… a personal perspective
I’ve been teaching a number of years and before moving to Scotland worked as the Head of Design Technology in a busy department in one of the top comprehensive schools in England. A progressive school, praised by Ofsted as “outstanding” in all areas and mentioned twice in the Houses of Commons as a model of good practice.
So, with excellent references and a good honours degree perhaps you’d share my thinking that it wouldn’t take too long to find suitable teaching employment in Scotland … think again!
DEAR DIARY ….
30th June 2011: It’s the last day of term and everyone is excited and looking forward to the holiday. I need to take off my teaching head and don my B&B head as I’ve 7 weeks of non-stop breakfasts, cleaning and evening meals ahead.
9th August 2011: Today I met up for lunch with the ladies that I’ve been working with for the past 21 months in Home Economics (HE) … naturally, we talked ‘shop’.
16th August 2011: First day of term… the Local Authority (LA), haven’t phoned … my friend & colleague has however and wonders where I am. She’s sorted all my class lists and done my food orders ready for me starting. #Bless
18th August 2011: Friend & colleague been on phone to say that she misses me and the children are asking where I am…two were crying because I wasn’t there!
19th August 2011: Phoned LA who tell me that the job is to be advertised and they’re not filling it in the meantime. I can’t apply because the LA won’t appoint outside of my own subject (Technical) (even though there’s no legal reason preventing them) and (apparently) I’m not qualified to teach the subject I’ve been successfully teaching for 21 months.
PS: Head Teacher (HT) telephoned me to apologise; she didn’t know of the LA’s intentions.
PPS: Telephoned the General Teaching Council in Scotland (GTCS) who suggest reminding the LA that due to a repeal of the Education Act some years ago they could legally appoint me.
PPPS: HT phoned back again and said she also got nowhere with the LA.
24th August 2011: Colleague telephoned and tells me they have a retired teacher doing the job that they’re “not filling in the meantime”. #Annoyed
26th August 2011: LA have sent my P45 and backdated it to 15th August 2011. #Hmmm
5th September 2011: Contacted my Union for advice. Been emailing back and forward all day clarifying points and details. Head’s spinning! Union contacted LA who told them that they send the P45s out every year “as a matter of course” … odd how I don’t remember one arriving last year!
9th September 2011: The LA have advertised the job today … 0.5 Full Time Equivalent (FTE) Permanent.
12th September 2011: Thought “sod it” and applied for the job anyway!
13th September 2011: Union contacted to say that they think I have a case for asking LA to give me a permanent contract as I had continuous employment with them for 2 years (according to the LA’s own regulations).
14th September 2011: Sent a letter to the LA requesting permanent employment.
19th September 2011: Had an email from the LA saying that the job has been changed from permanent to temporary! Spoke to Union who don’t seem alarmed – they really need to wise up…!
3rd October 2011: Emailed recruitment to ask for an update on the advertised job … advised that the post was “in process of being leeted for” and that they’ll email when they know.
PS: No work since June … worried about paying mortgage.
9th October 2011: Held Craft Fayre today at the Lodge and raised £80 for local charity. Friend and colleague came to support and also told me that the job has vanished – the classes have been given to any teacher who had space on their timetable and they have supply in for lessons that couldn’t be covered.
11th October 2011: Letter arrived from the LA saying that I am not entitled to permanent employment as I had not worked for them for a continuous two years … I’m two weeks short apparently!!
PS: …and because they didn’t give me any work for the first few weeks of term there’s a break in my contract so I’m not entitled to any further employment rights and I’ll have to start accruing entitlement and wait another two FULL years until I’m once again eligible. #Angry
18th October 2011: Noticed that adjoining LA have advertised a teaching job as “term time only” and adjusted the pay accordingly. I think that should be filed under #WTF
19th October 2011: Decided that life’s too short to be away from those that you love and that the LA can shove teaching in Scotland where the sun doesn’t shine. Telephoned the General Teaching Council in England (GTCE) to re-register: one form, 10 mins to fill in (unlike the 42 separate documents I had to photocopy and submit to the GTCS a few years ago (yes I did count them) … unnecessary bureaucracy and NO that doesn’t mean that they have higher standards!).
24th October 2011: LA still haven’t bothered to email me, as promised, to let me know about the job that they advertised as permanent but now no longer exists. Thought that I’d better update the Union … for what that’s worth!
25th October 2011: I was booked to do a day’s supply today at a different school. The Principal Teacher (HOD) was so pleased to see that it was ME who turned up (having previously interviewed me for the job that the LA refused to employ me for) the school promptly booked me until Christmas … so the LA are now employing me FULL TIME in a HE job that “I’m not qualified to teach”…!! #Madness
30th October 2011: Friend and colleague telephoned … the retired supply teacher doing my old job was not happy that the LA have cut HER job to 5 hrs per week!
