From September 2004 another magic number will enter teachers’ conditions of service to accompany the 1265 already etched in our minds. The number is 38. This is the annual cover limit – the number of hours above which no teacher can be expected to cover in one academic year - which is now contained in the Teachers’ Pay and Conditions Document.
(A detailed explanation of the regulations is to be found in the small orange and blue guidance booklet sent to members’ home addresses).
Beyond the numbers game, there are some interesting aspects of the cover limit which deserve emphasis.
Headteachers will have a duty to ensure that cover is shared equitably amongst all teachers in the school – including the Head, teachers on the Leadership Spine, and Advanced Skills teachers. (The 38 hours will be pro-rata for those on part-time contracts.)
All cover for absence is included in the limit.
If you have “gained time”, eg. when Year 11 have left at the end of the year in Secondaries, any cover done during this counts towards the limit. (Though there are other professional duties which can be required of you – please refer to the booklet).
If you have non-contact periods specifically designated for cover these count towards the limit, unless you are wholly or mainly employed to cover.
If you take extra pupils into your class from the class of an absent colleague, this counts as cover – so any extra children for one school day will notch up about 5 of the 38 hours limit.
Planning, Preparation and Assessment Time must not be used for cover. Although PPA is not scheduled to be introduced until September 2005, it may be brought in early in some schools.
There is also a No Detriment clause in the Pay and Conditions Document. This protects teachers in the large number of schools where annual cover is already less than 38 hours by stipulating that the introduction of the cover limit must not lead to any deterioration of working conditions.
Teachers will need to ensure they are not leaned on to forego any of these statutory entitlements. Contact the Union office if there are problems at your school.
Like the rest of the Re-modelling agenda, however, the cover limit throws up problems.
Firstly, the 38 hour limit is too high.
Secondly, there is no requirement for cover to be evenly spread over the three terms. This could mean unreasonable demands on some teachers during some parts of the school year.
Thirdly, the limit may become an excuse for the practice of allowing unqualified staff to take whole classes. The NUT opposes the use of cover supervisors to take whole classes, and members in schools where this is happening should contact the Union office.
Congratulations to Steve Sinnott who is the new General Secretary of the NUT. Bradford NUT
wishes him well.
Congratulations also to Ian Murch who came second in the election after a hard-fought campaign. Ian will remain Secretary of Bradford NUT and Executive Member for West Yorkshire.
Steve Sinnott 27,287
Ian Murch 22,134
It's that time of the year again which we all look forward to. No, not the summer holidays - the payment of the GTC fee.
Well-done to members at Eldwick Primary School for spotting that the £33 payback on our pay slips is no longer enough to cover the fee and on-costs. But you can claim the tax back and we have sent a copy of a claim form to your Rep in this mailing.
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