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Help me out here if you can please.

(12 Posts)
abbieangel Tue 02-Feb-16 14:00:44

I work part time in an independent school

I do not work Friday. I do not work weekends. I teach two days a week around nine hours I get paid for.

A very good friend of mine (for over 20 years) has passed away suddenly and I want to go to his funeral. He was an old Headmaster and fantastic all round bloke. Once quite well known in education circles.

The school has an Open Morning on Saturday and whilst not in contract, and not paid, I am "expected" to attend these . Nothing is formal about having to attend, its just expectation. HT claims we should do them on a pro rata basis if part time but contracts are silent and in the past it was not required ( I have worked in this school for 10 years and only in the last year has it been an "expectation" to go in. We have three a year, I have attended one so far this year - there is another in the summer term).

What could happen if I went to my friends funeral and missed the open day ( I have a 400 mile journey to make to get there). Can I be sacked, disciplined - what?

Am I actually required to go to Saturday mornings I am not paid for? I have already done an evening last week ( unpaid).

OP’s posts: |
Olivo Tue 02-Feb-16 14:23:49

I would go to your HT and e Parkin, that ordinarily, there would be no problem you attending,as you have the other times, but that this time, it will cause you a huge problem. I would hope a good track record would count in your favour.

Olivo Tue 02-Feb-16 14:24:20

E Parkin? Explain......

GinandJag Tue 02-Feb-16 18:29:31

What would be you role at Open Day? Would you be running anything or just being there?

I would just explain you situation to your head teacher - most are reasonable.

abbieangel Tue 02-Feb-16 21:04:26

My role in the open day is ,well, nothing. HT just wants all the teachers to be there. I dont even have a place ( classroom) to be. I share it with others and have a corner ( in case someone comes to see me). In all the past open days, no one has come to see me and I have spent three hours just sitting there doing nothing because , like I am expected to be there, I am not "allowed" to leave. But I do not get paid. Its all " voluntary" ( I asked the union rep about it and she said " have you actually been ordered to come in? - well, no I havent. Its a grey area.)

I would like to be able to say goodbye to my friend. We go back a long way.

OP’s posts: |
GinandJag Tue 02-Feb-16 21:09:10

If you are in an independent school, then marketing is a huge task of everyone, and that includes part time teachers and open days.

However, since you don't have s pivotal role in this open day, the you probably won't be missed. Speak to your headteacher. One of his jobs will be hearing of bereavements - he won't be completely heartless.

GinandJag Tue 02-Feb-16 21:12:26


When my mother died, I put in a "leave of absence" request. I asked for 3 days off for a funeral in Scotland, and sent it to the headmistress' PA.

You could just go this route if you are uncomfortable with the face-to-face contact.

abbieangel Wed 03-Feb-16 08:38:41

The problem is it is not my mother. Its just a friend. But then again, I am not actually trying to go anywhere on a working day, so I shouldnt need to ask for a day off. Thats the dilemma as I see it.

Its hard to explain . I have little family and fewer friends and most go back with me many years, as this one does. He was one of the few. he taught me about teaching when I was in a rough SM school in a tough inner city ( even though he was an independent school Head). he even set up a e mail penfriends liason with my school to pair our disadvantaged pupils with his advantaged ones to help me with an activities project at that school ( long ago - back in 1995 -the internet was small and people more friendly then). I have run internet web sites and homework websites with him and we did it because we believed in what we were doing - that kids mattered.

He also advised me to move into an independent school. I miss him. he would even have advised me on how to deal with this situation - although I suspect he would say " Your Headmaster has to realise he does not own your time on a Saturday morning. He is not paying for it ( and he knows it). Tell him politely that you will not be coming in but make it seem like a reasonable request" ..... but how do you do that? He was good at that!

OP’s posts: |
DoreenLethal Wed 03-Feb-16 08:49:06

'Hi boss - just to let you know that I will be unable to be at the open day this weekend as I will be at a funeral 300 miles away'.

teacher54321 Wed 03-Feb-16 19:32:18

I've never worked in a school where that request would be refused. Send a polite email or request a 5 minute face to face meeting to explain a family friend has died and you wish to attend the funeral and will of course be available for the next open day in the summer term.

MidniteScribbler Fri 05-Feb-16 07:39:37

I do think that ordinarily you would be expected to attend the Open Day (after all, the rest of the staff do and aren't being paid for it either), but I think that the funeral of a very close friend on that day means that you should be able to be excused on this occasion.

jarofcalm Fri 05-Feb-16 07:39:47

I wouldn't assume this will be a problem. Either face to face or via email explain what has happened and ask to be able to attend the funeral. If you get a refusal (I'd be amazed) you could say you intend to go anyway as there is not contractual obligation to be at the open day. But I think you'll get a sympathetic response unless you work for someone deeply uncaring.

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