutely dreading coming back after Xmas without my lovely second as will be on my own with it all. What can I do? Is there anyone, as teachers, we can complain to when we know schools are being badly run?

BubblesBuddy Fri 10-Nov-17 15:06:59

Sounds miserable and I feel sorry for your students. They are suffering the most aren’t they? State your real position to SLT more forcefully. Speak to the staff Governor. You have just accepted the job so you need to fight your corner for your students immediately. You must have had some idea of the modus operandi before you took the job. If you don’t make a strong case for what you need, or cannot do it, I don’t think you should have taken on the responsibility. Rather than stay at home with stress, which leaves the children in an even worse position, get in there and fight. If you can’t, look for another job in a better run school with more money ( which is clearly the root of the problem).

dinahmorris Fri 10-Nov-17 15:35:32

In all honesty I think you need to let go a bit. If the department doesn't have enough teachers, and you have told (and have evidence of telling) slt then there is simply no more you can do. It is crap for the current students, but hiring decisions are primarily the responsibility of slt - you just have to try your best with what you have.

The problem with teaching and stress is that (IME) teachers (including myself) often get worked up worrying about the children when it is someone else's responsibility and worrying won't help. As much as we like the kids, some things (such as hiring enough staff) are outside of the control of classroom teachers and HoDs.

One thing you can do with so many random staff is insist that everyone updates a spreadsheet for where they are up to with each class. In my old school we had the course overviews for GCSE stuck up on the wall and we crossed stuff off as it was completed. That made it really easy for the HoD to keep track of where we were all up to with very little extra workload for classroom teachers.

Finally, bubbles, I'm not sure it is the students suffering the most in the situation describes. The OP sounds very stressed and can see herself ending up unable to work due to mental health problems caused by her employer. I'd say she is very much the one suffering the most here.

dinahmorris Fri 10-Nov-17 15:36:41

And finally, if it is an LA school complain to them, otherwise it is governors, who generally support the head.

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