Do teachers have to set cover work when ill?


Do teachers have to set cover work when ill?

The School Teachers Pay and Condition Document (STPCD) and the Burgundy Book does not include specific information on whether schools can request teachers to submit cover work when sick.

If you are an Edapt subscriber and you feel your school is being unreasonable with requesting you to set cover work when you are absent due to illness you can contact us for further advice and support.

You will want to read your school’s staff sickness absence policy for the procedures to follow when you are on sick leave.

We have also published another support article on the topic of sick leave you might find useful to look at.

In this support article, we look at procedures in different schools and link to information from Education Support on support during sick leave.

Do teachers have to set cover work when ill? 

What do different schools do?

Kelsey Primary School in Lincolnshire has a staff sickness and absence policy. It explains:

There will be no requirement for staff during absence to undertake any duties normally expected, for example planning and marking of work. It is not unreasonable however, for the school to request copies of medium term planning and records held at home to enable supply cover to function effectively, and provide continuity for the class. In such circumstances arrangements will be made for their collection.

At Learning Link Multi Academy Trust there is a sickness absence policy for staff. It explains:

Employees should report sickness absence to their line manager or other nominated person as soon as possible on the first day of absence, before the normal starting time (or the time agreed within the school) on the first day of absence. This should be done in person and not by a third party unless the employee is incapacitated.

From the first day until the end of the absence the member of staff in charge of cover arrangements must ensure that classes are covered and heads of department must ensure that work is set, marked and recorded and other management tasks re-allocated.

Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School in Derbyshire has a cover for absent colleagues policy. It explains that absent teachers in the case of an unplanned absence should:

  • Contact the school as soon as possible and before 07:30am at the latest 
  • Whenever possible inform the ELC and Curriculum Leader of lesson objectives and appropriate work including homework where appropriate for the classes on the first and subsequent days of absence

St Michael’s Prep School in Kent has a staff sickness absence policy. It explains the process which staff should take:

Absence due to sickness must be reported daily by 7.00am. For teaching staff you should report to the person responsible for cover in the Prep school and your Line Manager and for Pre Prep teachers to the Head/Deputy Head of Pre- Prep. 

Dealing with illness: a guide for teachers

Education Support has published a guide for teachers when dealing with illness in school. It explains 

Taking time away from school can be difficult due to the guilt you may feel towards your students and colleagues and the amount of work required to organise cover. Nonetheless, when ill, it is vital to look after yourself first and foremost. 

The guide includes tips for communicating with your team if you have a short-term illness:

  • Keep it brief – they don’t need to know the details, just that you are unwell
  • If it’s feasible to do so, it’s a good idea to pass on as much of the planning, etc. that you have already prepared
  • Again, if possible, let your team know where your classes are up to in their curricula, to take the pressure off you providing daily cover work

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The information contained within this article is not a complete or final statement of the law.
While Edapt has sought to ensure that the information is accurate and up-to-date, it is not responsible and will not be held liable for any inaccuracies and their consequences, including any loss arising from relying on this information. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence. If you are an Edapt subscriber with an employment-related issue, please contact us and we will be able to refer you to one of our caseworkers.