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RARELY COVER ARRANGEMENTS FOR ALL SCHOOLS FROM SEPTEMBER 2009 SUMMARY OF GUIDANCE st 1. Guidance has now been issued on the “rarely cover” arrangements applicable from 1 September 2009. 3 separate pieces of guidance have been produced – “Setting out the basis for implementation of “rarely cover”; “Rarely cover implementation process guidance” and “Implementation of “rarely cover” from September 2009”. Copies can be found at www.socialpartnership.org and they have been sent to schools as part of the DCSF weekly email 2. “Rarely cover” should not be seen in isolation from the rest of the National Agreement. Cover for absence is not seen as an effective use of teachers’ time. The expectation is that this arrangement is linked to the extension and enhancement of the role of support staff st 3. Schools need to have robust systems in place that from 1 September 2009 teachers cover for absent colleagues only rarely. This includes all teachers, the headteacher, those on the leadership spine and ASTs including part time and those on a fixed-term contract. PPA time cannot be used for cover. Current “voluntary agreements” should be reviewed to ensure compliance with the new arrangements 4. The systems should ensure avoidance of cover for all foreseeable absences which includes internal and external activities as well as sickness and can be short term as well as long term. Supervision can be used for short-term absence (which might include HLTAs and cover supervisors) but should not be used for medium to long-term absence. A teacher should cover the latter (which might include supply or “floating” teachers) 5. Those involved in cover supervision should have appropriate skills and training including behaviour management. Supervision is often not a valid option in primary and special schools – such cover is likely to be specified work. The Regulations define “specified work” is lesson and course planning, delivery, assessment and reporting 6. Schools should analyse their historical patterns of absence and then review their existing leave of absence policy. Any changes should not lead to a worsening of any current agreements and be fair, transparent and cover every member of the school workforce including the headteacher. It should cover the activities granted for leave of absence; the length; paid or unpaid and who grants the leave 7. Consultation on absence and cover policy changes should start with a meeting with all staff to outline and clarify the issues, the relevant documentation, the nature of staff and union consultation including dates (probably 1-4 weeks), issues and desired outcomes 8. Schools should publish a calendar for each school year following consultation with staff and unions. The calendar should provide, as a minimum, the annual teaching timetable for every teacher, staff meetings and parental consultations. Changes may be required during the year but this should not be a frequent occurrence. Calendars are likely to be produced earlier than traditionally has been the case 9. Issues likely to be determined include: whether traditionally authorised absences need to be amended what may be deemed “foreseeable” on the basis of historic experience what to include in the calendar including activity weeks, visits how to record, monitor and analyse absence how to manage cover such as staff deployment, job descriptions, contracts, pay and grading, training needs, supervision and support for staff covering. Changes to pay, contract or grading should follow normal consultation processes and have regard to the suitability of the tasks and roles, impact of workload, additional training needs, suitability of job descriptions 10. Please do not attempt to interpret the attached summary or the 3 documents. There will be questions related to interpretation but these should be directed to the local authority (Cathy Waddington Catherine.firstname.lastname@example.org or Rachel Beck email@example.com) They will contact the relevant WAMG (Workforce Agreement Modernisation Group) who will provide the answer.
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