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sending in lesson plans when off sick or other, special, leave?

(112 Posts)
overthemill Wed 25-Sep-13 09:44:55

just a quick poll really. My school expects staff to send in lesson plans /cover when sick. Has to be by 7.30 am. So when I'm really ill (which I have to be to phone in) I also have to provide a lesson and send it in? Obviously I have lesson plans at school but not necessarily at home. So I have to get up early and think something up. If it's planned leave that's ok (eg hospital apt) but when unwell? It's also an expectation for other leave, eg if off unpaid when own kids are ill.

Is this normal and is it reasonable? My sister's school doesn't expect this btw.

SilverApples Wed 25-Sep-13 09:51:25

It's the normal expectation round here, all detailed planning for the week available in electronic form by Mon am first thing, before 8am.
Not just my school, all the local schools.

PractialJoke Wed 25-Sep-13 10:07:15

But surely lesson plans are done long before 7:30 on the day of the lesson. You just need to store them where others can access.

SilverApples Wed 25-Sep-13 10:22:49

I plan at the weekend, based on the previous week's planning and outcomes.
If I'm off on Monday, I'd email them to school. Any other day and the plans have been uploaded to the server and are available in printed format in my planning file.

overthemill Wed 25-Sep-13 12:21:49

we don't have the same protocols for lesson plans in my school. We have to store our lesson plans by the end of the week (ie after we have taught them)

although we have something electronic it isn't accessible by me from my home and school says is the cover teacher (who may be a supply with no log ins) can't search the database for teacher's lesson plans so we have to send in each lesson for each class each day so the admin person can print them off. It cannot include any handouts or resources or IWB (which would be available on the database if they looked).

So I have to remember what has to be taught, adapt it to not use any resources and type it up for each lesson. It genuinely takes me a long time to do this. I don't have the same software at home as at school so cannot store stuff on memory stick to look at at home. It happens that this is the first term I am teaching these PoS at this school and I don't have last year's stored anywhere.

I just wondered really what every one else has to do. I have been off since last week and I am on unpaid leave so although it affects me at this moment am thinking about the principle - don't have my contract to hand

Kayakinggirl86 Wed 25-Sep-13 21:09:35

My last school you had to send your cover in that morning, cover work was emailed to cover supervisors who picked it up in the morning. It had to be text book based- no photo copying or iwb allowed. Almost impossible to do when you were not allowed to take text books home.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 25-Sep-13 21:14:20

I am secondary, and we do not have saved lesson plans or anything like that.

Our policy states that where possible, the absent teacher should send in cover work on the standard proforma by email. If the teacher is unable to do so, the head of department is responsible for setting the cover work.

Almost all staff send in their cover work, fortunately.

SuffolkNWhat Wed 25-Sep-13 21:30:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TheFallenMadonna Wed 25-Sep-13 22:16:28

We have lesson plans with our SoL, but they are not suitable for cover. Actually, we do have loads of cover lesson plans on our intranet, because we had a serious staff shortage for about 5 months last year, and we were writing over 60 cover lessons a week. So if anyone is off after Christmas we are sorted...!
The strain of those 5 months is the reason I am so very glad that most teachers write their own cover lessons and send them in early in the morning!

bamboostalks Wed 25-Sep-13 22:19:02

Why aren't you receiving paid sick leave?

clam Wed 25-Sep-13 23:48:38

I would have thought that if you're too ill to attend school, then you're too ill to faff around at 7 in the morning organising cover lessons. I think that's the management team's role.

Although the flip side to making a stand about this is that the HT might decide to insist all lesson plans are on the system at the beginning of the week, as opposed to the end. Would you be prepared for that to happen?

overthemill Thu 26-Sep-13 09:45:29

I don't get paid sick leave because I have used up all my entitlement. I am new to schools (come from Adult Ed) and have only 2 year's reckonable service. Unfortunately, I have had cancer and used up all my paid leave (50 days full and 50 days half pay). I am back at work but unwell (not cancer related but possibly because I am not fully 'well' iyswim). It's just one of those things and I am not complaining about not getting paid because I understand the rules.

But, in principle, if a teacher is sick, should they have to struggle to send in lesson plans?

overthemill Thu 26-Sep-13 09:46:52

And my school have been fantastically amazing to me and I have no complaints about that at all. Just this principle!

SilverApples Thu 26-Sep-13 09:55:45

The primary focus in school should be what benefits the children, and that their needs are put first. They need continuity and for every day to be stuffed with relevant and significant learning opportunities.
I teach primary, so I know my class very well.
So sending in plans you have written. tailored to the children and with awareness of what they already have to build on is a better deal for them than having a random supply come in and do something as a filler in most cases.
The fact that so many schools seem disorganised is something the SLT should be looking at. For example, we have a login and password that all supply are given that enables them to logon to any computer and gain restricted access to the server, the resources and the shared planning.
Weekly plans are uploaded by 8am Monday, printed off and put in a planning file in class. You use them and annotate them throughout the week, and you retain the paper copies and use the annotations to formulate the next week's planning.
Supply would have access to the electronic plans, any resources you linked to the plans and to the class planning file.
I think as part of the job, you should expect your class to have access to high-quality and relevant teaching at all times, and the planning is a key part of that.

overthemill Thu 26-Sep-13 11:58:53

silverapples how could i disagree? but my lesson plans are written by me for the week ahead and uploaded at end of week as per protocol (though often ahead of that in fact). BUT my school doesn't allow supply/cover teachers to use those lesson plans - they have to supervise classes only, no active teaching. So I have to think up something different from home, when ill, without access to my previously written lesson plans. Because my technology at home is incompatible. Seems daft to me, potentially unreasonable. And after 8 days sickness, surely HoD should be dealing with it?

clam Thu 26-Sep-13 16:31:44

If the children are to come first when their teacher is ill then it is the senior team's role to sort it out, not someone who is sick. If they weren't too ill to work, then they'd be coming in to teach!
So I agree, it's ridiculous for the class teacher to plan one-off fillers (or even related activities) for a cover teacher to give. It's always hard to teach to someone else's plans anyway.

