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Teacher furlough on 80% large independent school - advice needed

(27 Posts)
Davespecifico Fri 17-Apr-20 17:09:53

I’m a teacher in a large independent secondary school. I’ve been told today I’ll be furloughed on 80% of my earnings. They’re not topping up.
I haven’t yet had my official letter so don’t yet know if I’ll also be losing our school allowance (extra allowance per year for doing extra curricular activities).
Is furloughing done in consulation or are you just furloughed?
Is there anything anyone recommends I clarify with the school.
I haven’t had time to bring home anything I own from school and my school email is used for a lot of school related things e.g. organisations I belong to, I presume I will have no access to my school email from Monday.
In your experience, if you have it, are independent schools topping up?

OP’s posts: |
byfleetpuddles Fri 17-Apr-20 18:01:57

You should still have access to your email, but you can't work but could be told to do some training. It should be 80% of your normal salary so it will include the allowance. I very much doubt you will get a top up. Two reasons. Think of your colleagues still working hard if you get paid the same for doing nothing that won't sit well. They need to cut costs to offer school fee discounts and maybe boost their bursary pot.

MrsSpenserGregson Fri 17-Apr-20 18:05:18

My DH's independent school is topping up to 100% - which of course means that the school is only actually paying 20% and the taxpayer is footing the bill for the rest ....

And yes, it is breeding a certain amount of resentment that some staff are working - including providing childcare for children of key workers over the holidays - while others are off on full pay and not allowed to work at all.

trinity0097 Fri 17-Apr-20 18:46:07

Weird, are they not doing online teaching for the pupils?

We have furloughed non essential at this time support staff, e.g, gap students, TAs, assistant caretaker etc... but all teachers will be teaching.

cabbageking Fri 17-Apr-20 20:12:30

Your wages are in the budget.
They could easily furlough you and pay the 20% and still be quids in.
Have a discussion with them and ask they pay you the 20%. Ask them why you were identified. Ask for any minutes of discussions with Governors or trustees about the process and what the criterion was.
Ask them to clarify any pension contributions are maintained at the 100% rate.

bookgirl1982 Fri 17-Apr-20 20:32:54

We're topping up but only support staff are being furloughed.

Is your 80% below the £2,500 cap? Or are the school topping up to 80% if you see what I mean?

Furlough can only be done by agreement and it's worth speaking to your union if you haven't already.

MissTheodore Fri 17-Apr-20 21:19:17

Who’s going to teach your remote lessons?

Davespecifico Fri 17-Apr-20 23:36:01

Thanks for advice. I am the teacher in the SEND department. The TAs will pick up the slack and teach the lessons I was planning and teaching. I had the lions share of lessons before this decision.

OP’s posts: |
Mumto2two Fri 17-Apr-20 23:42:28

Our prep school is furloughing some staff, mainly SEN, sports, drama etc., and I have teacher friends in other independent schools who have also been furloughed. Some are topping up, but some are not.

Davespecifico Fri 17-Apr-20 23:49:25

Does anyone have a recommendation for the best union for independent school teachers?

OP’s posts: |
bookgirl1982 Sat 18-Apr-20 06:36:12

ATL (now NEU) always used to have the biggest independent membership. Do you have reps in school?

StrawberryBlondeStar Sat 18-Apr-20 06:46:36

@cabbageking the problem is they may be in the budget, but if parents are not paying fees/schools have had to offer a big discount, there literally may be not enough in the pot.

My children are in the independent sector and the number of people demanding discounts, but also online teaching has surprised me. What is even more sad is a lot of them are in full time employment so have suffered no loss.

StrawberryBlondeStar Sat 18-Apr-20 06:49:32

I was on another thread where a poster was praising a letter written by a parent (and signed by many) that had “carefully” gone through the school accounts and why they should give a 50 per cent discount. I had no reply when I pointed out how could someone not involved in the day to say working of the school say what can be cut, who can be furloughed?

sneeuw Sat 18-Apr-20 06:53:30

Did I read correctly that TAs will be teaching lessons you've planned/prepared?!

ChateauMyself Sat 18-Apr-20 07:00:18

Apologies, a slight rant...

As a parent whose DS has a SpLD and hfASD, I’m disappointed that schools are furloughing, thereby stopping SEND provision.

