Working week

19th September 2003 at 01:00
Your job and career questions answered

A Scottish bonus?

Q I got an Educational Institute of Scotland circular that states that from August 1, 2003, temporary staff will get a salary during periods of accrued leave. I can't believe it. Is this only happening in Scotland?

A A recent decision of the Court of Sessions on the Working Time Regulations 1988 has led to a change in the way temporary staff in Scotland accrue leave. The daily rate for teachers is now calculated on the basis of 1261 of the annual rate of salary not 1195 as before. All teachers will accrue leave on the basis of 0.338 of a day for each full day worked. In other words, for approximately every three days of work completed, the teacher will have accrued one day of paid leave. If a temporary teacher is not contracted to work over a period that includes a holiday, the leave will be added to the end of the contract. So, although you will be eligible for holidays, you will receive less pay during term-time. Not so much a rise as a pay redistribution.

Training to handle violent pupils Q I work in a unit for children with social and emotional problems. Next term a pupil who viciously attacked another teacher will be in my class. He is very violent. Is the LEA under any obligation to provide me with any protection or training?

A The school has the normal duty of an employer to its staff to ensure their health and safety. However, it also has to ensure the education of young people for whom it is responsible. Sometimes there can be a conflict between these two. By agreeing to work in a unit for children with emotional difficulties you may be accepting that the young people you come into contact with have more problems than the average teenager. No doubt your school has a policy for dealing with potentially violent youngsters; if not, it should do. There are also DfES Guidelines, issued in July 2002, for staff dealing with children who display extreme behaviour in association with learning disabilities. If you feel you need training, you should talk with the head or the CPD (training) co-ordinator. There is also the issue of whether any previous attacks were a one-off or part of a pattern. If you still have concerns you should consult your professional association as a matter of urgency. Fair shares of award money Q I retired at Christmas 2002. Since then my school has won a School Achievement Award for the period September 2001 to September 2002. Am I right in thinking that I am entitled to a share?

A Governing bodies have discretion as to which staff should be paid these awards. However, according to the DfES, the simple fact that someone has left the school would not be a good enough reason for deciding they should not get a bonus. However, the department accepts that the process for making such payments can be far from simple. If the teacher is no longer working, the school can send him or her a cheque. On this basis, it will depend upon what the governors of your former school decided. You would appear to have no statutory claim to a share of this award. All you can do is draw their attention to the DfES guidance and hope. These awards have now been discontinued, so the problem won't occur in future.

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