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49% of university teaching staff on insecure contracts

 
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 269

PostPosted: Fri Apr 15, 2016 2:01 pm    Post subject: 49% of university teaching staff on insecure contracts Reply with quote

New report lays bare endemic use of insecure contracts in UK universities

14 April 2016

The reliance of UK universities on insecure contracts, including zero-hours contracts, is laid bare in a new report from UCU published today

The report [503kb] finds that 54% of all academic staff, and 49% of teaching staff in UK universities are employed on insecure contracts, with the highest proportions concentrated in lower grades (below the level of senior lecturers and senior research fellow).

The report shows the percentage of teaching staff and the percentage of all academic staff employed by each university on non-permanent contracts. A large group of substantial-sized UK universities including the University of Oxford, City University London and the University of Stirling emerge amongst the worst offenders.

In January, UCU wrote to every UK university asking them to confirm their willingness to eradicate zero-hours contracts and conduct a joint review with the union on the use of insecure contracts at their institution. Just one in five universities (32 of 161) responded positively. Four out of five ignored the request or responded negatively.

The report highlights how the publicly available data on the numbers and types of insecure contracts used by universities is very poor. The report was compiled using the latest data published by the Higher Education Statistics Agency (HESA) but as it proved to be incomplete, it was supplemented with data gained from a Freedom of Information request that UCU submitted to every higher education institution in 2013.

UCU general secretary, Sally Hunt, said: 'The report shows that nearly half of university teaching staff are on insecure contracts - a scenario that is sure to shock university students and is far worse than universities will own up to.

'We know that someone's ability to do a good job is compromised if they are on an insecure contract. They often have poor access to basic equipment and facilities, can only get their job done by putting in unpaid hours, and are constantly stressed about future availability of work.

'This 'hire and fire' culture of insecure working at universities, particularly amongst teaching staff, needs to be urgently addressed because it is potentially a huge barrier to ensuring the future of high-quality teaching.'


https://www.ucu.org.uk/article/8165/New-report-lays-bare-endemic-use-of-insecure-contracts-in-UK-universities
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Captain Coddo



Joined: 04 Feb 2012
Posts: 45
Location: East Coast

PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 8:36 pm    Post subject: The Tefl Trap Reply with quote

It's not just the contract situation that is worsening, but combined with falling wages, Tefl is becoming a complete trap for the unwary.

When I did my first EAP summer course in 1996 the hourly rate was just under 20 quid. Now I see the same place advertising for Summer EAP teachers, and the hourly rate is ... just under 20 quid!

My advice is to avoid the Tefl Trap and get out now before things get even worse. If you don't want to become a 'proper' teacher and do a PGCE, then get the hell out now.

I got out some three years back, and have never regretted it!
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johncoan



Joined: 02 Jul 2010
Posts: 115

PostPosted: Mon Apr 25, 2016 11:00 pm    Post subject: Re: The Tefl Trap Reply with quote

Captain Coddo wrote:
It's not just the contract situation that is worsening, but combined with falling wages, Tefl is becoming a complete trap for the unwary.

When I did my first EAP summer course in 1996 the hourly rate was just under 20 quid. Now I see the same place advertising for Summer EAP teachers, and the hourly rate is ... just under 20 quid!

My advice is to avoid the Tefl Trap and get out now before things get even worse. If you don't want to become a 'proper' teacher and do a PGCE, then get the hell out now.

I got out some three years back, and have never regretted it!


I'm a bit tired of seeing these kinds of posts.

I know about 'the TEFL trap' (and have seen some evidence of it) but I really don't think working for a state school in the UK is any easier. It may provide security, but it's much more stressful, and for many, less enjoyable - and often less rewarding. I know many teachers based in the UK who are fed up with the difficulties they face on a daily basis - kids, parents, headteachers. The hours are hellish and many are burned out by 40.

I might come back to this later but if you have your head screwed on and are willing to move around a bit, a TEFL career can bring a lot of satisfaction.
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Captain Coddo



Joined: 04 Feb 2012
Posts: 45
Location: East Coast

PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 7:54 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I would agree that you need to move around to enjoy teaching EFL, but this only highlights how it sucks in the UK. Low pay, insecure contracts, and too many disreputable private employers mean that it really is quite difficult to make a proper living here, which is one (or rather three) of the reasons I abandoned the lark once I had decided to remain here.

But the assertions about state schools are quite wrong, and are probably based on anecdotal evidence. Well, my anecdotal evidence is quite different, and therefore just as valid (or irrelevant). At my kids' school parents evenings most of the teachers are above 40, show little sign of burnout, and I appreciate their expertise. Also, doing a PGCE opens many doors, not just to sink schools of the comprehensive variety - primaries, further education, and ... if I write anymore I'll be revealing how I managed to avoid The Tefl Trap!

NB: one of my local EFL schools is advertising for 'senior teachers ' with a Dip and umpteen years of experience. The salary offered is marginally better than that offered to Teaching Assistants in local primary schools!
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johncoan



Joined: 02 Jul 2010
Posts: 115

PostPosted: Tue Apr 26, 2016 8:43 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Captain Coddo wrote:


But the assertions about state schools are quite wrong, and are probably based on anecdotal evidence.


It's all I have!

Captain Coddo wrote:
Well, my anecdotal evidence is quite different, and therefore just as valid (or irrelevant). At my kids' school parents evenings most of the teachers are above 40, show little sign of burnout, and I appreciate their expertise.


