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Advice/support on sick leave

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Loulou110, Oct 1, 2015.

  1. Loulou110

    Loulou110 New commenter

    I have been signed off work today for two weeks with anxiety and work related stress. I called the school to let them know about this. 5 minutes later I received an unpleasant phone call from the headteacher. In the phone call the headteacher accused me of lying and saying I am causing problems for the school as they are having to get supply in. I'd had a tough week at work and received some negative feedback which has created this anxiety. The HT said I was making excuses and said it seems suspicious that after negative feedback I am off work with stress. I have been prescribed medication to prevent/manage the panic attacks I have been having. I have been left feeling very upset over the matter. I was hoping to return to work feeling less stressed after these 2 weeks, however I am worrying about the reception I will receive when I return.
    I am in the processing of contacting my union about the situation.
  2. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    I hope your union are supportive. That sounds like a horrible phone call.
  3. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Do not answer your phone (give family/close, non school, friends etc a 'code' so they can phone you and ignore all others calls).
    CWadd and ilovesooty like this.
  4. RedQuilt

    RedQuilt Star commenter

    Make sure you make a written record of what your Head said, with timings etc.
    Folkfan's suggestion is really good!
    ilovesooty and snowyhead like this.
  5. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    "In the phone call the headteacher accused me of lying and saying I am causing problems for the school as they are having to get supply in... The HT said I was making excuses and said it seems suspicious that after negative feedback I am off work with stress."

    It never ceases to amaze me how stupid some heads can be. What on earth did s/he think would come of saying such things, other than terrifying the OP and potentially putting him/herself in the mire for bullying?
    CWadd, ilovesooty and snowyhead like this.
  6. Loulou110

    Loulou110 New commenter

    Thank you for your advice, I have it all written down. I could really do without it right now.
    I am planning on going back to work after the two weeks and I am hoping to find another job and resign at Christmas. Does anyone know if this sick leave will be put on my reference? If yes, is it seen in a negative way to future employers?
  7. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    No, it shouldn't; two weeks of sick leave is neither here nor there and in any case, your sickness absence record is not supposed to be mentioned on your reference. Some schools, however send reference requests in the form of a proforma, asking questions like 'How many days has the applicant been absent from school in the last (year, 3 years, whatever)'.

    As I said, two weeks wouldn't put off a head from looking at your application and considering you for interview (I can't promise you'll get an interview, obviously, as I don't know you or the quality of your applications, etc!)
    snowyhead likes this.
  8. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    What a horrible situation you are in! @Loulou110

    As your sick note (or well note, or whatever they call'em!) mentions work-related stress, you should e-mail the Head's secretary saying something along these lines (if it is true of course - I am just thinking aloud here). Very formal but polite.

    Dear X

    As you know, I have been told by my GP that I am suffering from anxiety and work-related stress. You will understand that in these circumstances I am unable, for the sake of my health, to receive any phone-calls, letters, e-mails, visits or other communication with my workplace.

    I currently hope to return to work on (date). If, however, my health does not improve sufficiently to make this possible, I shall inform you as soon as is practicable.

    Will you please ensure that all members of the school staff know that i should not be receiving communications? Thank you for your help over this matter on which my successful recovery may depend.
  9. llowe25

    llowe25 New commenter

    Thank you, that is really useful!
  10. Loulou110

    Loulou110 New commenter

    Thank you. It is useful and I would never think of words like that on my own.
  11. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I'm reckoned to write a pretty good letter, @Loulou110 . ;)
    monicabilongame likes this.
  12. jangrey

    jangrey New commenter

    I am really sorry to read what you have been going through, I am on a month sick leave due to stress, I have worked at the same school for 14 yrs and have been in the profession for 22yrs, I know I am well liked by staff and parents and the children(reception) do well in my class, I have struggled with anxiety for years and as a result like to keep the same TA as I know this helps me, but each year my head insists on changing my TA, even promises me someone then changes her mind because an NQT is struggling and needs a stronger TA, I understand all this but what about my health and well being? I am worried sick now about going back in three weeks and am even thinking of resigning. I think the comments made on this thread are really good and your head is definitely not allowed to contact you and say such things. I know we now have to jump through so many hoops with paper work that often actually teaching the kids seems to take second place and this feels so wrong, so take care and be strong, I have found that talking to a therapist can help xx
  13. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    People do like digging holes for themselves, I must say. Horrible situation, please do not let it get to you. Your HT does not sound as though they are aware of what the protocol is for this situation. Which is very worrying!

    1. Who covers you or pays for it when you're absent is not your problem. The HT has no right to claim you are causing problems.

    2. Your HT - no member of staff in fact, not HoDs/HoFs etc, should be contacting you if you are signed off and there is documented evidence to prove this. When someone's off sick, they should not even be emailing in cover.

    3. Talk to your Union ASAP - regional level, not school rep. What your HT has done would constitute harassment, if they are not careful.

    4. Ring the Teacher Support Network - you can find their number online.

    5. Try to focus on getting better.
  14. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    CWadd said: "Your HT - no member of staff in fact, not HoDs/HoFs etc, should be contacting you if you are signed off and there is documented evidence to prove this."

    Just to clarify - a good employer should keep in touch with an employee, but this should be 'positive' contact and should not in any way constitute any sort of harassment, e.g. demanding to know when the person will return, demanding that they do some work or set work, etc. The employer should also make the signed-off employee aware of any 'news' which might affect them, e.g. an internal promotion being advertised.
  15. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    I worked with one HT who would get his PA to phone to ask about staff illness if there was a concern about stress etc., rather than phoning himself or getting a member of SLT to do so, as he felt it would be less threatening.

    Of course that was before wide use of email, and I guess that I would use email today, were I still working....

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