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Advice on Disclosure of Capability Proceedings Please

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Valkyrie77, Jun 27, 2016.

  1. Valkyrie77

    Valkyrie77 New commenter

    Hi, I'm hoping somebody can help with a couple of questions please! First some background: In May 2013 I went to see my Head for support as I was really struggling with the workload in the early stages of pregnancy after years of infertility, testing etc. She basically told me to suck it up because "that's teaching; that's what I expect from all my staff", and from that point on I couldn't do anything right- a few weeks later I was informed that I would be on formal capability proceedings in the new academic year. This was undertaken by the new Head as the old one retired that summer. I miscarried at 12 weeks but wanted to get back into school as I really thought they were 'supporting me' and wanted to prove I could do it and then (miraculously!) fell pregnant again in September. The new Head began the capability support plan in October and, to cut a very long story short, I ended up collapsing at work and was diagnosed with work-related stress and depression (and also a very difficult pregnancy with possible foetal heart problems requiring monthly scans etc) so ended up signed off until my maternity leave.

    I made the decision not to return after my maternity and officially resigned at Easter last year. I asked my Union Rep to negotiate me leaving without repaying the half pay element of my maternity package which was accepted. However, there was no mention of agreed reference, future employment etc (I didn't even think about this at the time). I have been a stay-at-home parent since then but am now starting to look for employment. I don't want to teach again (16 years was enough for me!) but love working with young people and am applying for some student support roles in schools which require a reference from my last employment involving children. So, I am now wondering:

    1) Does an unfinished capability procedure count as a disciplinary SANCTION for purposes of disclosure on an application form?

    2) I'm aware that it would be disclosed for teaching posts for 2 years following, but would that date go from the beginning of the procedure or the end of my employment, as I wasn't there to complete it? And what about non-teaching posts?

    3) Does the maternity pay count as a settlement which may be disclosed in a reference?

    4) Is it worth doing the Head the 'courtesy' of calling to discuss the fact that he'll be receiving reference requests for me and asking for a copy for myself (and maybe cheekily suggesting the member of SLT I trusted to help him, since he never knew me during my 10 years at the school)?

    Sorry about the essay! Hope somebody has a bit more of a clue than me! Thanks :)
  2. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Capability is not a disciplinary sanction. Disciplinary and capability are different things.

    The statutory obligation to disclose, if asked, whether there has been previously been capability proceedings is only if applying for a teaching post (School Staffing Regulations). It applies if you have been "the subject of the procedures" in the two years prior to the date when your previous school receives the request. The school must provide "written details of the concerns which gave rise to this, the duration of the proceedings and their outcome" so this would say whether the procedures had been completed.

    The relevance of this to you may be limited though because you haven't signed a Settlement Agreement. The requirement was introduced to ensure that even if a Settlement Agreement was in place capability procedures were still disclosed. In the absence of a Settlement Agreement the school must still disclose capability proceedings even if outside the scope of the Regulations, eg applying for non-teaching post or more than two years ago, if that is what the reference request asks.
    Last edited: Jun 27, 2016
    agathamorse and Valkyrie77 like this.
  3. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    I just want to add to @Rott Weiler 's comprehensive advice some related information.

    It is too late to do anything about it now but, actually, it looks to me that your Headteacher broke discrimination law about the way you were treated during your pregnancy. Women are protected from the kind of treatment you appear to have received from your Headteacher. It should never have got to a situation in which your capability became an issue. Your Headteacher had a legal duty to modify your role, or find you alternative work or, if neither of those was possible, to medically suspend you on full pay (with no detiment) until you were able to start your maternity leave.

    I am so sorry that such a poor experience at work came on top of difficulties in your pregnancies. I do hope that you are having a wonderful experience with your young child.

    Not for the first time I ask what on earth the union thought it was doing in this situation?
    agathamorse and Valkyrie77 like this.
  4. Valkyrie77

    Valkyrie77 New commenter

    Thanks for the advice, much appreciated. I'm now waiting for the Head to call me back so I can have a frank discussion about incoming reference requests and hopefully make the best of it all. It's been a bit strange not working for such a long time, but it's been fantastic to have had that time with my little man whilst he was a baby! It also made me realise that, at the end of the day, it was just a job- regardless of how much of my heart and soul I poured into it- and helped me re-evaluate my priorities. :)
  5. englishteach101

    englishteach101 Occasional commenter

    Well done, I'm glad you've re-evaluated your priorities and are putting yourself and your family first (congrats on the little dude too!). I would hope that with water under the bridge references will be adequate (they might not be glowing, but they should be on the positive side) as it would take a really vindictive head to still bear a grudge.

    As @GLsghost says, you've clearly been discriminated against and the school probably knows it so having let you keep the mat pay I wouldn't have thought they'd give you a cr@ppy reference now...
    Valkyrie77 and agathamorse like this.
  6. Valkyrie77

    Valkyrie77 New commenter

    Well, I feel that went really well. I think I caught him on the hop a bit as he had no idea why I wanted to talk to him (my sister thought he might be concerned I was going to sue or something lol)! I was advised to write a little script of what I wanted to say and get, which was invaluable. So, the upshot is that he will write any references in conjunction with the member of SLT that I suggested (the one I trust to be fair) and send me a copy. I also made it clear that I knew the law surrounding the disclosure of capability proceedings, so I'm happy with how the discussion went. I don't think I could've faced doing that a year ago, the thought of going back there made me feel sick with anxiety, so that was a pretty cathartic experience, all in all! First few job applications have been sent and I'm feeling positive about hopefully getting back to what I do best- supporting learners- just without the teaching workload! Thanks for the help!

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