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As Foundation Stage co-ordinator of the FS unit within a Primary school every member of the team is very valuable and sorely miss when they are off sick. But they are missed even move when it means he rest of us have to work twice as hard because school policy dictates that when a non teacher is sick there is no cover. This maybe fair enough in a normal classroom situation but in our situation it mean that an area has to be crossed like a room or the garden because there is no one there to staff it.

I have spoken to my head about this many times but she will not budge.

Is this normal? What happens in your settings?

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Yes know that feeling Oli, and in fact it was one of the major criticisms we had of moving towards a unit was that it seemed OK with ratios to have less staff! (very peculiar way of calculating this but it was legal).

 

We found that we rarely got cover if a teacher was off, as the other teacher could 'oversee', and we certainly never got cover when any nursery nurse was off, as long as our ratio was legal.

In my current situation, myself and another member of the team have been on long term sick leave, we have been covered with different people every week, and this is sometimes worse than managing with less staff. the quality of cover staff is extremely variable, teachers frequently have no nursery experience, its impossible to get cover for our Urdu support who actually speaks Urdu and so the reamining staff have to spend most of their time directing unfamiliar staff and sorting out fretting children who have another new person to deal with. So there is another side to the cover issue.

 

Look at your numbers and your staffing ratio and see if you are still legal with a member down. Then go back to your Head and keep the subject on the agenda, even if she wont budge, at least she knows you are not happey about it.

 

It wlill be interesting to hear what others say

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This is a difficult one Oli I think on another post you are over your propper ratio as well ( if my memory is correct) but you must get some support. Your ratio is 1:13 and students do not count in this equation. If this happens you should put your concerns in writing to the HT and copy it to the Chair of Governors.

Join a union.

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oh mudia, :o

now i am jealous. xD I could do supply in your nursery if i lived closer. I can speak urdu and would love the opportunity to work in a multicultural setting!!!

leo

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I am close to that ratio, I think. I have 56 children and 5 staff. With 56 children, if the legal ratio is 1:13, I need 4.3 staff is that right??? If that is right then staff absence must be covered.

Does lunch time have to comply with the same ratio?

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So if it is an FS unit with Recption children who are not ceovered by the 1:13 but can be 1:30 how does this pan out? I have almost full-time support in R but if my NNEB is absent I have not support. If the nursery teacher is of, or her NNEB, I am deemed to be 'overseeing' the nursery. Our nursery is funded 1:10 because it is in an area of social deprivation.

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Tricky one this! I had many complaints about my last workplace but staffing was obviously fairly generous although getting cover for absence in the afternoon was easier because one of the part time LSAs could be asked to cover. My head saw the need for 2 adults with 30 Reception children. There were times though when we opened up our classrooms and shared staff resources over a larger space to accomodate short term absences. The staffing was made more difficult because the LSAs would often cover if I asked them but not always if they were approached by others which actually made life quite difficult when my head deemed that they were not to be asked!

I dont understand this 30: 1 in Reception though, especially when the children come in so early now and I thought better staffing, more equivalent to a nursery had to be given to allow the younger children to be admitted? Certainly in my LEA that was the opt out for schools that didnt want to admit only in September.

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When I worked in the Nursery we never had cover for absence - did work on 1:10 though.

This year with the FS Unit our Head has supplied cover for every absence (to the detriment of classes in rest of the school though!)

He is quite good at sensing where the greatest need is - basically we couldn't cope with less staff in the accommodation that we were in - we would have been tearing our hair out!!

Susan - our LEA has always had 1 intake and ratios have never taken this into account.

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If we are on a course, (which we hardly get chance to do anyway!!!) then the chances are we will get cover. However if we are off sick, then we are provided with no cover. I know that in main school - i.e. years 1-6, cover is provided, although it might just be the deputy head who doesnt have a class.

However because we are in a seperate building, and all the FS children do is 'play' :o we dont get any cover.

 

Actually saying that, I am probably been a bit harsh as the head really does support the FS, but I think that school is just really skint, and she probably thinks we can cope better than main school could.

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Hmmm, good question. In Nursery it isnt too bad, as we can just about 'cope' although obviously it odes effect the quality of provision that we offer.

However, Reception is a different matter. In the last two years they have lost a NN and a qualified teacher, (reception is two form entry, and there is now the FS co-ordinator in there who has one class, and an unqualified teacher who has the other).

 

The FS co-ordinator is nearing retirement, so now only works 4 days. The deputy head more often than not comes and covers the friday the FS co-ordinator doesnt work.

 

HOWEVER - If the FS coordinator is off ill, the chances are that no cover will be provided, thus the NN ends up taking a class, and the unqualified teacher has her class.

 

School gets around the legal side of it, because I am the qualified teacher in the same building, although seperated by two rooms!

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I'm not sure I would be prepared to take responsibility for this situation. Why do we have to "MAKE DO" in the foundation stage? This under values the importance of this stage, because I am prepared to be DIFFICULT ( yes I was actually accused of this) we always have adequate cover the only compromise I will make is that I will accept a LSA we know, instead of a NNEB we don't. I argue that the school receives the same ammount of funding for all staff in the school and built into this is a degree of sickness cover.

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I think you'll find that School budgets are based on the number of children not the staffing. The school makes it's own decisions on what to spend on staffing. The different weightings apply to different groupings of children ie sen/primary age etc.I think the under fives have a different weighting to KS1 KS2. From memory this is slightly lower. This is why we have the annual census day in january on which figures your school budget share would be based for the following year. We always had to get our reception children on roll for jan 14th because of this. I don't think it has any links to sickness cover though.

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You are right in what you say Catma but when working out funding the Local authority maintain there is built in contingency to allow for staff absence, in small schools this may mean that cover for the first three days must be by the Head Teacher. :o

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