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Question One and only technicians

3 years 5 months ago #39646 by Annie
If you are the one and only technician in your school please could I ask:
How many hours per week?
Full time or term time only?
How many pupils?
How many labs?
How many science teachers?(full or part time)
Age range of pupils (KS3 to....?)

Have also posted same request on Scitech.

I'm feeling hard done by :hb so looking for ammo :fight :evil:

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3 years 5 months ago - 3 years 5 months ago #39647 by TecHKnow

Annie wrote: If you are the one and only technician in your school please could I ask:
How many hours per week?
Full time or term time only?
How many pupils?
How many labs?
How many science teachers?(full or part time)
Age range of pupils (KS3 to....?)

Have also posted same request on Scitech.

I'm feeling hard done by :hb so looking for ammo :fight :evil:


Hi Annie,
If every technician in the UK, posted their answer to this question, this would not give you any real useful ammo to help you fight whatever cause your concerned about.
Instead, you need to take a different approach. Without making assumptions, if you are feeling "hard done by" , you really need to consider both Health and Safety legislation, together with personal time management to create your "ammo".
CLEAPSS should be able to advise on the former, likewise any trade union representatives. In the first instance, look at the Management Health and Safert regulations (2000). This places considerable legal duties on management to ensure the health safety of all employees.
In the latter case "Time management", this is simply learning to both prioritise what is important together with the strength and courage to tell those who place Hugh demands on your time to say "no", "I am busy", can you come back later". You should be given both the authority and the freedom to prioritise your time as you professionally see fit.
Take a look on the TecHKnow Wiki area. I remember an article that I put up years ago about time management.

[UPDATE TO POST: This is now on the front page of the site], But also check out other info on Management H&S regs in our Wiki section

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3 years 5 months ago #39651 by JimSloan
I echo what Seamus is saying too but I'm after a moan too so currently:

36.5 hours per week
Full Time
650 pupils
6 Labs
7 Teachers
KS3 to KS5
Service factor of about 0.4

However next year we're amalgamating with the school across the road and I shall have:

Me, myself and I across 2 sites 5 minutes apart 36.5 hours
Full time
1450 pulils
13 labs
12/13 teachers
KS3-KS5
Service factor of around 0.2

So yeah, I'm looking forward to next year :D

A scientist is always fine
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3 years 5 months ago - 3 years 5 months ago #39655 by Kasey

JimSloan wrote: I echo what Seamus is saying too but I'm after a moan too so currently:

36.5 hours per week
Full Time
650 pupils
6 Labs
7 Teachers
KS3 to KS5
Service factor of about 0.4

However next year we're amalgamating with the school across the road and I shall have:

Me, myself and I across 2 sites 5 minutes apart 36.5 hours
Full time
1450 pulils
13 labs
12/13 teachers
KS3-KS5
Service factor of around 0.2

So yeah, I'm looking forward to next year :D



I feel quite lucky now!
Only 5 teachers, 5 labs and 540 pupils....
(Just worked it out, my service factor is 0.39.)
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3 years 5 months ago - 3 years 5 months ago #39657 by TecHKnow
I can never get my head around this thing called service factor. Too dam difiicult to calculate. somebody will need to guide me through it. Howver, to add to the above here is mine

920 pupils
36.5 hours per week
10 Labs
9 Teachers (1 does Home economics)
5 Prep rooms
Two technicians Full time (myself as senior technican (Biology) + one covering Chem/Phys)
Junior First years through to A2 level

...and a partridge in a pear tree! :r

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3 years 5 months ago #39658 by Annie

TecHKnow wrote:

Annie wrote: If you are the one and only technician in your school please could I ask:
How many hours per week?
Full time or term time only?
How many pupils?
How many labs?
How many science teachers?(full or part time)
Age range of pupils (KS3 to....?)

Have also posted same request on Scitech.

I'm feeling hard done by :hb so looking for ammo :fight :evil:


Hi Annie,
If every technician in the UK, posted their answer to this question, this would not give you any real use.


But I'm not asking every technician, just those who are the one and only science ones!
I merely wanted to gauge whether cutting the science technical support from two to one for schools with similar circumstances was reasonable/doable.

After Easter, owing to my colleagues retirement, we will be reduced from 2 technicians 37 hrs per week term time only to one technician(me!) 37 hours term time only.
This is to cover:-
~1400 pupils
10 labs
15 teachers
KS3-KS5

I realise that the Yr13s and 11s will be finishing in May but then we get inundated with 'taster days' and transition weeks etc. It is also the time to stock up; order; check all eye protection; check Bunsens etc etc
I can't do it all.

I had quite a few replies on Scitech but unfortunately a lot had misread and weren't from sole technicians so I didn't have time to sort and digest!

Roll on September when I also retire. :cp
I feel very sorry for any replacement technician as absolutely no overlap is going to take place. All my little pearls of wisdom, hints and tips to pass on but no one there!

But any one can wash test tubes can't they :unsure: :ch :ch

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3 years 5 months ago #39659 by D.B.Ferguson
Perhaps they'll get Chesney Hawkes

Technicians: providing solutions and more.

