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What do I do, staff member wants to do teacher training?


Pimms o'clock?
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I really need some help with this one. I have supported a member of staff for the last two years while she completed an early years foundation degree, as I have done with three before her, no problems at all been great to see them flourish. The three previous have topped up with 3rd year to BA Early Years and EYPS, one is still with me two eventually moved on.

 

 

My problem is that now this staff member wants to do the next two years training to be a Primary Teacher and remain working for me, we are a nursery with children from 0-5. She wants me to sign an agreement with the uni that I will support her in this, which means that in Sept she is out for 4 weeks and in June/July 2014 for 6 weeks placements in schools. She will also be required to attend uni on Wednesday where this is currently Friday.

 

She wants me to let her swap from Friday to Wednesday to attend uni when we are fully staffed on Friday and are over stretched on Wednesday. I cannot justify nor do I have the money to pay her to work on Friday, I do not have anyone else to work on Wednesday to cover her. I have no one to call on to work for the 4 week and 6 week periods.

 

I have twice bent over backwards to accomodate her when she has problems as she is a valuable member of the team, by increasing her hourly rate at one time when she was looking for higher pay and again when her benefits were reduced when her own child went on to funding.

 

I need to think of staff moral over two years while she would be coming and going and also have to worry about her key children and their families.

 

To say I am between a rock and a hard place is an understatement because I am worried if I say "no I can't sign up to and agree to this" that she will leave but will take it further and say it is constructive dismisal. But I do not have a job for a primary school teacher nor a trainee one.

 

...so what do I do?

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Well look at it this way. If she wanted to train to be a doctor or a nurse you wouldn't be expected to support her whilst she's training, would you? Given the situation you describe with your staffing and the difficulties you would face if you decided to continue to support her, I think you are well within your rights to point out that it is not in the interests of the setting to release her to pursue training which by its very nature means she will leave the setting as soon as she is qualified.

 

If you were asking her to qualify as a teacher for some reason then that would be another matter: however you have no need for a teacher on your staff and you have no way (other than recruiting another member of staff) to cover the hours when she will be absent at uni or on placement.

 

If you tell her that you can't support her, for the reasons you describe, then she has to decide what she wants to do. If she wants to be a teacher then she'll need to leave and find someone to support her, and I don't see how that can be constructive dismissal. However if you're concerned then I would talk to ACAS and ask them for advice.

 

If I were her I would think about this more clearly and seek employment elsewhere where my needs for support whilst training are more realistic. She's putting you in an impossible position, but from what you've said I don't think I would agree to support her if I was in your position, no matter how good an employee she is. As you say, you need to think about her key children and the whole staff team as well as her own needs.

 

Good luck!

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I would also question what happens when she qualifies.. what are the chances she will stay once qualified... probably very slim... if any..

 

not sure constructive dismissal would hold up.. you do not have the position for a teacher and are not asking for her to do this, she is employed for a specific position and this is not it.. she is under contract for a role that is the one you need her to fulfil, not one of a teacher or trainee teacher..

 

Like Maz, I too would not see the benefit to the setting in supporting this... the children and families come first... along with the staff who could end up resenting the situation...

 

PS constructive dismissal is very hard to prove.. been through this recently with hubby,and found it is not easy to claim against a company/employer..

Edited by Inge
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Thank you both, you have confirmed my beliefs - its just so worrying these days for employers as there is always someone ready to try to destroy you.

 

I think my best bet is that I just say "I'm sorry but I cannot support you in diong this as we have no need to a teacher on our staff"; and leave it at that having all the above behind me ready to justify my actions if needed.

 

Really, thank you very much this has been worrying me for a few days now and is giving me sleepless nights

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I agree...and use 'pregnancy' as a benchmark as it tends to hold the most employment rights.

In applying for flexible working, considerations must be given by the new mum to the business needs and impact on fellow staff...so I ask myself in any difficult situations "if this was a flexible working application would I agree or disagree and on what grounds"...and if I disagree and can stand firm with a maternity rights decision then it should also apply to 'normal' staff (hope this makes sense!)

I would feel that you don't have a shift on a Friday, would become short staffed on a Wednesday and placement weeks and that she's working herself out of a role...will the benefits of her training enhance your setting further over the 2 years enough to make up for the upheaval? Will there be any 'unseen' needs for further time off...assignments etc

You've also proven incredibly supportive of her already in her studies so surely she can't use that against you, as that was applicable to the current job. Good Luck Pimms

 

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have to agree with all the above. I would not be able to support this either. It is so difficult at the moment to support staff to acheive higher and then lose them to settings that can pay more :( It cannot be seen as constructive dismissal because she is asking for flexible working patterns that are at the detriment of the business. (IMO)

Record your conversations and keep on record to prove you have thought carefully and justly about your decisions. You will then need to write to her and explain your decision and what you have based it on. She then has a choice to leave or stay.....you have no control over this it has to be her decision and you must face that i guess :huh:

Sorry not an easy one to deal with <_<

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I,m with the others...put the ball in her court, either she wants the job she has with you or wants to go off and persue a career in teaching, you've supported her so far, but if you don't need a teacher in your setting, why should you support this, her hours will need covering, it will affect her key person responsibilities to her present key children and as Inge says what's the chance of her staying once qualified....fat chance and no chance !

 

I'm fed of supporting staff through role of senco, not just the actual training but then the follow on courses ( often whole days out of setting that needs covering) just to have them get school jobs with the next of our children that need inclusion support :(

Edited by mouse63
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Has she also considered the induction year and how she would complete this? Unless it changed she won't be a qts as without that part of the training you are not qualified as a teacher anyway. You would have to buy into the services of an "appropriate body" to oversee this process, give 10% non contact time statutorily and have an induction mentor to provide guidance. Would you be enabling her to join other nqt's in the LA induction programme, ours have conferences and regular input which most go to. Teacher training is far more than a college course.

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My LA will not allow PVI preschool settings to support the NQT year either so it might not even be possible for her to do that with your setting.

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I would also worry that it is really not the best experience for a trainee teacher to only have one experience of one setting - for future teaching posts, heads do like to see a teacher whether NQT or not to have had as wide a range of experiences as possible from a variety of settings/year bands. Even if you wish to train and subsequently teach in the Early Years it is always best to gain some experience in KS1 and particularly year 1 (even if it is just to visit a setting) to gain an understanding of how children progress into KS1

Hope this makes sense

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Just as an alternative suggestion, it it possible to suggest she takes unpaid leave to do her placements and drops her hours for her time out . That would enable you to get cover for the day out at college (or up another's hours). It would mean you get to keep a staff member you value and gain her experience during her training. It means she gets to keep her job (within reason) and if she doesn't get employment straight away once qualified (as many in my area dont!), she would probably want to stay with you. It also means you are trying to find a solution that is workable, and if she declines that, then you can do no more. I work with someone who is doing exactly that and it works well for both parties.

 

Just another thought to add to the mix.

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