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Phasing out part time teaching?

(47 Posts)
Nonie241419 Thu 17-Apr-14 07:50:30

I currently teach part time, in a job share. My job share partner is retiring in summer and my school have advertised for a full time, permanent teacher to replace her. This will push me out of my own class (without any consultation) - I'm assuming for cover although no one at school will confirm that. The Head said it was part of 'streamlining staff and reducing part timers'. For context, we had two classes with job share teachers, now it will only be one.
I've been looking for work nearer to home, but in five years of looking, I've only seen one permanent part time post, and a couple of temporary ones. Is everywhere phasing out part timers? I'm a good teacher, but I wouldn't be if I was teaching full time and having to look after my three DC. I know my limitations. I feel like I'm being squeezed out of my profession.

KittyandTeal Thu 17-Apr-14 08:11:28

I know that when we went into local authority category (due to sats results) they were very interested and not happy with the job share in year 6. As it was they couldn't tell the difference between the marking and planning of the 2 job shares so they couldn't complain too much.

I'm part time and I know next year I will be doing cover (which I want) as they're becoming less and less keen on part time job shares with class responsibility.

Nonie241419 Thu 17-Apr-14 08:18:47

That's interesting KittyandTeal. I wish management would actually talk to me about my role, instead of making veiled references to what it might be. I know there are advantages to cover, I just suspect it will be in Year 6 and the upcoming cohort are VERY challenging. It's a bit daunting to be facing them instead of my lovely Year 3s.

phlebasconsidered Thu 17-Apr-14 16:35:32

In my school all part time staff have been basically bullied into going and replaced with nqt's. All rhose returning from maternity with pt requests have been refused. I am desperate for a pt post as I simply haven't seen my kids since going ft but there are none. I have handed in notice and am going to supply. Soon, everyone teaching will be under 30 with no kids.

Goblinchild Thu 17-Apr-14 16:54:04

Several of the schools that I taught ft in were unhappy with more than one job share per key stage (All 2 form entry) Partly wanting one person responsible for a class, partly parental pressure to not jobshare.
I'm not sure what the legal obligations are to staff returning from ML, but you are certainly going to feel the prssure to fit with The Plan.
Whatever that truly is.

TheLateMrsLizCromwell Thu 17-Apr-14 20:17:54

In secondary I have seen jobshares and part-time working that were cobbled together for the convenience of the sharers and ended up with bonkers timetabling for the kids, and INSET days on key issues where one part of the jobshare was absent, and so missed out on vital stuff. How do you manage INSETS and training?

duvet Thu 17-Apr-14 21:29:57

Yes they're unkeen on pt where i work too, was doing PPA maternity cover on job share terms. The post was to be advertised when the person wasnt returning so we asked if we could continue to jobshare seemed to be working well, but no request denied :-( so am back to doing supply as I just couldnt cope with teaching ft and family life even tho there in school ft, just cant do late night prep etc. So looking to other options now....

CoolCadbury Thu 17-Apr-14 22:51:37

Part time jobs are like gold dust, aren't they? My life was made hell by the head when I was p/t so I left to do supply. I miss not having the security and associated benefits, but I have been extremely lucky with doing supply jobs. I have been looking for p/t jobs but hardly any about and the competition is fierce. sad

Matilda03 Fri 18-Apr-14 09:42:14

We got a new head at my school and all tas had to commit to full time or were asked to leave. Think they may be doing the same with part time teachers soon as well.

breatheslowly Fri 18-Apr-14 10:02:12

From the perspective of a parent, that is really sad. I can see some significant advantages to my child having job sharing class teachers.

TheLateMrsLizCromwell Fri 18-Apr-14 13:45:25

breathslowly what are the advantages to the child??

breatheslowly Fri 18-Apr-14 14:58:04

Teachers may have different strengths - so can split the teaching of those things accordingly (e.g. music, art, science).

2 personalities - so your child might not have gelled well with one single class teacher, but you have twice the chance with two.

Continuity - if one teacher leaves/goes on maternity leave/sick leave, there is still some continuity. You would be unlucky to have this happen with both of the teachers at the same time.

Full time teaching is very hard work - with two teachers you are likely to have better rested, less stressed teachers.

Obviously there may be disadvantages too and the advantages depend on the individual teachers.

Lemonsole Fri 18-Apr-14 20:38:07

...and it's good for children to see that teachers can also be parents. A job share opens their eyes to the reality that teachers have lives outside school. Of course, every DC just knows that their teacher sleeps in the cupboard each night.