David Ferguson B.Sc.
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3 years 5 months ago - 3 years 5 months ago #39660 by TecHKnow

I merely wanted to gauge whether cutting the science technical support from two to one for schools with similar circumstances was reasonable/doable


Reasonable - No
Doable - Yes

My Sister who is a teacher has just one technician in her department. 1100 students and they somehow work just fine. In The South of Ireland, there is no such thing as Science Technicians. They get on alright. We had three technicians in my School up until six years ago. redundancy brought us down to two. We have survived.

Anne, my points above are this. We are essentially moving back to the future. In the current economical climate, technician support in schools will be cut back to its absolute minimum support. Existing Technicians,will be expected to do more. Those Technicians that leave now and who are replaced will find that contractually will have to do more.

Without any intended offence, my initial reply to your post was made on an assumption that you are worried about your impending change. This is perfectly understandable and realistic.

However, You could have two schools in the same locality 500 meters apart. Both teaching Junior Science up to AS/A2 level (KS5), both having similar intake of students on their role and both having two technicians.

If both schools decided to cut the science technical support from two to one, this will be economically feasible in both schools and it is quite possible - (for a whole host of reasons), one school might see their students science academic results affected and the other....might not!

It's not your fault. Its the teachers who are the front of the class. All we do is to try and provide the best support to the teachers that is possible.

I have witnesses many colleagues over recent years adapt, change and continue providing great support within their science department, set against the increased workload and pressure. Their reasons for doing this is a debate for another Post.

I have also witnessed other excellent, brilliant fantastic technicians and friends who have decided "enough is enough". They have handed in their resignation and decided to take their qualifications and skills on to other jobs/professions which value and respect them higher.

You say in your post that "You are feeling hard done by" Please Anne, I hope my reply does not annoy you. That's not my intention. Please re-read my first post advice to you on this subject. I assure you it is good advice.

Then make the call....."Should i stay or Should I go"
(The Clash - 1982)

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3 years 5 months ago - 3 years 5 months ago #39661 by Baldilocks
I'm afraid that I have to disgree with Seamus above on one or two points.

Firstly, when I was at school we had 2 secretaries, one technician, one caretaker and some cleaners. Everyone else was a teacher.
Since then the number of 'fluff' jobs has proliferated with exam officers, cover supervisors, reprographic technicians and an astonishing variety of others, most of which are there to support teachers so that they teach less but do more work that the government agencies want them to do - statistics, marking in 3 different colours etc etc.

I worked in schools that taught Wikid and similar. Most lessons were practical but were so intensive that the technicians were exhausted and the kids had little idea what they were learning - but they loved it.

My last school was the opposite. My predecessor (lone tech) didn't do science. She loved data entry, issuing books, photocopying, She bought all solutions ready-made and most practicals were demos. New teachers were told 'We don't do that here' if they asked for a glassware-intensive practical. The dishwasher was almost exclusively used for coffee mugs.

When I arrived the teachers were shocked that we could afford so much more because I made up solutions, created equipment and repaired rather than replaced.

But these teachers had been taught differently so that when my arthritis slowed me down they really weren't too affected. I was doing Technical work, the teachers were doing their own admin, book issuing and photocopying the same as their colleagues in maths, geography and PE. The kids were taught to tidy away and wash up just as they already do in cookery, electronics and the workshops.

This is why the Service Factor is such a nonsense. A specified number H of teacher contact hours per week (the core value of the SF) can result in 2H hours of technician time to buy, set up, issue, collect, clean up, wash up and put away for a scheme like Wikid. Alternatively you could have H/10 technician hours where the tech only does technical stuff that the teachers are not able to do.

You need to look around your school. How hard are people at your level of pay working? Do they race around and never stop or have they plenty of time to sit, think or chat? Or something in between? That is where you need to be - neither frazzled nor torpid, but a comfortable, honest employee.

Anything above that goes out of the window.

Ian

“Do not believe everything you read on the Internet.” -Abraham Lincoln
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3 years 5 months ago #39662 by Annie
Thank you all, particularly Seamus and Ian for your advice and pointers.
I will endeavour to continue to do my job to the best of my ability and toughen up to say NO to unreasonable requests. (I did consider taking the stance that if it's a task my colleague invariably does then I won't do it but I'll have to take each day as it comes and choose sensibly)

When I wrote I felt hard done by I think it's more our role is being hard done by than me personally as I am due to retire soon too anyway.
I wonder sometimes if senior management are ever made aware of all the innovations we suggest, and the implementations of which often make the lessons easier and more successful for the teachers and more enjoyable for the pupils.
Is credit being given to the right quarters? Or are improved results seen to be the sole work of the persons delivering the lesson?
I still feel sorry for the person ( or possibly persons) taking over from me in September as there will be no transition at all let alone a smooth transition. It's a big school!
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3 years 5 months ago - 3 years 5 months ago #39664 by bsimmo
In all honesty, the teachers can do it all, some schools are like that.
There are just 12* practicals teachers now need to think about and then they don't actually have to do them. A demo, a video will be fine.
Kids don't need skills, they just need to know how to pass that test at the end of the 2 or 3 years, even for A-Level.


