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Question Plea for help!

3 years 11 months ago #38713 by oldburywellstech
Hi All

I am in a pretty tight situation at my school and I really need some advice/info from fellow technicians. Sorry about the monologue but I think it helps if you know the situation.

I am currently Head science technician at a secondary school with a sixth form. I have had this position since September 2015, before which I was a part-time technician.

When I was promoted to Head tech, my part time hours weren't replaced, and me and the other (part time) tech had such a hard time and it really affected us. Come February after A LOT OF pleading and nagging we finally got a new etch for 15 hours a week. A year on, she has handed in her notice and they are trying to replace her with less hours.

As I am sure you are aware, "G228: Technicians and their jobs" ( science.cleapss.org.uk/Resource/G228-Tec...s-and-their-jobs.pdf ) details an equation on how to work out how many technican hours a week you should have:

Technician hours = service factor x science teaching hours

Using the fewest possible points to calculate the service factor (0.7), we should "ideally" have 115 hours a week.

The ASE recommended service factor of 0.65 suggests we should have 107 per week.

The 0.45 service factor where "Functions will be markedly reduced" and "efficiency...will be impaired", comes out as 74.5 hours per week.

We are currently (before the 3rd tech left) at 73 per week.

The school is continuously growing, and a new line manager is pushing my work load up and up, and I am pretty much at my physical and mental breaking point.

Basically, I would like to know what others service factors and recommended hours per week are, and how your current hours per week compare.

Also I'd just like some advice because I feel so abandoned I have no idea what to do next.


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3 years 11 months ago #38715 by SteveKeys
very basic quick reply.

Look at how many tech hours you used to have and for how many years. Ask what has changed withing the dept to warrant X hours then and only Y hours now.

If there are less tech hours, what is being removed from the role to balance that out?

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3 years 11 months ago - 3 years 11 months ago #38716 by lauratop
Unfortunately your situation is not uncommon.
Here, we would need an extra 2 full time 52/52 techs to get a service factor of 0.7! (We're currently on 0.31!)

'Traditionally' there have always been 2 technicians at our school and I'm always told when I bring up the prospect of a third that there are no plans to increase that despite the fact we've increased from around 800 kids when I arrived 8 years ago to almost 1200 now....

Steve's advice is good though, if there are less of you to go around there will be less work done - ask for clarification as to what exactly they'd like you to stop doing!

With Performance Management season looming I'm building up to putting my argument for a third tech forward again - wish me luck....

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3 years 11 months ago #38717 by bluek
I have just worked out our service factor it comes out at 0.38! Below anything listed in the tables. We were already understaffed when we had a support staff restructure over two years ago and we were cut from full time to term time plus two weeks, I raised all the issues then but they fell on deaf ears, it was all just about the money they could save

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3 years 11 months ago #38718 by jessicat
Worked ours out a couple of weeks ago, I think it was .32. That week we delivered 62 practicals.

Our head of dept. is aware and very supportive but there is no way we will get any more staff. This is actually an improvement as we had 2 techs doing 3 days each, then one left and I was on my own doing 3 days for about 10 weeks.
The school planned to employ another part time tech but I explained that if that happened I was leaving. So two years ago we got a full time senior tech.

We work very well together and know that some weeks are crazy busy, but then others are quieter and we get some time to think.

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3 years 11 months ago #38719 by Baldilocks
I'm afraid that banging on about Service Factors is never going to help. The only statistics that the SMT care about are the "5 A* to C" type and there is no direct link between your efforts and those statistics that the bean counters can see.

Before I retired my service factor was 0.184 and the department survived because I was a Technician, not a universal gofer. This meant that I prepared solutions, repaired equipment, set things up, maintained stocks and other jobs of a Technical nature. I (almost) never did photocopying, glass washing, exam invigilating, room tidying, preparing documentation, researching obscure practicals on the whim of a rookie teacher.

In short, I did the things that only I could to with my technical expertise. Everything else was done by people who had the time or it wasn't done at all.

I enjoyed my job because I did the things that I did well and got appreciation for. I didn't do the mindless stuff like making trays look neat.

I suggest that you look at your technical skills and see what you can do well then just do a decent day's work of those things. You are not a reprographics tech, a cleaner, a clerical officer, an AV tech, a teaching assistant etc etc etc


“Do not believe everything you read on the Internet.” -Abraham Lincoln

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3 years 11 months ago #38722 by TecHKnow
I/we will be facing shortly a Job evaluation and I have a similar experience as oldburywellstech.
We lost two technicians five years ago and they were replaced by just one. The problem as I can see it, is that there is disagreement between myself and management over what exactly constitutes "The number of teaching hours", and they use this argument to fudge the CLEAPSS formula to their advantage.
I have a contract which states that in a science department of ten (use to be twelve) teachers I am only responsible to Five teachers. However, my argument is that while I can identify easily the four who are in my department, the fifth person is mysterious. Furthermore my argument implies that if a teacher of physics or Chemistry want a Biology practical set up, do I tell them that they are NOT ONE OF MY FIVE that i am responsible for?
Its complex. However, let's simplify this right down. if I am responsible for ten teachers, and we have a five hour teaching day (1 hour off for lunch and tea break) - therefore 25 hour teaching week. That equates to 250 hours total teaching time per week. On this basis the CLEAPSS formula is:
Technician hours = service factor x science teaching hours

Our service factor is 0.28 - Which I cannot believe is true.
So next I go back to my Job description which suggests that I am only responsible for five teachers. Applying the formula, the service factor rises to 0.52.
So the problem here is really an interpretation of the number of teaching hours per week. My argument is that when teacher DO NOT TEACH, I need to be available if necessary to help them.

So to answer your question I believe that our Service factor for a Grammar School (11-18yr olds 920 kids) is 0.52

Please consider buying me a drink for Christmas by making a donation to the website - Happy Christmas and Thank you!

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3 years 11 months ago #38723 by Baldilocks
On a related topic - let me tell you about my daughter.

She is dyslexic and didn't enjoy school but was good at manipulating the system. She managed to blag her way onto a motor mechanics course intended for non-academic boys. She came out of that with a distinction and on the back of that got an apprenticeship with Ford at a major dealership.

3 years later, having got her qualification she moved to a different dealership with promises of further training etc. After 5 years she realised that she was in a dead-end job and the promises were just so much hot air.

She gave in her notice and applied for a uni course with a view to following my footsteps (Medical Physics) or Mum's (Radiography).

Her last job wrote to her asking if she wanted to do some part-time work for them. They offered £7.60 per hour, zero hours contract, no sick or holiday pay.

She sent them back an advert for Aldi store assistant, £8.40 for a part-time contract, rising to over £10, sick and holiday pay, overtime opportunities.

There are other jobs, they might have better conditions, less stress and more pay than the one you're in.


“Do not believe everything you read on the Internet.” -Abraham Lincoln
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3 years 11 months ago #38746 by Leigh Preece
If I had to use that formula to work out my input to the amount of staff and, by comparison, had to measure it in moles, it would be the weakest solution ever made! You're looking 0.000.... something here!

Saying that, I'm getting an apprentice starting on Oct 31st after five years of flying solo so, at least, that's something.

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe.”

Albert Einstein
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