11th November 2011: Two possible jobs in the TES today … a maternity cover and a HOD job – guess I know what I’ll be doing this weekend!
12th November 2011: GTCE have sent my full registration certificate this morning #Efficient
P.S. I’ve posted my applications for the two jobs.
28th November 2011: Wow … have an interview on Friday for the Maternity job … told school and they wished me luck but said that they’d be really sorry to lose me.
2nd December 2011: Decided early this morning to withdraw from the interview … very difficult decision … I need to focus on a permanent position.
5th December 2011: Received phone call this afternoon inviting me to interview on Monday for the HOD job.
12th December 2011: Interview day – feeling very nervous – it’s the first one I’ve had in 8 years in England! 36 applicants and 4 interviewed.
PS: Didn’t get the job but I appointed and mentored the teacher who did when she was a new teacher a few years ago! #Ironic
22nd December 2011: Today is the last day of my current contract … school have put in a request to keep me … no word from the LA. #Typical
6th January 2012: No phone call or contract so no idea if I’m at same school on Monday or if I have any work at all. Telephoned LA. Snotty woman on phone said that they had been done on Wednesday and mine will be with me shortly. I’ll not hold my breath!
1st February 2012: Emailed my HT to advise him I’ve seen a HOD job that I’m applying for … he replied: “We will certainly miss you from the school” #Bless
6th February 2012: Received my Post Graduate Diploma Certificate from Newcastle University this morning.
9th February 2010: Phoned LA:
Me: Should I be attending school next Tuesday for the Inservice day?
LA: You have a full-time contract so yes, it’s part of your contract.
Me: I do not have a full-time contract … in fact I have no contract at all since you haven’t bothered to post one to me even though I’ve telephoned to chase it up and since you wouldn’t pay me last year for attending an Inservice day I’ll be damned if I’m coming in next week if you’re not going to pay me.
LA: Let me check *kept on hold for a while* Yes, you’re definitely full time so you will be paid for the day and I’ll ensure that your contract is in the post straight away.
As usual, I’ll not hold my breath!
10th February 2012: Received telephone call inviting me for an interview.
21st February 2012: Interview day. 42 applications, 4 interviewed. #Nervous
PS: Didn’t much care for some of the staff but no worries as I didn’t get the job either!
22nd March 2012: Another interview today … worst one yet. The staff were just plain awful – so relieved when I didn’t get offered the job! Decided that I’ve had enough – it’s a long way to go each time for interview and I’m so tired and demoralised! Confidence is at an all-time low!! Telephoned good teaching colleagues who I know can put things into perspective for me.
13th May 2012: Applied for an Assistant Faculty Leader job today that I really like the sound of. It’s the highest position I’ve applied for and would be a promotion on the job I used to hold in England.
16th May 2012: LA have advertised the HE job that I’m currently doing but cannot apply for.
23rd May 2012: Telephone call inviting me for an interview.
29th May 2012: Interview day. No nerves … this feels right!! 28 applications, 4 interviewed.
PS: HT phoned me at 2pm to offer me the position. #stunned
30th May 2012: Went to school with a heavy heart … I should be feeling proud and happy but I’m sad to be leaving. Lots of hugs from all.
PS: My P60 arrived today. It’s wrong … again #ffs
12th June 2012: Another school in the LA that advertised for a HE teacher and got no applications phoned my HOD today to see if I was available to book for August. Nice to be wanted
13th June 2012: The lady who applied for the job I’m currently doing was interviewed and appointed today. She’s lovely and I know that she’ll be very happy working with my wonderful colleagues.
26th June 2012: Last day of teaching in Scotland … end of an era! Lunch with the ladies was sad. HT gave me a huge hug before I left wishing me every luck and success in my new job and was so sad that I was leaving *crying* (me that is!)
31st August 2012: Starting my new job on Monday …. beginning to get nervous!! Had three phone calls from LA desperate for me to teach HE again this year as they’re short staffed. My P45 hasn’t arrived “as a matter of course” this year … apparently they can’t send it until I officially resign in writing!! #colddayinhell
Selling the house and winding up my husband’s business are the next steps I guess. We’ll miss the country life but hopefully find time to visit our Scottish friends from time-to-time.
It’s difficult to put into words the level of contempt that I have for my previous LA. I’ve spoken to many teachers about my predicament over the past year and been saddened to learn I’m not alone. One said she was on short-term contracts for 18 years and another doesn’t know who’s going to be working in her department from one week to the next!
But I have a wonderful new job and I’m looking forward to seeing more of my family.
As a final note of irony … not only am I teaching Food and Textiles Technology (HE) … I’m in charge of the department!!
Copyright © 2012 by Cordelia
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Cordelia @ Balkissock Lodge