No helping hands and little hope of survival

27th June 2014 at 01:00

I am a head of department, but my department is rather depleted. I have one member of staff on maternity leave, one on two-week paternity leave and I am already a staff member down as someone left at Easter. Some of the holes are being filled by agency staff but I am doing a lot of the extra legwork myself. This means I am now taking four GCSE groups.

I am also having to set work for the agency staff, and I have been told that in addition I have to oversee the 15- to 18-year-old BTEC groups and be responsible for submitting all marks.

Meanwhile, I am trying to work through the horror show left behind by the teacher who departed at Easter. Despite assurances to the contrary, she had left all her marking undone and a devastation zone instead of a classroom. I showed the mess to the senior leadership team and they said they would pass on comments to her new school. Not exactly the response I was looking for.

I have suggested to my line manager that the amount of work I am being expected to do is unreasonable and that it is a welfare issue, and he agrees. But nothing is done.

I feel defeated. I am organised but I work a 10- to 12-hour day, six days a week and I am kept awake at night just thinking about the amount of work that awaits me.

I don't want to go off with stress and further let down the students, nor do I want the stigma of stress on my record. But this seems like the only thing that will make people listen.

I have consulted my union rep and been told to talk to my line manager, which I have done.

I don't want chats or sympathy (which is what I am getting), I want solutions. I want the school to support me. What is a professional supposed to do in this situation? The fact that you have to quit before anyone notices that your workload is excessive just seems daft. You then become another statistic and another willing horse starts getting flogged to death in your place, and so it goes on. When will it end?

The writer is a head of department at a school in Staffordshire

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Email jon.severs@tes.co.uk

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