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Dear James

Discussion in 'Trainee and student teachers' started by wannateachgottateach, Jan 21, 2011.

  1. I just have a quesiton about the 'Fitness to Teach' health check.
    Will a bout of post-natal depression 13 years ago, that was treated by anti-depressants for about 5 months, and a further bout of depression around 8 years ago also treated by anti-depressants for around 3-4 months affect my application to teach?
    I am fully aware of the stress of teaching, and know it's the right thing for me, and have not suffered any bouts since working in a school, but I am now worried that I might not get on the PGCE course because of it.
    What do I do?
     
  2. I just have a quesiton about the 'Fitness to Teach' health check.
    Will a bout of post-natal depression 13 years ago, that was treated by anti-depressants for about 5 months, and a further bout of depression around 8 years ago also treated by anti-depressants for around 3-4 months affect my application to teach?
    I am fully aware of the stress of teaching, and know it's the right thing for me, and have not suffered any bouts since working in a school, but I am now worried that I might not get on the PGCE course because of it.
    What do I do?
     
  3. If you declare your history of depression, as you must, then the occupational health unit of your uni will pick it up. It will be taken seriously, and they will want further details. It usually means they will write to your GP asking for a report (you will have given consent), and if all is satisfactory - all in the past and not likely to recur - they that should be the end of the matter. It's possible that they will want to see you and talk about it, so be prepared for that. Nothing to get nervous about (difficult, I know), but they only want to ensure you are fit from mental health angle and that you are able to undertake training. If you haven't spoken to your doctor about PGCE, it will probably be a good idea to have a chat with him/her, so that they will be in a better position to write your report.
    Look at Dept of Health guideline on Fitness to Teach in http://www.anhops.org.uk/docs/40_10_fitness_to_teach.pdf
    Remember you MUST declare all your known conditions and history. If you fail to mention something that may later come to your uni's notice, then your non-disclosure will reflect badly on your integrity as a potential teacher.
     
  4. I'm currently undertaking my PGCE.

    I have suffered with depression on and off since I was 12 and I tried to kill myslef when I was 14. I was taking anti-depressents when I applied for the course.

    I declared all off this on the health form when I applied. The uni wrote to my doctor to ask for his opinion on whether I was fit to teach. He said I was and the uni took his word and I didn't have to see occupational health. I've since stopped taking the tablets and have had no problems during the course. Being busy always improves my mental health.

    Good luck!
     
  5. As Alec states, declare the bouts on your medical form and occupational health will assess the information. They understand the medical nature of your declaration and know about the stress of a PGCE. The provider may or may not be told by occupational health and if the provider is advised about the bouts then they will also be told what, if any, support or adjustments need to be made. Such a condition does not normally present any major problems as, from what you write it is related to specific triggers such as pregnancy and birth rather than day to day work. If, however the stress of a PGCE does trigger anything do seek help from your tutor immediately - they may be able to make adjustments to reduce the stress and ease the trigger.
    James
     
  6. I really feel for you. I had the same anxieties when I was applying for my PGCE (currently doing it at the moment). I found it really stressful, particularly as I was still on anti-depressants when I applied. I've suffered three bouts of depression in the past 15 years, but all three were triggered by very specific, serious events. I even had to see Occupational Health when working as a TA last year as my depression was influencing my performace at work. I've wanted to teach for a long time, but I've always lacked the confidence. Reaching a point in my life where nothing was how I wanted it to be gave me the sense that I had nothing to lose, so I applied, seeing it partly as a way of getting myself back together emotionally.
    I declared my depression on the form (as you have to). I was then contacted by the university's occupational health team who asked me some specific questions about my depression (this was on the telephone). I was told that they might have to follow our conversation up with a letter if they had any more questions. I heard no more from them and was allowed to start the course in September. The nurse I spoke to said that a large part of the reason why they look so closely at these issues is to ensure that the correct support is in place for you if you need it. On my first placement I had a very supportive tutor and mentor and I feel this was probably an example of where I was given this extra support.
    I hope that offers some reassurance.
     
  7. Thank you so much, all of you.
    When I applied for my current job within a school (6 years ago) I had to complete a health questionnaire, and I did declare it then, and thankfully it didn't make any difference, I assume that Occupational Health got all they needed from the Dr, so I never heard anything from them.
    I think I just needed some reassurance that all of my hard work won't fall down at the last hurdle, that would be so frustrating after spending so long getting to this point.
    It's good to hear directly from others that have had depression that it hasn't affected the outcome.
    THANKS again x x
     

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