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capability, set up to fail, absence and all that

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by emarsh1, Jan 17, 2012.

  1. I've been put on informal capability procedures and know that I will not be supported through this process and do not feel that I stand a chance of successfully coming out the other end.
    I have depression which has been made worse by this situation and I have not been supported by the school - they have ignored OH advice amongst other things.
    I do not feel that I can keep going for much longer but do not know what the best thing to do is. I could hand in my notice, knowing that my depression will stop my from being able to get another job, go off sick until I am ready to face my work situation/looking for another job or try to fight the situation.
    Any advice?
  2. Zadok1

    Zadok1 New commenter

    Honestly... Go off sick... and tell them it's for stress (because then they can't ask you to set cover or contact you at all!)... go see your GP and get a sick note.
    As always talk to your union. Your union will probably advise you to seek a compromise agreement.

    Alternately you could try to take them to the cleaners. Find out if you have legal cover on your home insurance and speak to a good employment lawyer... because I have a pretty strong feeling that penalizing someone who is 'disabled' in some way is against employment law. I know you don't think of yourself as disabled... but depression is an illness. You can't put someone on capability for having cancer or liver failure or something like that... why should they be able to do it to someone who has depression? It's called discrimination and it makes lawyer's mouths water at the mere mention.

    Also, if you choose to stay at work, keep a log of all communication. If at all possible keep an email record too. So if someone gives you a verbal instruction, or you are taken into a meeting and told to do XY and Z, write it all in an email and send it to the person who said it asking them to confirm that you have understood their instructions correctly. That way they can't move the goal posts too much and you have a record of any outlandish or unreasonable requests.

    Next... ask for training... Lots of it! Ask for the chance to observe the management team teaching (because you don't want to put undue pressure on your peer colleagues) ask for very specific advice on how to improve your performance, for example... if they say your planning needs to be a certain way, ask to see a good example of what it should look like. If they ask that your lesson be of a certain standard, ask if you could observe one of their lessons, with the observation checklist to see how all the targets are achieved. Look up courses that relate to the areas of work they are criticizing and ask to attend them.
    The point being that you will appear to be buying into the process... and if they don't provide the support... well they haven't got a leg to stand on.

    Just remember to write everything down (with dates and others who were present)... and repeat everything on email.
    Most of all... remember that it is usually the teachers they feel threatened by who they pick on when they are at their most vulnerable. I mean the teachers that make them look bad because they're better than them in some way. In other words it's usually the good teachers who get it in the neck... not the poor ones.
    Good Luck!
  3. groovy15

    groovy15 New commenter

    I am going through the same thing and have been told several times that it is likely that the Equalities Act 2010 would cover me.
    I have sought good advice from my union and they are doing a good job but I have had to insist upon it. Don't take any rubbish from your school they are in the wrong and breaking the law if they refuse to make any reasonable adjustments. As Zadok said keep a log of everything with dates etc, keep any letters etc and get signed off by your doctor you need some time to help yourself through this.
    Feel free to PM me if you want some extra advice as I am going through it right now and I know I have to fight or this sort of thing is going to keep going on!
    Good luck x
  4. Thank you both for your advice - am so confused!!!
    I'm keeping logs of everything and feel I have evidence against my school but don't know whether I have the strength to fight! Barely have the strength to get into school, let alone anything else.
    Has anyone out there been through this and survived?
  5. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    I did, but I had the support of my union and a specialist employment solicitor (paid for by my insurance company) and the knowledge that I had enough money to support myself for a couple of years if I lost my job. I now have a lovely job elsewhere. Try teacher support line for emotional support.
  6. Torey,
    Did you stay in post and fight? How did an employment solicitor help?
    I'm caught between 3 courses of action - showing I AM capable, resigning with no job to go to or going off sick and fighting via union etc. The fact that I feel so dreadfully ill doesn't help with the decision process - I can't see me doing any of the above with the way I'm feeling now, but where does that leave me?
    I'm still struggling through each day and know that I'm not doing myself or my pupils any good, but don't know what else to do at the moment.

  7. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    I've sent you a pm.
  8. I think you're right when you say you've got no chance of ever proving that you are capable, it very rarely goes that way and of course it's designed to work like that by management.

    Don't hand your notice in. If you feel like you do just want to get it over with and get on with your life, then just go off sick and let them go through the motions, which will probably involve a compromise agreement.

    There are a thousand other teachers who have gone through this, including me, and probably a thousand more going through it right now. This is what happens in this profession.

    You shouldn't be able to discriminate against someone who is depressed, but schools always do. They make sure that they separate your illness and your performance, and always insist one is not caused by the other, and always say they are dealing with two separate issues at once to get out of you ever being able to prove discrimination.

    Good luck, and look after yourself.

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