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Another tale of woe!

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by ICT_Resources, Feb 25, 2017.

  1. ICT_Resources

    ICT_Resources New commenter

    Dear Forum Members,

    I’m feeling very stressed out the moment, to the point where my wife and I have just had an row - something we never normally do! I really don't know what I should do next.

    I’ve been teaching at the same school since a year last September. It is rated an outstanding school and student behaviour is generally very good, although the workload is also very high. Overall I’d have to say that it’s been a good experience.

    About a month ago the Head called me in and informed me that there would not be a continuation of employment from September, and my current contract will finish on the 31st August 2017. He said this was due to a department reshuffle and an expectation that they would require less staff in my subject area. It’s no secret that my school has serious financial problems so this didn’t come as a surprise, although clearly it was disappointing.

    However, since then I noticed an advert on the TES for my current position - applications from NQTs most welcome, of course! Initially I spoke to my HOD who was equally surprised by this, and said that he’d not been in the loop regarding this decision. I’ve since spoken to the Head again this week to clarify the situation, and he said that the reason was that my teaching/classroom management wasn’t up to the standard expected by the school. This was surprising as I’ve only had two observations whilst working there – one was rated ‘good’ and the other ‘good with elements of outstanding’. I also know from the overall reaction to my classes that I have good student engagement and I get on well with both students and staff. However, I do have one class in which there have been a couple of minor incidents, and the staff member supporting my class just happens to be a close personal friend of the Head. I haven’t really got on well with the staff member from the start as they are a bit of a jobsworth, and I seems they have stuck the knife in when they could.

    An added complication is that my wife is a citizen from a country outside the EU. She is on a visa that requires me as her sponsor to be in employment (earning more than £18,600/year), and her current visa just happens to expire in August – when my current contract finishes. We have been married for five years and if I am unable to find a position starting in September, we will either have to leave the UK or she will get deported! I also need to stay in this job until the end of the school year or I would be unable to sponsor my wife's visa, as I need to show I have been in employment for the previous 6 months. My mother also died just before Christmas so that wasn’t much fun this year, and I spent most of the Christmas holiday sorting out her affairs.

    I am not one to get worked up easily and in 10 years of teaching I’ve never taken stress-leave or anything like that, but I’m really stressed out about this situation. Partly because of the uncertainty of our current situation but more because I feel I have been treated unfairly by the school. I consider myself to be a good teacher - maybe not an outstanding one, but good enough - and I have worked really hard at this school. My HOD is equally disappointed that the school wishes to replace me, and acknowledges my contribution and the value I have added to the Department in the 18 months I have worked there.

    In the last week I haven’t slept much. I’ve been suffering from night sweats and chest pains; in fact my chest feels so tight I’m finding it hard to breathe at times. I don’t think this is anything serious as I do quite a lot of physical exercise – running, cycling, etc. I know this is just down to stress and the uncertainty of our current situation. I thought about going to see my GP, but I don’t want to come across as one of those whingers just looking for a sick note to get out of going to work. I’m also afraid that if I went off on sick leave, what my next move would be?

    If you’re still reading my 'tale of woe', then thank you! And thank you also for any constructive feedback you might have about the best way I can move forward.

    Many thanks in advance,
    thekillers likes this.
  2. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    There is still plenty of time left this year to secure a teaching job elsewhere.
  3. menhir

    menhir New commenter

    So sorry to hear you're in this position. This sounds very underhand to me and I would be talking to my union for advice in the first instance. My experience and others will testify to the underhand ways being used to be rid of expensive,experienced teachers to gain extra money in the school budget. It's cutthroat out there! If you are reluctant to pursue the union route for recourse then you need to start applying for posts immediately before the climate changes at school and the words 'informal capability and teachers standards' start being bandied around. It is not YOUR FAULT.. please look after yourself and your wife - you will feel much better once you are out of this environment. Good luck
  4. thatmaninthehat

    thatmaninthehat Occasional commenter

    In a similar place myself but without the added stress of your wife's situation.Your post made me cry.It's so unfair.However,I think you constructive advice more than sympathy.Could you see your GP and ask for some medication to help you through until you can find another post ?I wouldn't recommend going off sick as you won't be able to apply for any posts that come up if you do that. As the year progresses there will be more posts available.I hate to say this believe me but try to keep your cool with the Head as you'll need a reference from them.
    emerald52, tidsa and pepper5 like this.
  5. pennyh.

    pennyh. Occasional commenter

    If you do not belong to a union then get legal advice from suitable solicitor.
    tidsa likes this.
  6. thatmaninthehat

    thatmaninthehat Occasional commenter

    I wouldn't involve the unions either,that will only drag things out and **** off the head.Sorry if that sounds negative but you must do what's best for you and your wife.
    tidsa and pepper5 like this.
  7. Over_the_hill

    Over_the_hill Senior commenter

    I will leave the advice about your job to more experienced posters. I just wanted to say how very sorry I am about the loss of your mother.
    emerald52 and tidsa like this.
  8. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    It's not a redundancy as the post remains. Sadly the HT has elected not to renew your contract.