Yeah, I'm sure there are many who do a fantastic job. Still - I wouldn't do what they do for the world. I'd rather work 4 hours a day teaching adults who are at least slightly motivated and relatively focused than work 10 hours a day teaching kids who, in the main, aren't.

Captain Coddo wrote:
NB: one of my local EFL schools is advertising for 'senior teachers ' with a Dip and umpteen years of experience. The salary offered is marginally better than that offered to Teaching Assistants in local primary schools!


It's shocking, isn't it? And I think it's getting worse.

Ho hum.
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 269

PostPosted: Sat Apr 30, 2016 1:39 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

johncoan wrote:
It's shocking, isn't it? And I think it's getting worse.


The University for the Creative Arts are currently advertising for an EAP Tutor with an MA or Dip for their summer presessional course. And how much do they pay per hour? You guessed it. A pitiful £15.37. Go figure.
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Captain Coddo



Joined: 04 Feb 2012
Posts: 45
Location: East Coast

PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 8:09 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Bricklayers in my area are required; adverts are offering £22.50 per hour. Bearing in mind that overtime is often done in the building trade, these guys should be getting about £250 per day.

EF teachers are also required, at rates of around £18 to £20 per hour. Bearing in mind that most EFL teachers do no more than five hours of teaching per day, that makes a daily rate of £100 per day at most.

Now, what was that somebody wrote about people doing useless degrees and ending up earning less than less educated people? It now seems that a course in bricklaying would be far more desirable than a degree in Media Studies from East London Uni.

Unless you really want to find yourself well and truly stuck in the Tefl Trap!
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Dedicated



Joined: 18 May 2007
Posts: 972
Location: UK

PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 8:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

What would possess a qualified EAP tutor to even apply for such an outrageously low rate of pay, when on the same website, similar positions on pre-sessional courses are offering 800 pounds a week - some with accommodation?

The problem is exacerbated by churning out about 12,000 CELTA and DELTA 'graduates' every year, so they become 'ten a penny', whereas there is a distinct shortage of bricklayers and plumbers.
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johncoan



Joined: 02 Jul 2010
Posts: 115

PostPosted: Sun May 01, 2016 9:03 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

and here's the Spanish supermarket chain Mercadona, offering a STARTING salary of 1269 euros:

http://1.bp.blogspot.com/-sd9iR95YZbU/VWD2WGPCo7I/AAAAAAAAg70/OV_uzlHTNU8/s1600/Mercadona.jpg

My mate's working full-time for a branch of a respectable, well-known chain of language schools in southern Spain and making quite a bit less.

I really don't want to swear again 'cos it looks crass. But, you know, this is terrible. Really really bad.
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 269

PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2016 12:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dedicated wrote:
What would possess a qualified EAP tutor to even apply for such an outrageously low rate of pay, when on the same website, similar positions on pre-sessional courses are offering 800 pounds a week - some with accommodation?


You speak as if these jobs are easy to get. Most are already gone before they are advertised. And anyway these jobs only last a few months and then you're back on the dole again thinking about why you ever got into TEFL in the first place.
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D. Amokachi



Joined: 15 Oct 2014
Posts: 60

PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2016 7:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

slapntickle wrote:
Dedicated wrote:
What would possess a qualified EAP tutor to even apply for such an outrageously low rate of pay, when on the same website, similar positions on pre-sessional courses are offering 800 pounds a week - some with accommodation?


You speak as if these jobs are easy to get. Most are already gone before they are advertised. And anyway these jobs only last a few months and then you're back on the dole again thinking about why you ever got into TEFL in the first place.


Yep. There are better paid positions available but there's a hell of a lot of competition to get them. I imagine people work for such low pay because they're not qualified to do anything else. So it's either teach (something I assume they vaguely enjoy) or work at Maccies/shuffle paper in some tedious admin job for a little less money.
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Dedicated



Joined: 18 May 2007
Posts: 972
Location: UK

PostPosted: Mon May 02, 2016 12:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

These 49% of insecure contracts roughly fall into 3 categories : PhD students, Professionals employed elsewhere (such as visiting lecturers, such as myself) and Limited term contracts (which refer to research staff and pre-sessional tutors).

Students arrive at university expecting to be taught predominantly by senior staff with permanent positions. Sadly that is not the case. PhD students often do much of the faculty teaching. Pre-sessional tutors are 'imported' and hired for a fixed period but rarely have the qualifications or experience to be considered for faculty positions.

As for the fixed term contracts, they are used where work only exists because it is linked to a particular short-term research funding source or project.
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slapntickle



Joined: 07 Sep 2010
Posts: 269

PostPosted: Tue May 03, 2016 2:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Dedicated wrote:
These 49% of insecure contracts roughly fall into 3 categories : PhD students, Professionals employed elsewhere (such as visiting lecturers, such as myself) and Limited term contracts (which refer to research staff and pre-sessional tutors).

Students arrive at university expecting to be taught predominantly by senior staff with permanent positions. Sadly that is not the case. PhD students often do much of the faculty teaching. Pre-sessional tutors are 'imported' and hired for a fixed period but rarely have the qualifications or experience to be considered for faculty positions.

As for the fixed term contracts, they are used where work only exists because it is linked to a particular short-term research funding source or project.


Long gone are the days when a university used to an organic whole. Now it is fragmented and farmed out to different private contractors so that the left hand doesn't know what the right is doing. It's a complete shambles.
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