This to me highlights the lack of importance the school places on this resource.

With a reduced timetable (I presume there are the sports/activities times now idle) this would be an ideal time to put into place extra support lessons. Especially given most senior timetables are so rammed full, this is a missed opportunity.

kazzer2867 Sat 18-Apr-20 07:26:45

@Davespecifico. In terms of union membership. If you are not already a member of a union and are thinking of joining now, most unions will only offer basic advise until you are a member for a specific period of time. The union that I am a member of has clear guidelines on pre-existing issues and if you join in the knowledge that something has happened to you, or will happen to you, even after the qualifying period has expired they will only offer you one half-hour advice session. This is to deter people dipping in and out of membership.

You could also contact ACAS on 0300 123 1100 or for free employment advice.

Mumto2two Sat 18-Apr-20 09:18:32

The parents who have complained the most at our school, are still working, or are either on ex-pat packages, or funded by Granny & Grandad! We did think it odd...we appreciate the service is somewhat different, and with reduced income, we ourselves are really concerned about our next terms fees; however we also appreciate the difficulties the school are facing right now. It’s bizarre how riled the people who have not had their income affected or have their fees paid, were incensed at the school’s suggestion of paying full fee if they possibly was like a red rag to a field of raging bulls confused

StrawberryBlondeStar Sat 18-Apr-20 09:26:31

@Mumto2two agreed. One Mum told me it was not her problem if the school went under and the staff were made redundant. Her family would just go to another independent school and get a discount as they would be “desperate for pupils”. Again not her problem if the majority of the families at the school would not be able to afford any alternatives in the area.

EmpressoftheMundane Sat 18-Apr-20 09:58:48

I have children in private school. I am furloughed myself. I don't know if I will even have a job next year. Please don't assume all parents with children at private schools are in a great financial position and therefore can shield the schools completely from this financial crash. Many work themselves or own businesses. Things will be very tight.

Many private schools may close in the next 12 to 24 months. It may be a case of taking a measure of pain now to safeguard your job in the future.

Davespecifico Sat 18-Apr-20 10:02:51

Thanks for further replies and for union advice kazzer2867.

OP’s posts: |
Davespecifico Sat 18-Apr-20 10:04:39

Sneeuw - no, not any more, although they had been. They will be planning and delivering the lessons now, although they may only need to provide and mark work. They probably won’t be required to ‘zoom’.

OP’s posts: |
theclangersbigplan Sat 18-Apr-20 10:58:25

No advice, just to say there is a section for teachers (The Staffroom), where you may get more responses from those with experience on that side.
Also I'm not sure whether you saw the post about the salary being over the 2,500 cap, but maybe that's relevant?

GolfForBrains Sat 18-Apr-20 16:51:29

The JRS doesn't change employment law - you need to have consented to the change to your contract. Is there a clause in either your contract of employment or a collective agreement covering you which entitles them to do this? (It may be referred to as a layoff clause.) I would expect the letter you get will ask you to sign and confirm you agree (not least because it is far from clear what evidence is needed to claim the JRS grant as government keeps changing the guidance). So, you could say no. But if you do, there is a risk that their next step will be to start a dismissal process. How long have you worked there? If two years or more, then you could technically bring a claim for unfair dismissal if dismissed (or resign now and claim constructive unfair dismissal) but your losses will be limited even if you win, the school will argue because you could have been earning the 80%.

Alternatively, without resigning, you could say you do not agree and will be bringing a claim for unlawful deductions from your wages...

SeasonFinale Mon 20-Apr-20 11:37:37

GolfforBrains - I can only assume you do not know the rules regarding furloughing!

NellyBarney Mon 20-Apr-20 20:36:47

I am pretty sure you have to sign an agreement in order to be furloughed. We asked our staff to do so - but we also were transparent that if they don't do so they won't have a job soon as we won't make it (my business is not a school though). Friend of mine is registrar at a big indy boarding school and they top up with extra 10% voluntarily. At my dd school teachers who got furloughed for their school lessons are free to offer extra curricular activities via zoom and get paid directly by parents, e.g. our furloughed music teacher gives my dd instrumental lessons that we pay him directly for. I heard Speach and drama lady will do the same. Don't think that'll work for swimming or horse riding or polo in lockdown though.

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