TheFallenMadonna Thu 26-Sep-13 18:07:27

When I was HOD, I dealt with cover work for long term sick leave and indeed that was the situation that led to the 60+ cover lessons a week. It is really hard to plan for progression in cover work, and also to assess it and give feedback, in subjects where it's well nigh impossible to get a specialist supply teacher.

ilove Thu 26-Sep-13 18:12:46

Speaking as a cover supervisor, there is no way EVER that we can get away with just sitting and supervising - that's somewhere in dreamland! When I'm in school there is never, ever a lesson that I'm not actively teaching - which is one hell of a challenge when I'm not QTS! I'd love to just sit and supervise written work!

IHeartKingThistle Thu 26-Sep-13 18:20:23

Yep, that's been the expectation in all schools I've worked in. Last year DD was really poorly and I had to rush her down to the doctor first thing. It was my morning off (I was part-time) and I wasn't due in until 11.50. I emailed my HOD full cover work as soon as I got DD back from the Docs (at maybe 10am) and I got very short shrift from her. All she had to do was print the email and stick it on my desk.

The lesson I have learned from that is NEVER work in a Department where you are the only one with children!

BrianButterfield Thu 26-Sep-13 18:26:29

We have to send in cover but it doesn't have to be in any specific format or a full lesson plan.

Also, I'd find it impossible to write a full week's planning in advance: I have three lessons a week with my classes and I don't know at what speed they'll progress or, for example, whether we'll manage to read the number of pages I planned to read. Planning should be dynamic and student-centred and you need to adapt every lesson.

Phineyj Thu 26-Sep-13 18:28:17

We have an online system (secondary) so can write lesson plans on there - we are expected to do that if we are ill or can't get in (weather etc), but it can be as simple as some reading from the textbook and the cover supervisor will, well, supervise. Year 13s don't get cover.

I am a bit hmm by the tales of incompatible technology and not having textbooks at home. When I entered teaching I assumed it was my responsibility to get compatible software at home (although we only use bog standard Microsoft stuff) and also to provide my own copies of textbooks if there weren't enough for me to take one home from school. I see this as saving ME hassle and make sure I keep all the receipts and set them against tax!

I do think your school are being unreasonable for a prolonged absence, but for a day or so I wouldn't think so.

Why don't you contact your union to get some advice?

Hope you feel better soon.

overthemill Fri 27-Sep-13 08:08:48

Phineyj thanks! I've actually resigned now and feel so relieved, I know that I am not 100% and just can't face the thought of all this hassle again and again each time I succumb to a virus going around the school (and there are always lots in this age group).

The issue I feel is not that I should or shouldn't keep copies of textbooks at home or pay for expensive software myself - surely it's about how the school supports staff and students? My students are a huge range of ages and abilities and I teach 18 formal lessons a week to kids from 1C (and below tbh) to 7A. I also have to factor in differentiation for each lesson for each student in one SEN class and 3 mixed ability classes which I can't adequately do cobbling lessons together from home and I am ill ffs! Shouldn't someone else be dealing with it?

ilove I sympathise, but last year when I had to plan to go off for chemo I prepared the rest of the term's lessons totally in line with school policies, differentiated for each student including my SEN class. One day I nipped in at lunch time to pick up some stuff I had left by mistake and met the cover person who was loading up a video of the book the class was studying. I asked 'ooh didn't you get my plan for this week?' and she said, 'oh it's really hard I think to explain this book so I thought they'd like to watch the film instead'. All my careful planning, all my progression, all those LOs...

ColdFusion Sat 28-Sep-13 09:47:20

I expect all staff to send in cover work when they are off sick. I can't expect cover teachers to create a lesson plan and deliver it in their own planning/marking time.

It's a good idea to have a ring binder with emergency cover work in it in your room, so that you can just refer to that if you are unable to set something relevant to the current SOW.

If a teacher has to be off to care for sick children, that leave is meant to be unpaid.

clam Sat 28-Sep-13 10:01:14

Surely if you're off sick, you're OFF. SICK.
If I am vomiting into the toilet bowl, or sweating with a temperature of 102+, then I am not about to be firing up the laptop at 7am in order to reel off some plans for someone else who is being paid to cover my class for the day.
If the school feels strongly about this, then they need to plan ahead and organise easily accessible cover planning folders that can be used in such emergencies.

Arisbottle Sat 28-Sep-13 10:07:01

I think that if you are ill enough to stay home you are often too ill to be writing lesson plans . Departments should have " sick" lessons for every scheme of work or a line manager should take care of it.

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