As a pt teacher myself (in a 6th form) I'm keen for my DC's primary school to reflect as many working styles and patterns as there are teachers teaching them. The sooner that they grasp that there is no one "normal", the better the chances of achieving less discrimination by the time they start work.

clam Fri 18-Apr-14 20:50:48

My experience has been the opposite - there are loads of part-timers in my school. I suppose it might be easier for the HT in terms of logistics if everyone was full-time, but actually I think she recognises that we're some of her best teachers, and we're performing well, due in part to a healthy work-life balance.
If one's ill, there's only half the week to cover, for example!

Nonie241419 Sat 19-Apr-14 08:33:04

Apart from Clam's experience, it's sad and scary that everyone else's tallies with mine. I can't give up to go on supply as we rely on my predictable salary.
breatheslowly - that's exactly what I feel my colleague and I bring to our class. We complement each other well, and split subjects according to our strengths. Our communication is excellent so we can both deal with situations as they arise, rather than having to leave things for the other to deal with.
Between us, we have subject responsibility for four subjects, which is far more than any of our full time colleagues. How can we not be valuable?!
Re the INSET, we've always been told we only have to do pro rated days, but my colleague (who lives locally to the school and whose children are grown up) always does all of them. I do as many as I can get childcare for above the two I'm contracted to do. This year, I've done 2 out of 3 so far, all on days I'm not paid for, so I did them for no payment and had to pay out for childcare.

tumbletumble Sat 19-Apr-14 08:46:12

I think this is the trend in many professions and is not confined to teaching. When I had DC1 8 years ago there were lots of options for part time work, but now it is much harder. I assume it's because of the economy - the balance of power is with managers rather than employees, and most managers prefer to avoid the extra admin of part time employees. It's a shame IMO that the workplace in general is becoming less flexible.

TheGruffalo2 Sat 19-Apr-14 09:23:10

As a parent and ex-HT I can see both sides. It can work really well, or can be a real problem depending on many factors such as teachers involved, % of staff that are part time, size of school and flexibility of all staff.

My current large school has more job-share teachers than fulltime teachers and it does cause problems for us. Our issue is that we have many UPS3 part time teachers across the school, but because they are part time they refuse to take on much in the way of additional responsibilities. "I can't be maths coordinator, I'm only part time", "I can't run the eco-schools project I'm only in two days a week", "I'm only in three days a week, so I won't run a club", etc. So everything falls to the few fulltime teachers. This equals a huge additional burden for us, many of whom are also working parents and on lower salaries. Classroom teaching and sharing the basic planning and teaching is fine (for most of them!), but the whole school stuff is what is putting off our HT from maintaining any job-shares that have naturally ended, or in introducing more. The UPS issue cripples us financially from giving TLRs for other people to undertake these roles, and as the UPS is not for middle management type responsibilities the unionist say we can't insist the part time staff take on these responsibilities.

The flexibility (or lack of) of our part time staff to cover for absence or change their days is not a bonus for us or the children, as the vast majority can't or don't want to work on their non-contracted days.

Part time staff only attend staff meetings on a pro rata system and if the meeting is on their working days, so we have to have a complicated timetable of staff meetings rotating around three different days of the week, which impacts the after school clubs we can run. Parents want, for example, the gymnastic club on the same day every week rather than a rotating programme or alternate weeks that fits in with our staff meeting timetable. The attending teacher should take notes and feed back staff meeting outcomes to their jobshare, but this is always a subjective feedback and issues get missed, causing problems especially in important policy changes or training to use new systems.
Also, I've been looking at the PPA timetable; this is a logistical nightmare with so many part-time teachers.

Teachers can request flexible working hours, but they cannot demand them as the headteacher and governors have a right to weigh up whether it is in the best interests of the school and the children. They have to consider the request, so it always worth putting it in writing.