    I fear there is nothing you can do. It is very common to dispense with services before an employee secures the same rights as a permanent member of staff. The HT has to take a long-term view. The business case for keeping your job may not be overwhelming and s/he doesn't want to be encumbered with another 'mouth to feed'. I think you need to look elsewhere. Make a condition of your going without a fuss a good reference.
  9. dunnocks

    dunnocks Star commenter

    I'm sure you will get a job. xxx
    fishtoe, tidsa and pepper5 like this.
  10. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Hang on, hang on @thatmaninthehat ! Let's think about this and put our combined legal brains together on it!

    Important questions for the OP:

    1) Did your contact commence 1st September 2015?
    2) Will it end 31 August 2017?
    3) Was this employment (even so) continuous with any previous employment (same employer, not necessarily same school)?
    4) Are you a union member?
    Lara mfl 05, fishtoe and tidsa like this.
  11. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    Poor advice, which I wouldn't necessarily suggest the OP takes. I have lost count of how many teachers I have spoken with who felt that involving the union would upset their school. They generally are so victimised because they seem unsupported, andt by the time they wake up, it is far to late for the union to do anything. READ THE POST. He's losing his job! He's not in the position that most of us are in. His spouse can only stay with him in the UK if he remains in paid employment. Hopefully he has paid his union dues and they are up to date. It's why we (if we are sensible) we pay our subscription to the unions or other professional organisations Hopefully we never need to use it, but in cases like this, we MAY need to.
  12. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

  13. thatmaninthehat

    thatmaninthehat Occasional commenter

    Hoping the OP will be on later to answer those questions but their situation is pretty dire and I don't think they should risk being out of work still come September.Might be better to play along with the Head.Hate to say that though.
    tidsa likes this.
  14. marlin

    marlin Star commenter Forum guide

    :) Brilliant explanation in that link GL - and so useful. :)
    Lara mfl 05 and tidsa like this.
  15. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    If we were in an ideal world (and we rarely are), given the potential seriousness of the outcome and the risk of deportation, this is a case where the anticipatory breach of contract could / should be injuncted. Making a claim of unfair dismissal after the event is not much use if deportation is a risk.
  16. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    Sorry this has happened to you - especially after the death of your mum.

    I agree with other posters who have said you have plenty of time to secure another post. There appears to be a shortage of teachers and you may not have much trouble securing something else.

    Try not to panic, but spend your energies on what you can change and do not dwell on what you can't change.

    Make up with your wife and through this hard time, you will become closer and stronger.
  17. thatmaninthehat

    thatmaninthehat Occasional commenter

    The Head changed his angle of attack when the OP challenged him, he/she then questioned his standard of teaching.He/she wants rid of him and will get there somehow.
    emerald52, Mrsmumbles and tidsa like this.
  18. ICT_Resources

    ICT_Resources New commenter

    Thank you! I've no other family left so at times it's been a struggle, tbh
  19. thatmaninthehat

    thatmaninthehat Occasional commenter

    Sorry calligraphy but I think YOU should read the post again.The OP is not in a great place mentally to fight this.I'm simply advising him to be careful not to make things worse.
    tidsa likes this.
  20. ICT_Resources

    ICT_Resources New commenter

    Thank you so much for all your replies. I am really overwhelmed by your support :)

    I’m not a member of any union so I can’t seek help/advice from them, but then I hadn’t been considering litigation anyway. As far as I can see the school hasn’t broken any laws by choosing not to employ me from September onwards, as they have given me due notice. It just so happens to be extremely inconvenient because of the timing of my wife’s visa renewal.

    The contract I was given for this year actually ends at Easter because the Head is also leaving at Easter himself. He stated at the time that it would be up to his successor to decide if I would be offered a permanent position at the school, although he said he couldn’t see any reason why not. My contract has been extended to 31st August by way of the letter he sent me, but I have not yet signed any contract from Easter onwards. One of the deputies is taking over and according to my HOD, and she has expressed a strong interest in taking on a NQT for the role.

    Having to apply for a new position starting in September isn’t what I’m struggling with the most; it’s maintaining the motivation to keep going in my current position for the next 5 months. If it wasn’t for the prior 6 months continuity of employment requirement of my wife’s visa application, I would definitely be leaving this job at Easter.

    I feel trapped at the moment because of this situation. I’m thinking seriously about leaving teaching completely, simply because I don’t like the way things are done in schools and how staff are treated.
    maralex86, emerald52 and wanet like this.

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