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Please talk to me about cover supervisor roles

(11 Posts)
Potterwolfie Fri 29-Jan-16 16:33:51

I've wanted to work in education for many years, but a combination of other career, young family and living overseas means it hasn't been possible to pursue before now.

I have a degree and postgrad, worked in the media for years, run my own freelance business and volunteered regularly in primary schools for around 8 years now.

I'm really interested in secondary cover supervisor roles and wondered how it works in reality, with unqualified staff in charge of a classroom; are they generally supported by teachers and the SLT? Is training given or do most people volunteer first and learn that way?

If you're a cover supervisor, what do you love about your job and what do you dislike?


CremeEggThief Fri 29-Jan-16 19:17:59

I don't have any personal experience, but see the thread from a Cover Supervisor on this forum.

GinandJag Fri 29-Jan-16 19:22:43

There are better ways to make a living.

stressedcoversupervisor Sat 30-Jan-16 10:01:57

Hi Potter

I'm currently working as cover supervisor. I got my degree, then MRes and worked a bit in industry too before looking at teaching. I had three weeks experience just observing and teaching a few lessons but always with the teacher present. I got a place on a PGCE and thought being a cover supervisor would be a good way to gain experience beforehand.

I registered with two agencies and had interviews at both first. Then my first day in school I met the person in charge of cover, she handed me the work the teacher had left and left me to it. Honestly, it's hell. I don't find there's any support from the schools or the agency. The agency told me to learn the behaviour management policy but I already had and that didn't help to be honest. The pupils don't respect cover supervisors and see it as a free lesson. I had ties, pencil cases and even a table thrown in classrooms, one pupil barged me and the other cover out of the way when we told him to stay behind for a few minutes for being rude all lesson. It's generally utter chaos in all honesty and I really wouldn't recommend it. Also the frequency of the work can be quite sporadic and often they'll call me at 8 to ask me to be in school by 8:30. I do have another thread going further down this board, I'd recommend reading it.

IHeartKingThistle Sat 30-Jan-16 10:04:15

You couldn't pay me enough to be a cover supervisor.

stressedcoversupervisor Sat 30-Jan-16 10:07:57

Forgot about the pay. Yeah it's atrocious. Between £10-12ph and sometimes they only need you for 1/2 hours so by the time you factor in fuel it's barely worth it.

paulapantsdown Sat 30-Jan-16 10:25:33

I did it for five months before moving to another job in the same school. If the other job had not come up then I would have been quitting.

It's a pretty good school with good discipline, and the SLT where very suppprtive, but it was SO hard! The kids look at you appearing with joy as they see it as a 'free' arse about and do no work lesson. It is sometimes frustrating as you don't often know enough to actually help the students with the work. You are generally ignored by the older ones. It can be extremely boring in a weird way because you either spend the entire lesson trying to get them to shut the hell up, or they are good kids who get on with it and you just sit there like a numpty.

Some teachers set proper cover work, but there is an awful lot of 're read page 7 and make notes' bullshit, which results in bored and frustrated students.

I found it very very hard and would not do it again. The fella who started on the same day as me is still doing it and loves it. He however is about 23 and is going to do teacher training this year. The woman who took over from me is the same age as me and loves it!

I think you need the patience of a saint to do it, and I don't!

I work in welfare now and I love it. The stroppy rude students (a very small minority) need me more than I need them now, and if they are rude, they know that they will get short thrift - they have to adhere to the "please and thank you" rules or they don't get served.

Potterwolfie Sat 30-Jan-16 17:08:56

Thanks for all of your input; plenty to think about, I appreciate your honesty!

SupSlick Sun 31-Jan-16 20:30:11

I'm currently a cover supervisor (waiting to start my pgce in September). This is a permanent job & I am only in the one school.

Tbh I find it so hard. The kids view it as a doss lesson, they don't believe you will follow up discipline. I've found I've had not a single minute of training & the school is completely unsupportive. As a cover supervisor isn't designated to a department, such as English or MFL, the lack of peer support is the hardest part.

You are literally on your own, and most of the time the only work that is left is "title page" or "poster", which kids know is meaningless.

Plus prepare to be taken advantage of. The other cover supervisors I know are now taking on their own classes, some who are in year 11 for exam prep which I find astonishing.

Being a cover supervisor is like being a stranger in a school that no one respects.

sky1010 Sun 31-Jan-16 20:45:55

The role depends completed on what school you are at.

If you are at a school where you are seen by management as just (I do not mean this disrespectfully) a cover supervisor, I can see why it is an appealing job for someone who wants to work with children in education. By 'just a cover supervisor', I mean that you are only expected to do light marking and are left non-strenuous lessons to teach. If a cover supervisor covers me, I will purposely make their lives easy as possible and leave something nice for them to do with the kids, or Topic work that does not need much marking past 'very good! Learning objective met tick tick tick'.

However, I have seen schools where cover supervisors are seen as accountable as teachers, but without the salary to match it. Observation stress, being expected to TEACH lessons rather than 'just' covering, sometimes left to teach key lessons/concepts with no real training and a quite heavy marking workload.

There is also the possibility of you being used to cover a class for an extended period of time because a CS is cheaper than a supply teacher with QTS.

I really don't want to scare you off, as in the right school with a lovely team- it could be wonderful- but there is so much potential for abuse.

leccybill Tue 02-Feb-16 12:36:13

Remember what it was like at school when you didn't have your normal teacher? When even the good kids had a little doss? Well, that really.

I do a bit of cover supervisor work now and then through my agency. I'm a qualified teacher though and insist on teacher rate otherwise it's crap money for hard work.

The only time it's good is when you turn up and a student teacher is teaching and you just need to sit and watch and assist the occasional child. That's quite nice.

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