1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Am I being discriminated against for being pregnant?

Discussion in 'Pregnancy' started by miss_c, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. miss_c

    miss_c New commenter

    Hi all,
    over the past 2 months I have been organising a school trip for a class I have taught for 2 years. It is a day trip to a destination about 150 miles away. I am 27 weeks pregnant and will be 29 weeks pregnant on the day of the trip.
    I was informed yesterday by a member of management that I will not be allowed to go on the trip as a result of my pregnancy. Apparently it is a health and safety issue, in case I go into labour on the bus, or something. He was quite vague about it and certainly didn't show me any paperwork to back up the decision that a woman in her 29th week of pregnancy is not fit to go on a school trip.
    What do people think about this? I am very hurt and very angry and have already drafted a letter to the head outlining the many reasons I think this is an unfair and unreasonable decision. My HOD has advised me not to send the letter as I don't want to get on the wrong side of management (especially with maternity leave looming and trying to negotiate a new part time post to come back to etc.).
    Should I pursue what I feel to be unfair treatment? Or am I overreacting?

  2. I know that when you fly when pregnant you can get a 'fit to travel' letter signed by your GP. Perhaps you could get one of those and when you give it to the Head just smile and say how grateful you are that they care so much about your welfare but that the doctor assures you that you'll be fine? If you come across as grateful for their 'caring nature' (pah!) rather than angry (which you quite rightly are!) then I can't see how they can be narky with you. Good luck! [​IMG]
  3. It's the same situation at our school. You aren't allowed on any trips once you've informed the powers that be that you're pregnant. The reasoning is that there is a higher risk of something happening to you and if you had to go to hospital (and another member of staff had to go with you) then the ratios of staff to pupils will be insufficient.
    I personally would be very hurt and angry as this should have been pointed out to at the beginning when you started planning your trip if you had told the school then and certainly should have been discussed in your risk assessment so you had plenty of warning, (this is where I found out that I couldn't go on any school trips.) So I don't think your over-reacting at all. However it is very easy to send a letter/e-mail when you're angry and then regret it afterwards. Maybe go and have a quiet word with your head if they are approachable and ask for clarification of the situation - for example can you go if another member of staff comes with you so that ratios can be maintained and mention that this should have been discussed earlier when you told the school that you were pregnant.

  4. Miss c that sounds a bit bonkers to me! A teacher our school spent 22 hours on a coach in Feb half term leading the school ski trip at 21 weeks pregnant! And if you feel this is unfair, I think you should say something, but as someone else suggested, as unfair as it seems, it might be better to subtly prove you will not spontaneously pop out a child, rather than write a letter. Good luck, let us know how it goes!
  5. Hmmmmm I think this might be a heads decision or individual school policy rather than a blanket ban everywhere on pregnant teachers going on trips. In our school pregnant staff are given the option of not going on the trip, particularly if there have been any health concerns or if they are in the later stages - if they want to go, fine, but we send an extra member of staff so they can take plenty of breaks through the day if they need to. I have found that every pregnancy & every employee is different, some women feel fine and have plenty of energy and are determined to go on the trip, other women have perhaps been finding it a struggle and are pleased to be given the choice of remaining in school while a colleague takes responsibilty for their class on the trip. I do not agree with a blanket ban - as others have said that just seems bonkers and is frankly insulting if you have been the one to do all the work in organising with no warning you would not be able to go.
    I personally think you have been treated is wrong but I think your colleague is right, you need to be careful how you bring this up with your head - particularly if you plan on making a flexible working request on your return from maternity leave. I really like the idea of getting a 'fit to travel' certificate from your gp and using this to start the conversation.
  6. Hi Miss c,
    I can totally understand why you are upset and angry about this. You should have been told from the beginning and not had the stress of organising the trip. If I am being cynical it does make me wonder whether management knew but were happy to let you make all the arrangements.
    Regarding not being able to go, I was told during my risk assessment that I was not allowed to go on any trips once I had hit the 7 months mark. I was told it was due to insurance purposes and for consideration of my health etc. However, from reading the comments on here it does seem to vary.
    So, whilst I think you were treated unfairly by not being told earlier etc, I do think they are probably following a procedure which could be related to their duty of care or an insurance issue. If you feel strongly could you contact your union to see if it is 'fair'. I don't think you should write the letter but that is my opinion. I would probably just speak management and say that I think it should have been pointed out to me earlier and I would have been saved the stress of arranging the trip etc (which you really don't need when you are pregnant).
    Good luck with whatever you decide to do and I am really sorry to hear this is happening to you.
  7. I apologise if I've missed anything- haven't time to read the whole thread- but just wanted to say, I've been on two school trips since becoming pregnant, and there was never any question of me going or not. The latest one was when I was about 25 weeks or so. Although I have been informed that there is a risk assessment for pregnant teachers in school, I have never seen it.
  8. I kind of understand the school as well as the OP point of view. I was quite poorly through my pregnancy and work were great, one thing they couldn;t do is rely on me to be well enough to do something on a particular date. Although you must feel well enough and capable of doing the trip yourself I wonder if the school/management have a professional or personal experience of a difficult pregnancy and are doing this due to past experience?
    That doesn;t really help you with your situation. One thing to bear in mind is that I would like to think that they haven't taken this descision just to pee you off.
    you are creating a new life at the mo, and nothing is ultimately more important (cheesy but true)

  9. Although it is annoying I am a strong believer of 'picking my battles'. This is one I wouldnt bother with to be honest.
  10. Sounds A Bit Strange?! When i was 31 weeks pregnant i was allowed to go on a school trip and none of the governors or the headteacher thought this was a problem as if you are only on the bus for a few hours and is only there for a few days/hours then it is extremely rare that you would go into labour at 29 weeks. So if i was in your position then i would have investigated that a bit for reasons because i was 31 weeks and allowed to go but your 29 weeks and NOT allowed to go ?
  11. Jojo2

    Jojo2 New commenter

    Sounds a bit odd to me. Apparently employers are obliged to carry out a health and safety assessment of your role when you tell them that you're pregnant so perhaps this should have been raised then? Not that I've ever heard of a school actually doing this. I'd have a good look through the "maternity matters" document on the NUT website too as it's really useful, also read the school h&s and your LEA's trips policy too, if there's nothing in any of that then I like the "fit to travel" letter idea, added to an informal conversation with the Head / SLT responsible for trips. It doesn't need to be turned into a big deal, if you can keep it to chat level then it shouldn't have an adverse effect on anything - after all, you're asking to do more here not less!
    Presume the trip is a sedate one, not bungey jumping or something?
  12. Is it not just a matter of insurance? I've just taken out a single trip insurance for a trip at the end of July when I will be 21 weeks pregnant. According to the T&Cs if I was over 26 weeks pregnant and I tried to claim anything for pregnancy related I would not be entitled to anything.

    I can understand your anger at this, but if it invalidates the school's cover for you should anything happen, I can see why management have refused to let you go.

Share This Page