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Being made a scapegoat- help please

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Mary_Mary510, Jul 17, 2015.

  1. So, this is a long one.....

    I am in mat leave, due to return after 12 months in October. While I have been on mat leave I have had letters from the principal (a bully who wants he starts on you, he doesn't stop until until you go one way or another), saying they are investigating the dept and several issues. This may lead to disciplinary.

    There were a whole list of things, mainly caused by the supply covering for me, another mat leave and a long term absentee. Also, I had a very difficult pregnancy and did not cope well with the pressure of 2 supply staff to manage and no support (I was told early on to expect the worst, that the baby had 66% chance of being still born. I had an amnio at 18 weeks &' thankfully he was fine) These 3 people were the department when I went on mat leave and in their words have been left on their own with no help.

    I am quite sure (and union agrees) that this is my turn now and he will keep trying to find something until he 'gets me out'. He's making me a scapegoat so when ofsted come in & see poor results he can tell them what he's done with me.

    we are at the interview stage, which due to PND, I am taking part in from a distance. The inevitable is going to happen, as that's what's this guy does. I need to get from it what I can & be able to carry on my career somewhere else.

    Am I best getting signed in from Mat leave & going off sick so I get some pay? Do I have any rights being on mat leave & the struggles I had with my pregnancy? I can't help but think that if I wasn't on mat leave or was a male, i wouldn't be in this situation. I have never been pulled up about anything in my whole career.

    Am desperate, advice needed.
  2. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Firstly, continue talking to your union.

    The state of cover during your maternity leave was not your problem - that was the responsibility of the person who recruited the supply teachers and the school managers overseeing those supply teachers during your maternity leave. Assuming your department had schemes of work and you left your admin up to date on departure they should have been expected as professional teachers to be on their own without help from you. This is what has happened in every maternity leave that has happened around me in more than three decades of teaching. If the head had recruited people not capable of doing this or failed to support them to be able to their job properly, that is his problem (that he obviously plans to try to move down the food chain).

    So -others will give more advice. Have a good summer with your extra-precious baby. Take medical advice to get the PND sorted - this is well outside my realm of professional expertise. Consider whether a staged return might be needed. Consider whether you want / need to step back from departmental responsibilities, or return on a part time basis. Make sure that your allies in the school are on side and supportive.

    Stay strong

  3. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    I am confused - as you are still on maternity leave, how can he be doing anything with you / to you / involving you? I may be wrong (I know nothing about employment law), but if you are off work for any reason how can you be culpable for poor staff or poor results?
  4. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    I wonder about a pregnancy / maternity discrimination issue here, too. Glad you've got your union involved.

    Ensure it is at a suitably high level (e.g. regional). Discrimination law is complex.
  5. i have been invited to an interview, which I declined to attend. Now they are asking me to answer the interview questions via email from home, which my Union is advising me to do. I am still on mat leave.

    I am being a made a scapegoat as the results aren't going to be very good & the supply had no support while I was off. I admit I didn't cope very well with the pregnancy problems ( who would?) & the pressure of 2 supply before I went on mat leave and I made this known at the time. I was offered no support.

    Do I take part in the investigation and have my say or let them continue without me - what happens to the investigation then?
  6. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Remember that you are still in the 'protected period' for pregnancy / maternity discrimination until you return to work.

    What you should 'do' is ensure that you only follow the advice of your union representative and ensure that your representation is at the right level. I repeat again my above comment that there is potential discrimination wrapped up in this and the law relating to that is complicated. It will be beyond the remit of a school or local rep.

    There will be many supportive and well-meant comments from posters here but the bottom line is that, even those of us with some law qualifications and / or union rep background, are not privy to all of the facts of your case.

    If you know you left everything in an appropriate shape before you went on maternity leave, you cannot be blamed for someone else's actions.

    I would want your union re to be enquiring about the risk assessment that was done in connection with your pregnancy and the extent to which the hospital's prognosis of your condition was taken into account. Help yourself by itemising when the risk assessment was done, what the outcome was, when you notified the school of medical developments and how they responded to that. List also the difficulties you encountered, what assistance you asked for - think about dates, places, witnesses and whether there is any evidence in the form of e.g. email confirmation.

    Reasonable contact from school during maternity leave is acceptable. Ensure you submit your responses to the questions to your union before sending them into school.
  7. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    I was going to suggest this but GL beat me to it.
  8. The head (at the time) knew of the problems with my pregnancy from the very beginning but the risk assessment wasn't carried out until I was 28 weeks pregnant. I did tell her that I was keeping it quiet until I knew whether the baby would be ok but a few colleagues I was close to & the school business manager knew ( who acts as a HR manager too) . The head did tell my line manager once I had finally cracked up & had a few days off sick with worry in the days leading up to the amino test.

    This is definitely something I didn't think of.....! The new head may not be aware of these issues either. But whether he cares is another matter.

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