- Arrangements for ensuring that teachers ‘rarely cover’ for absent colleagues should not be viewed in isolation but as a central feature of the National Agreement on “Raising Standards and Tackling Workload”.
- This policy is designed to support and meet the contractual obligations of the National Agreement. It is intended to create more time for teachers and Head teachers to focus more of their working time on teaching and learning and leading teaching and learning. It also complies with the provisions of the School Teachers Pay and Conditions Document.
- This policy is designed to ensure that staff absence at Llangyfelach Primary School does not adversely impact on pupil learning outcomes and that the implementation of ‘rarely cover’ impacts positively on raising standards of achievement and attainment of the pupils in our care.
- This policy does not apply to teachers who are employed wholly or mainly to provide cover.
- Pupil standards are paramount in all respects.
Definition of Absence and the Provision of Cover
- Absence occurs when the person who has been timetabled to take a particular class or group is absent. The type of absence could be for a variety of reasons, including internal and external activities as well as sickness. It could be short term or long term.
- All types of absence will be carefully managed in order to minimise the adverse impact on teaching and learning for the pupils.
- Teachers, including the Headteacher, should cover only rarely for unforeseeable absences.
- ‘Rarely cover’ does not mean ‘never cover’.
- To ensure the system for managing cover is robust, this school will publish a calendar for each school year, following consultation with staff and their union representatives.
- The school calendar will set out the school’s activities scheduled to take place in the academic year, for example, learning outside the classroom, meetings, parental consultation evenings and INSET days.
- The school calendar will provide for the school’s annual teaching timetable for every teacher. Teaching timetables are not frozen in time and there may be in-year variations in timetabled teaching arrangements and variations from year to year.
- Where calendared arrangements are made to the timetable for valid educational/operational reasons, teachers who are not involved in the activity will be timetabled to teach classes. These instances, for example, trips, fieldwork, tournaments, musical events, seasonal activities and performances, residential trips will be included in the school calendar of events.
- Timetables may need to be reviewed during the year in light of significant changes e.g. long term absence or other significant educational developments. Such alterations will be made as far in advance as possible and through consultation with staff and association representatives.
- The provision of cover will be triggered by the absence of the person who has been timetabled to take a particular class or group. This absence can be regarded as ‘foreseeable’ and ‘unforeseeable’.
- Foreseeable absence:
- Planned in advance
- Reasonably predictable in light of analysis of pattern of school absences
- Staff INSET
- School Trips
- Authorised leave of absence
- Unforeseeable Absence:
- Not planned
- Not reasonably predictable
- Major road accident that blocks road
- Snow fall after school has decided to stay open
- Staff called away from school for emergency
- Staff not phoning in for sickness absence by specified time
- If a teacher is required to cover for a colleague in ‘unforeseeable’ circumstances the burden of cover should be shared equitably among all teachers in the school (including the Headteacher), taking into account their teaching and other duties.
- PPA time is guaranteed and forms part of the legal conditions of employment for teachers.
Leave of Absence
Requests for Leave of Absence will be determined in accordance with the Leave of Absence Policy and the operational needs of the school. As outlined in the policy, staff will be required wherever possible to submit requests for leave of absence at least seven days in advance of their requested absence. This will ensure that the request can be properly considered and that arrangements for cover can be made if resources are available. The school Leave of Absence policy is appended.
- Cover will be provided by suitably qualified and trained staff
- Absences could be short, medium or long term
- Associate staff should cover for short term absences only
- Medium and long term absences will be covered by qualified teachers – either supply teachers or by temporary or fixed term appointments
This is active teaching and involves:
- Planning and preparation
- Delivering lessons
- Assessing progress
- Reporting on progress
This will be undertaken by qualified teachers or by appropriately trained and qualified associate staff who have the necessary skills and expertise.
The use of associate staff for short term specified work will support continuity of learning for pupils as these staff are known by the pupils and will have been involved in the preparation and planning of lessons. Where associate staff are used for specified work this will be in accordance with the Education (Specified Work and Registration) (Wales) Regulations 2004 and Professional Standards for Higher Level Teaching Assistants. In addition, where associate staff undertake the more demanding aspects of specified work such as working with whole classes, regard will be taken of the Professional Standards for HLTAs and accountability for learning outcomes will rest with the qualified teacher assigned to teach the class.
This is where no active teaching takes place and would include cover supervision. Where cover is provided by associate staff this will involve:
- Supervising work set as per school policy
- Managing pupil behaviour
- Responding to questions from pupils about processes and procedures
- Dealing with any immediate problems or emergencies
- Collecting any completed work after the lesson and returning it to the appropriate teacher
- Reporting back using the school’s referral procedure on pupil behaviour and on any issues arising.
Cover supervision will be used for short term absences only and the Headteacher will determine the precise responsibilities of staff undertaking cover supervision duties.
Monitoring and Review
- Patterns of absence and levels of cover (‘foreseeable’ and ‘unforeseeable’) will be monitored and information shared with the Governing Body.
This policy will be reviewed when required