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Advice please help

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by funkyyay, Jul 18, 2019.

  1. funkyyay

    funkyyay New commenter

    I’m a dht yesterday had asked for time to go my son’s preschool end of year leavers concert. The head wasn’t happy so I asked if I could switch my ppa and use that time.
    I went into school in the morning to ensure everything was set up and left just before 9 to get son to school.
    My husband has an infection in his tooth and was in agony and face swolllen so he managed to get an appointment back at dentist. They arranged for him to go straight to a and e at a hospital an hour drive away! He needed urgent care and an iv of antibiotics. So I had to take him. We have nobody else around to help out.
    I called school the head wasn’t in so left a message on his mobile explaining about my husband and I wouldn’t be back in school as it was an emergency!
    He never replied! Then I recieved an email saying he wants to meet me to clarify some points from yesterday morning.
    I don’t get it?
    When we finally got back from the hospital last night after 7 hours I called head and he didn’t answer so again I left a message to say I wouldn’t be in today! My husband is in no fit state to be left and he cares for our 21 month son during the day!
    Again this morning I still haven’t had a reply!

    Sorry for long post but am I in any way in the wrong? I suffer from anxiety and it’s through the roof from this. However I have to be there for my husband and children as we have no childcare. I deem this to be an emergency situation.

    Thanks for reading and hopefully replying
  2. steely1

    steely1 Occasional commenter

    I would say you are not in the wrong - it's not as if you haven't been keeping your Headteacher in the loop at what is clearly a challenging time for you. However, it sounds like the Headteacher not being happy about you swapping your PPA time around in the first instance (doesn't sound an unreasonable request to me) is the sticking point?

    I'm not a huge fan of the SLT at my school but one thing I know I can count on is that when I have a personal emergency of some kind, they are always sympathetic and advise me to take the time I need (providing that I leave things covered where need be in teaching terms).

    I hope things improve for you and that a good summer holiday beckons.
    Last edited: Jul 18, 2019
  3. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    What's done is done. Some people don't reply to messages promptly - no doubt the head was busy. He may well have been cross about the situation and fed up with you. if you hadn't asked for the time to go to your little ones concert he might have been more sympathetic. In my opinion, a dh shouldn't do that. You'll have a long list of justifications why you should do it but I wont be agreeing with you. Time off for an emergency is a different matter but you need a back up for child care. Everyone needs a back up for when there is an emergency that goes on for more than one day. The head may well be annoyed with you for being absent, everyone is easily annoyed at the end of term .My advice would be to go in prepared to say that you wont ask for time off for concerts/ assemblies in the future and you will work out a child care back up. If you suffer from anxiety you must create sustainable conditions that will give you security. If you say you cant do this, then you'll be stuck with high stress.
  4. Oldfashioned

    Oldfashioned Senior commenter

    Look at the state of this. Why on earth should anyone miss their child's performances just because they are a member of management? Oh, and when your child is ill, you are the back up!
  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Did you specifically ask for a reply?

    So a busy HT digested these facts and got busy doing whatever it was that had to be done.

    OK, it would have been better if he'd replied: OK, understood. See you tomorrow or ASAP. Just do what you need to do.

    But maybe he was in a state and knew himself well enough NOT to upset the applecart by having a bit of a rant about how inconvenient this all was etc etc.

    You sorted your child and you sorted your husband. Work has had to take second place. Fix them and then get back to work when you can. It's the end of the year. Show me someone who isn't absolutely at the end of their tether!

    Can everyone just cut everyone else a bit of slack, please.
  6. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    I think there are two issues here. Any parent has the right to ask if they could go to a child's concert but if a non-teaching/reduced teaching deputy is allowed to move their PPA time around, but what of other staff/teachers - can they? I have been lucky to have had frees when my son's class had one assembly but alas, not the others. I was also able to go to his nativity play as I could rearrange cover but I didn't ask for his sports day, etc. I wonder how many requests from other teachers were turned down by the OP's HT for time to go to children's events? I wonder if other staff felt it was a bit unfair?

    As for the tooth - that is indeed a separate issue. Perhaps see if you can form a Plan B for the future?
  7. funkyyay

    funkyyay New commenter

    Thanks for replies,
    It is a tricky situation especially at the busy end of year not ideal at anytime.
    Hopefully I’ll get back in tomorrow and just deal with it then.
    agathamorse and grumpydogwoman like this.
  8. funkyyay

    funkyyay New commenter

  9. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    As a former DHT I missed the vast majority of my children's school related events...That's life. If you want to prioritise your children even during working hours*, don't apply for promotion.

