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Dear Theo and others Offered job conditionally but called back to discuss illness

Discussion in 'Jobseekers' started by anon255, Jul 1, 2011.

  1. Dear Theo
    I was conditionally offered a post last week and subsequently had to fill in a health questionnaire. I was honest and stated that I had taken time off due to illness, however there was not a space to elaborate on my reasons for sickness, I don't have anything to hide but the course of my absence was very personal/emotional.
    I have now been called back to meet with the head and governors to explain why I have had time off in my previous post as they have concerns raised by my response on the questionnaire and part of my ref (I know that my ref is very positive apart from absence)
    Will what is said remain confidential? I still would really like the job, but would like a fresh start where people are not aware of my personal history. How does confidentiality work if some governors are parents?
    Many Thanks in advance
  2. Well I have just returnned from the meeting. I had to explain myself to a panel of 6 people, also the secretary could hear all as could the handy man as the office door was open! So definately not confidential!!!
    I have been honest about my absence (loss of baby and ensuing depression) and outlined the steps I have taken in order that it doesnt happen again (worked to come off of anti depressants totally, counselling and depression management course) I feel exhausted, is this really the way something like this should be handled? I now have to wait until next week for a decision.

  3. Just received a call, I didnt get the job :-(
  4. littlemissraw

    littlemissraw Occasional commenter

    Doesn't sound like the kind of place you'd want to work anyway, although can understand its still disappointing. Big hug, you deserve better xx
  5. I'm sorry to hear of your loss. By the sounds of it you have had a lucky escape, you do deserve better xx
  6. That's pretty awful. Our LA asks for number of days absence and reasons why on the application form and says they will ask for this information as part of the reference so wouldn't have come up after a job offer.
    There are two issues really here. One you can address and one you can't. Firstly, perhaps you need to be honest about this at interview and explain that this was an issue at your last school and you took some time off sick because of the loss of a baby. If nothing else they would admire your honesty. They may have withdrawn tha job offer because they found about this after, from your present employers rather than you - although that does seem rather harsh because I do wonder if you are damned if you tell them and damned if you don't. I suppose the other difficultly here, is that you inadvertently suggest that you could be considering children and while an employer is not allowed to discriminate on these grounds, you kind of shoot yourself in the foot somewhat. But I do think the issue here may be around honesty about something they have found out about through the reference that they feel you should have told them about - perhaps Theo can advise better on this and I have no idea what the legalities are.
    Secondly, the school haven't dealt with it in a very confidential and compassionate manner and you probably have had a lucky escape. The door should certainly have been shut! You cannot alter the way the school have dealt with this. Another school might have been more compassionate.
    I feel for you really because you have obviously been through an ordeal and come through it. It is very easy for others to condemn (which they obviously have) when they haven't been through it themselves, but I do think the problem might have been because you didn't declare it - but then if you do, does that scupper your chances of an interview?
  7. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter

    I am so sorry to hear about losing the baby. That must have been so hard for you and your partner. I don't expect that anything anyone can say will help you, such a terrible loss.
    As for the school. Well, firstly they are obliged to ensure that you are fit to teach. But it would seem from what you say that you are. You WERE absent, there WAS a problem, but now you ARE NOT absent, there IS NOT a problem.
    I have a quick feeling that they may be concerned about future pregnancy-related absences. This is indirect gender discrimination and as such is illegal.
    If I were you (which I am not, so you can ignore what comes next), I would contact my union over this. I suspect that the school may have taken the decision to withdraw the offer on an illegal basis.
    Could be wrong,mind you, but I myself would NOT have withdrawn the offer because of a past issue which is now no longer relevant. They can only be doing it based on future possible pregnancies, in my view.
    I do agree that you are best out of that school, what with the public manner in which they dealt with a sensitive situation and this attitude.
    But I would still get the union's view.
    Kindest regards
    TheoGriff. Member of the TES Careers Advice Service.
    I do Application and Interview one-to-ones, and also contribute to the Job Application Workshops. We look at application letters, executive summaries and interviews, with practical exercises that people really appreciate.
  8. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    We feel for you, we really do.
    Your personal circumstances and then to be offered a job only to have it whisked away from you.
    As others have said if this is the way it was handled it wouldn't have been a good school to work in.
    It also stresses the need to always be upfront & honest and turn potenetial 'negatives' into positives in future posts.
    A really big cyberhug coming your way [​IMG]
  9. I had a period of 5 weeks off work last summer (whilst on a temporary contract) after being diagnosed with cancer. Thankfully all I needed was surgery, but I have had to declare my absence on all application forms. I have recently secured a permanent position, and my illness was discussed during my interview to answer a question on how I have dealt with things going wrong in class. It was actually the HT who suggested I respond in this way rather than just talk about a less than perfect lesson. My experience last year is now part of who I am and I am really happy to be going to a school where I don't have to hide anything.
  10. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I agree with Theo and others. You almost certainly won't want to pursue it, but I'm also convinced the head/governors acted illegally.
    I'm sorry this happened to you and sorry for your loss. If it's any consolation, you're well out of that place.

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