TheLateMrsLizCromwell Sat 19-Apr-14 09:57:29

Gruffalo You do put very clearly and succinctly the issues I have observed in secondary schools I have worked in. In one school, hopefully a rare and extreme case, the whole of one department was part-time (apart from the NQT) and including the HoD. As mothers of primary children themselves, they had no flexibility in days and often had to take time off for their DC illness, sports day/concerts etc on their scheduled days. This meant that the NQT had no consistent support and left after one term, there were no residential trips, and the timetable 'bunched' classes which meant that all the language lessons for a class had to happen on the two consecutive days that teacher was in. Year 11 pupils with urgent queries had to wait until the days the teacher was in (they did not return emails on their non-working days). They were nominally co-tutors of tutor groups, but the bulk of the work rested on the other (full-time) co-tutor. Needless to say, this arrangement resulted in great resentment from other departments, and the poor results from MFL prompted an enquiry into the chaotic situation that ensued.
Clearly this is only one example, but needless to say, the governing body of that school is now poorly disposed to agreeing to job shares, which affects those who would and could make them work well.sad

Nonie241419 Sat 19-Apr-14 13:21:19

I can see that the situations Gruffalo mentions are unfair to full timers. We do move the staff meeting, it's on Tuesdays for the first half of the year, and Thursdays the rest of the year. However, at our school, 3 out of the 4 part timers are regularly available for cover, we all do clubs (netball, choir, craft and ICT topic) and we coordinate History, Geography, Art, DT, Music, P.E. Healthy Schools and Special Needs between the four of us (we equate to two full time teachers plus half a day SENCO).
My class did their annual production a couple of weeks ago, and I went in on 3 days unpaid for the last few rehearsals, plus both my colleague and I did the evening performance. For a single form entry school, I think we more than pull our weight and it's very hard to hear that we are a 'problem' to be removed :-(

Goblinchild Sat 19-Apr-14 13:33:49

Nonie, you aren't a problem because you are pulling your weight, but the situation Gruffalo describes is a problem.
Refusing to run a club or co-ordinate a subject because you are PT is not an issue I've ever come across in a primary school. One jobshare were literacy co-ordinator, and everyone ran a club, either on their own or jointly with another member of staff.

TheRealYellowWiggle Sat 19-Apr-14 19:41:49

I would think legally any HT who claimed to be "phasing out part/-time teaching" would be on very shaky ground.
OP have you consulted your union about your particular situation?

Nonie241419 Sat 19-Apr-14 20:00:33

I emailed my union last Monday but haven't heard back from them yet.

TheGruffalo2 Sat 19-Apr-14 21:16:13

It would be good to get a firm decision on where you will be in September, classwise, but that may not be possible yet Nonie.

I know lots of changes are in the pipeline at my school, but our HT doesn't want to make any firm decisions or make it public to staff until after the May resignation date. That is because any new appointments will have an impact on who of the existing staff goes where. Lots of frustrated staff, but I suppose I can see her point of view.

One thing I do know is that I am having a big move to a more "varied" role. There was no negotiation involved and during our discussion I did say I was disappointed to be leaving my current year group as I had already started preparing new curriculum ideas, but was reminded that I am employed by the school and rather than having any say in where in the school (and to thank my stars it wasn't nursery!)

I expect your school will say something similar Nonie, and will justify that you do have a job and are needed in that new role. It is something we did last time a jobshare partner retired and we moved the remaining "half" to PPA and SENCo release. I know it is frustrating to not have your own class, if that is what you want, but it is still a very important role and I sure there are upsides to it. Our PPA / SENCo / Management cover teachers have very little paperwork or report writing and no parents evenings! Which, after the work I've been doing this holiday I'm rather tempted.

Goblinchild Sun 20-Apr-14 07:58:51

It's always been made clear to me and other staff that we are employed by the school, that our wishes will be listened to but the school will place us wherever they see fit in order to meet the needs of the school.
Sometimes you don't get what you want.

Swansinflight Sun 20-Apr-14 08:21:29

I am a parent governor and we have quite a few part timers but we do have a 'not more than one job share per key stage' policy (1.5 form entry). Don't quite get it myself.

Both my kids are in job shares this year and I have no issue with it. In fact in my reception child's case her main teacher was off on maternity, they got a lovely woman to cover who DD adored - when teacher wanted to come back part time they managed to negotiate a job share between the two. DD very happy and far more continuity than if they'd insisted on a full timer.

DS has ASD type difficulties and massive behavioural challenges and is thriving in a job share class, so if he can anyone can!

Yes I have seen job shares not working well, but I have heard the odd rumour that full time class teachers can sometimes be unsatisfactory to parents.

I can see and agree that flexibility over staff meetings, training days, extra responsibilities etc is of the essence but surely that isn't unachievable for most? Most of our staff are very flexible and more than pull their weight, and the Head reciprocates by being rather more generous than some about time off for family matters, emergencies etc. consequently we have pretty good staff retention and some great teachers smile

Also as a pp said - this is real life. I benefit hugely from part time working and I think my profession benefits from having me still in it. Would be a bit odd not to extend the same courtesy to my kids teachers.

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