    *Weekends/holidays are, of course, different.
  10. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    They didn't answer because they have questions, so emailing is too complicated.
    They want to talk to you because you were away for two different reasons.
    Absence procedure generally follows the unofficial line that the more different reasons for absence, the more worthy the situation is of "chatting about".
    Only you know if there is an additional context of other recent absences for any other reason.
    In short, it's something they need to talk to you about, not something they would like to correspond about.
    All that is required is that you tell what you have told us here, and probably discuss contingency plans for the likelihood of this happening again.
    Of course, your HT will begin "is there anything I can do to help...?".
  11. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

    That's a bit harsh. There have been discussions about teachers asking for time off to attend their children's functions before on here and answers are very divided. It is important to child and parent and there is no harm in asking ooccasionally. . Emergencies can't be forseen and family should always come first. Back up childcare cannot suddenly be conjured up out of thin air and as the previous poster says, ultimately it is the parents responsibility. . A bit of give and take never hurts. The Op can always offer to do a extra duty in return.It's a job. Family comes first everytime. Op I hope your husband is recovering. I had a dental abscess last year- the pain was unbearable. I sympathise.
    ViolaClef, funkyyay and agathamorse like this.
  12. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I don't know how your school works, but phoning the head in the evening to have a chat about absence isn't the usual way of things, so it isn't surprising that he didn't answer the phone. He was probably trying to have a break from work.

    It isn't surprising that a head wants a quick chat about what happened. You nipped off for an hour or so to go to a preschool leavers concert (what on earth?!?!?!) and didn't come back for two days. Of course there needs to be a discussion.

    You've done nothing wrong, but need to sort something better for the future.
    mothorchid, CWadd, Pomza and 2 others like this.
  13. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Family comes first every time?


    Not really.

    Medical emergency? Yes. Of course. Absolutely.
    Kid's concert? No.

    I can think of lots of family events and issues which do NOT take priority over employment. You can always ask but don't ever be upset if such a request is denied.

    Sometimes family comes first. Sometimes.
    mothorchid and Laphroig like this.
  14. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Son's event - irrelevant to main issue (but may have influenced reaction because we're all human, and tired at the end of term). Always a contentious one, and schools differ greatly in their attitude on this. Just bear in mind the number of potential occasions you might want to attend, and think about what's most important. First day at school drop-off, nativity play, special assembly when he's got a role, sports day, open afternoon, etc. If you use up the goodwill too soon, you might get a no when it's something really major.

    Emergency care for a partner needing taking to A&E - absolutely. Staying at home with partner not fit to leave - ideally you'd see if a friend or neighbour could pop in. Childcare not available (incapacity of parent in this case, but could be sick childminder, sick child not allowed to nursery) - with the best will in the world, many people do not have anyone to call on, especially at short notice. You can try and cultivate some friendships with stay-at-home/part-time parents - make use of the holidays to offer to give them a day off, and you'd feel easier about giving them a call in an emergency. But sometimes there is no other option but to take time off yourself. I remember a colleague bringing her 3 year old to school - the childminder was ill, and it was either that or stay at home; the school was pragmatic about it - she stayed in the team room if anyone was free to keep an eye on her, or sat and coloured in mum's classroom.

    Hopefully everything will be okay once the head's recovered from suddenly having you unexpectedly unavailable, and realises that it was just bad luck that this happened when he was already a bit annoyed at you moving PPA around. Like others have said, it's the end of term and everyone's probably reacting badly because they're tired.
  15. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    I can still feel my hackles rising when I remember the teacher who said "It's alright for you, you don't have child care problems" No, I didn't .I took 8 years off work and no I wasn't lucky that we could afford our mortgage on one salary, we planned it that way and were very broke for 8 years, no luck involved.
    The same teacher said "My husband cant do it, he's used up all his leave." :mad:
    Yes, I can bear a grudge for a long long time.
    agathamorse and grumpydogwoman like this.
  16. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    I have always taken time off to attend my child’s events, when I have been in both the most junior and senior roles (and everything in between!). It’s never been an issue, in any school I have worked in.
  17. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Our staff often take time to attend their kid’s things - as long as nobody is taking advantage and taking too much time, I don’t see any problem with it.
  18. AnotherDayAnotherHassle

    AnotherDayAnotherHassle New commenter

    Sounds really harsh - but your HT probably just wants to know what happened!
  19. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

    Pomza-you sound like a wonderful head to work for. It's a shame not more heads are like you. Your staff and pupils are lucky .I bet your school is a happy school.
  20. sparklepig2002

    sparklepig2002 Star commenter

    [QUOTE="Pomza, post: 12874145, member: 2722857]
    It’s never been an issue, in any school I have worked in.[/QUOTE]

    Same here.
    funkyyay likes this.

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