The Management of Substitution Cover for Teachers: Follow-Up Report
Northern Ireland Assembly Report NIA 20/10/11R, Second Report of Session 2010-2011 - Report Together with the Minutes of Proceedings of the Committee and the Minutes of Evidence Relating to the Report
- Northern Ireland Assembly - Public Accounts Committee
- TSO (The Stationery Office)
In 2003 the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) at Westminster reported that there was ineffective management of teachers' sickness absence, inadequate control over the re-employment of prematurely retired teachers and a lack of a review of substitute teaching in Northern Ireland.
The Department of Education accepted the Committee's conclusions and indicated that a range of actions would be put in place to deal with the weaknesses identified. Given such assurances, the current Committee expected the Department to have delivered measurable progress and is therefore surprised to learn that there has been little substantive evidence of this.
The current Committee concludes that the management of teacher absence and substitution cover is an area where there continues to be scope for improvement and savings to be achieved.
The Committee recommends:
(i) The system for coding teacher absence be streamlined by April 2011.
(ii) That the Department should ensure that the new management information system starts to produce regular benchmarking reports for employing authorities and schools showing, as a minimum, the headline rates of absence, associated substitution cover costs and the predominant reasons for absence.
(iii) An inspection process should be put in place which is capable of providing periodic assurance that the quality of substitution cover in schools meets required standards of teaching and learning.
(iv) Schools themselves should apply good practice principles in order to maximise the effectiveness of the teachers they use to provide substitution cover. This good practice should include:
mentoring by a clearly identified senior teacher;
provision of information about the abilities and attainment of pupils;
access to professional development opportunities;
and close monitoring by school senior management.
(v) Where substitution cover has been a feature in the running of a school the quality of this provision should be reviewed as part of the school's annual report to parents.
(vi) The Department and teacher employing authorities need to explore variations in sickness absence and benchmark the levels against each individual employing authority and local authorities in England to test whether there is any best practice that can be drawn on to drive forward further improvements.
(vii) The Department clearly define and narrowly prescribe the "exceptional circumstances" in which prematurely retired teachers can be re-employed.
(viii) The Department should consider amending the Local Management of Schools (LMS) regulations to prevent the practice whereby schools "top up" the payments made to prematurely retired teachers out of LMS budgets.
|Format||Paperback||Published||25 Nov 2010|
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