How many heads are now plugging staffing gaps?

21st September 2001 at 01:00
I am surprised your journalists have only found one head who was teaching full-time last term ("Head cracks under strain of two jobs", TES, September 7).

I had to take over a Year 6 class after the February half-term as the teacher left and the supply teacher could not cope with them or prepare them for their national tests.

After running booster classes in the half-term break, I found it difficult to get out of the classroom. Even when I had "non-contact time", it was spent dealing with problems with supply teachers in the Year 6 class. My health, my family and my school suffered. Colleagues in school were wonderfully understanding and we all rallied to each other's aid but it is no way to run a large primary school.

I suspect that the statistics for vacancies are too low - the last thing I had time for in the past academic year was filling in questionnaires about teacher shortages.

I have started the new term fully staffed, although two members are from South Africa on long-term supply contracts and two are newly-qualified teachers. The latter were the only applicants, which saved me the job of shortlisting.

I am determined that I will not put myself through the experience of doing two jobs again, even though it is hard not to put the children first.

None the less, being a class teacher reminded me of what I went into teaching for, what my core business really is, and how unnecessary so many of the administrative and bureaucratic jobs really are.

The fact that we managed a slight increase in our English test scores and a big jump in our science scores was amazing and gave me some hope.

Mrs M G Ayres Headteacher Rangefield primary school Glenbow Road Downham, Bromley, Kent

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number

Comments

The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now