Saturday 12 October 2013

How come they get a day off??

So my two eldest daughter's came home yesterday with a letter informing me that next Thursday, the 17th of October, that half of their schools teachers will be on strike.

It means that Elise will be able to go in as her teacher isn't striking but Freya will miss out on a days education because her teacher deems it necessary to have that day off. I get that teachers work hard and I don't necessarily agree with the idea of performance based pay etc , but in all seriousness what do they think this strike is going to achieve?

The letter that was sent home to us, is making out like this strike is based on the fact that they care about our children and they think the government is putting unrealisitic pressure on our kids to reach targets, we all know that isn't the real reason they are striking, if they cared that much surely they would see that the children losing a days worth of valuable education isn't a solution to the problem at all.

I am very fortunate to be a stay at home mum, meaning that I am lucky enough to be around to look after my children but what about working parents? Some now need to lose a days pay because they will have to take a day off from work themselves to look after their children.

This whole thing really annoys me. If we were to take our children out of school for a day that wasn't because of an illness, at the very least it would be frowned upon and for most of us, it would be mean that we would be charged a fine as it would be unauthorised.

So how is it that teachers are able to get away with having a day off of school, how is that acceptable, surely the rules should work in reverse?? I think what they are doing is extremely irresponsible.

My 5 year old is now asking me why she can't go to school on Thursday when her sister can and I just don't know what to tell her.

Are any of your children having to have a day off from school next week because of teachers striking? What do you think about the whole situation??



  1. The strikes were last week round here, again some in, some out. Some of my colleagues who do get fined if they take their children out of school were talking about fining the school for the day.

    1. I think that would be fair, why is it one rule for some and a different one for others!!

  2. I hope the striking teachers aren't paid for the day they take off, as let's face it, parents will either face loss of pay or having to pay extra childcare costs (some at extremely last minute) because of it. I'm not sure what the schools round here are doing as my son's only at nursery now, but it drives me insane already.

    Other workers have performance related pay, and surely working in teaching, you have to make sure you achieve and your students achieve to the best of their ability. Yes it's a hard job, but most teachers do it because they choose to, not because they've fallen into it, like other workers do with their jobs.

    And madness that half a school are striking and the rest not. They should readjust it somehow, so all the children can go in and it's used as a different type of experience/teaching day by staff that are in.

  3. I'm really in two minds, I can understand the sentiment but I've always worked in the voluntary sector where the conditions are good but contracts are incredibly short term which puts a huge strain on us as a family, as we don't know where we are from one six month contract to the next, so I would feel we were losing out twice if that makes sense, I cannot strike about my situation but would pay extra childcare to compensate!

  4. I have deliberated for a while as to wether or not I should comment here, but decided I would

    Firstly I don't agree with schools fining parents for taking kids out of school. But that is not the teachers decision is it, its policy and government that makes the rules, not the teachers - they just have to live with it and deal with the wrath of the angry parents when they get fined.

    Secondly, just to get it out there, I used to be a teacher, but I choose not to be now. Partly because it is so frustrating that what education professionals know is best for children is not really taken into account when someone from the government makes a decision about education, and secondly because being a teacher totally consumes you. Its not just about the hours your kids are in school, its the time you take to plan, for 30 kids per class who are all at different levels and need different materials to support their learning, and the time you take to mark and assess and determine how to support them on the next step of the learning journey, it's about dealing with their emotional needs, organising school trips, attending parents evening, going to meetings, doing more training, keeping up to date on policy and practice. I worked in excess of 100 hours a week sometimes, and never less the 70 during term time, and probably between 15 and 30 hours a week on average in the holidays. I couldn't do this and raise a family so I would either have to compromise my parenting or my teaching if I attempted both - I chose to be a self employed low earner instead.

    On the salary, it is quite low considering the hours worked (packing shelves in a supermarket can pay more per hour) and the level of qualification required. To give it some perspective, a teachers aide working in the Northern Territory of Australia is on a higher rate of pay than a classroom teacher at the top of the pay scale in the UK. Plus the reality of being responsible for so many other peoples children all at once is quite demanding mentally so it is a very tiring job.

    I can't comment about other public sectors or even begin to compare as I don't have knowledge of the ins and outs. All I can say is that teachers generally do it for the love of it, for their passion for helping young people, and not for the money or the holidays. If they are striking about pay then I do think they have reason to, not just for themselves but for the future of education, as we need to be able to attract high quality teachers for the benefit of your children. If they are striking about policy then it is likely that something which will negatively affect the education of your child is being considered / imposed, and really, missing one day to try and make a permanent change for the better for al the following days is probably worth it.

    That said, I don't agree with striking either, and would always try and avoid it as a teacher for the exact reasons you say - it's a shame no one takes any notice of what teachers are saying unless they do strike though!

    I'm not sure what the solution is, but it is likely that the people that are educating your children are working very hard into their evenings and weekends to give the best they can for your child, possibly at the expense of their own family, and in many cases they don't even have a family because they are so busy with their job. How much is it worth to you that your children get a brilliant education? A little support from you would be great for the teacher, for the future of education and of course, for your children.

  5. On the issue of performance related pay for teachers, while it could be a good idea in theory I think it would be very hard in practice as teachers would then be given more incentive to work at good schools in nice suburbs with privileged children, and less incentive to work with children that are more academically challenged and or in poorer areas. We need good teachers everywhere, not just for the better off!


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