The rights of just-qualified supply staff


Are we obliged to provide induction training for a newly-qualified supply teacher?

The Government has recently introduced regulations to bring Britain in line with Europe, in according equality of treatment to people on fixed-term contracts, and an employment tribunal ruling has indicated that this will apply to supply teachers.

The regulations give a fixed-term employee the right to terms and conditions no less favourable than those of permanent employees. My interpretation of all this in relation to your question is that, assuming the teacher is with you long enough for it to be feasible, he or she is entitled to exactly the same induction provisions as permanent staff.

How can I stop my headteacher going away from school to conferences for days and even weeks at a time, leaving me in charge as senior deputy? I have a full management and teaching load of my own and the additional workload is intolerable.

There is a whole range of issues tied up in this question. We must accept, first of all, that a head should - some might say must - spend some time out of school, whether for in-service development, briefing on educational initiatives, assessment of colleagues or simply the preservation of sanity. We must accept also that it is part of the duty of a deputy to take responsibility for the school when the head is absent. Maintaining a reasonable balance in the face of conflicting demands is no easy matter and many heads probably do not go out enough.

From your point of view, the balance has tilted too far the other way. The first recourse must be to discuss the issues frankly with the head, who may be totally unaware of how you feel. A little cutting back on the external commitments or an adjustment to your job description may be all that is needed to put things straight. If the normal professional approach proves unavailing, you may feel constrained to take out a grievance against the head. This would bring the issue into the open and, through the formal process, bring it to the attention of the governors.

This must, however, be a last resort, because it is hard to see how a proper working relationship could survive, whatever the outcome.

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