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Dear James: Reasonable adjustments

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by heathermitsi, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. I'm an M.E sufferer, who has a BA and an MA, so I have managed the condition while I studied. I've a place on a PGCE for Sept, and I'm looking for advice about reasonable adjustments for a disability, both in training year and in work as a teacher.
    I don't know exactly what the term means - in either instance. I know that someone with my condition could ask for flexible working hours, some work at home, timetabling flexibility for their work/meetings/in this case, classes, some alternation to a job description. This I know from talking to disability work advisors at careers advice centres and job centre advisors - but I don't know how this translates into teaching, or training. I do need to know, so that I know what I can and cannot ask for.
    Do you think you can help me? The PGCE providers were very keen to say, this is a demanding job, you will be standing up all day, you will have x amount of work, responsibility, it will be tough, etc. It's just that, I also know that careers advice and disability careers organisations tell me that I should not be put off by that kind of talk, as I have rights and adjustments available to make my part of it a career that I can do. What's your opinion and perspective and can you talk me through any of this or any examples?
    thank you.
  2. RamC

    RamC New commenter

    I am sure James will be able to advise you properly but I will share my own experience as someone who has long term chronic health conditions. Basically you need to be able to fulfil the teaching standards, and, once employed, your contract. It probably depends on the school, but even though my employers are always very supportive and sympathetic to my condition, at the end of the day if I am unable to work I am not able to fulfil my contract. Any employer would probably not be able to give you extra time off, and although some schools allow working from home during PPA time, it does not happen in my school. Teaching leaves me exhausted and it also means working most evenings and weekends (if you are dedicated enough). The occupational health team in whatever LEA you end up employed in will probably tell you what they said to me, which is they can put adaptations in place, e.g. they only use certain cleaning products in my workplace due to my allergies, provide me with latex free gloves and support me to attend hospital appointments where necessary- but if I can't work as a full time teacher because of my condition then I am unable to fulfil the job description and person specification. You have to think practically, can you do it? If not- full time teaching may not be for you. Good luck though!

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