*I think it's also 12 at GCSE, don't know as we rack up a lot of intense practicals here and all are just in the normal everyday scheme that we've been doing and just juggled it a bit for the newer GCSE.
Service factor is calculated very low, mainly as we are TTO and it'll be lower after Easter. But I am skilled and do all subjects and all years.
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3 years 5 months ago #39676 by JimSloan

TecHKnow wrote:
Then make the call....."Should i stay or Should I go"
(The Clash - 1982)


Well, I've had enough! I don't intend to be here for the amalgamation. I've a couple of interviews on the horizon and hopefully I'll be moving to pastures greener.

A scientist is always fine

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3 years 5 months ago #39718 by shari
I have been reading this with great interest, I am trying to decide if I can do this, as my school is making redundancies at the moment. We have 3 techs at the moment overall 85 hours between us. They want to cut that to one with 37 hours a week, 800 Students, yr7-13 8 teachers.
I don't know whether to cut and run or fight to keep my job ( I have been there 27 years) I suppose my question is will it kill me!!!!!

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3 years 5 months ago #39719 by TecHKnow

sharonlomax wrote: I have been reading this with great interest, I am trying to decide if I can do this, as my school is making redundancies at the moment. We have 3 techs at the moment overall 85 hours between us. They want to cut that to one with 37 hours a week, 800 Students, yr7-13 8 teachers.
I don't know whether to cut and run or fight to keep my job ( I have been there 27 years) I suppose my question is will it kill me!!!!!


Difficult question for anyone to answer from a distance. The only person who can really answer that is yourself.

To help you arrive at an answer, when somebody is made redundant, then the post is gone forever. Will you be expected to take on the additional duties? If so, then somehow, there needs to be a discussion on making arrangements allow you to cope or handle these additional duties. For example, staff must give two weeks notice for practicals instead of one, or perhaps some practicals may need to be demoed instead of done on a class basis or even practicals dropped altogether.

I certainly would not take on any additional duties unless you had proper representation from your trade union.

Five years ago, we had three single subject technicians. I did Biology. Voluntary redundancy was offered and two colleagues accepted the offer and left. They hired a science technician to do the Physics and Chemistry and as the senior technician expected me to move across into being a multi-disciplinary all singing and dancing technician looking after 1000 students, across yr8-13 with ten science teachers, nine labs and five prep rooms.

I said no. I cited health and safety concerns and told them that unless substantial changes were made to current working practices I would not consider moving from Biology into being a multi-disiplinary technician.

So far they have done nothing against me.

You may have personal reasons as to why you wish to keep your job. For example, I'm 53 this year and highly qualified. But it would difficult for me to find another job at my age, in my locality, especially one that pays equal to or better than what I am currently on today after 25 years in the post (£20,000 full time p.a). So I have made personal choices to stay and defend my territory so to speak.

You may be able to find a job and use this as a bargaining point to force management to implement any changes you feel it necessary to help you do your job without the job "killing you"

Good luck. Keep us updated as to how you get on.

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3 years 5 months ago #39720 by shari
Thank you, you make some good suggestions. I will let you know how it goes!

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3 years 5 months ago #39721 by Baldilocks

sharonlomax wrote: I have been reading this with great interest, I am trying to decide if I can do this, as my school is making redundancies at the moment. We have 3 techs at the moment overall 85 hours between us. They want to cut that to one with 37 hours a week, 800 Students, yr7-13 8 teachers.
I don't know whether to cut and run or fight to keep my job ( I have been there 27 years) I suppose my question is will it kill me!!!!!


So the school is in turmoil and major changes are on the horizon. The school will change, the staff will change and your job will change. That is a given.

But what is not a given is that you will have to do the work of 2.3 (85/37) technicians. The work will change.

What I suggest that you do is look at how you 3 work with a view to re-shaping your job in a way that will allow the department to function adequately but within your skill set and without abusing you.

Non-technical jobs must go, but so will much of your thinking time. Tidying labs will go, ordering, preparation, collecting and tidying must become more mechanical and efficient and departmental priorities must be set and adhered to (eg when A level practicals are on then glassware-intensive pracs in the lower school are unlikely to happen).

I suggest that you approach your HOD with a worked-out strategy that suits you but which keeps the department working. If HOD doesn't like it, and can't come up with an alternative that you are comfortable with, then it is time to look elsewhere.

Good luck.

Ian

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

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3 years 5 months ago #39722 by AndyG
The one thing that hasn't really been flagged up is that of lone working.

Administration is a perfectly reasonable lone working task however diluting acids/alkalis, maintaining the radiation store, working at height, working with powered tools, heavy lifting etc all require some measure of oversight or assistance. Unless teachers volunteer to be overseers, it will necessarily be a paid employee who will do it - would that be a technician on technician rates or a teacher on teacher rates?

Seems to me of much more benefit to 'employ' an apprentice technician ...

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