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Desperately need reasonable adjustments advice

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by mazpaz, Oct 27, 2015.

  1. mazpaz

    mazpaz Occasional commenter

    I am a primary teacher with management responsibilities and a medical condition that is covered by the disability act. Up until recently I managed my job very well but with the increase in expectation new pay conditions and ofsted requirements I am now finding I am really struggling. Does anyone have experience in getting reasonable adjustments made, how to best go about it so as not to alienate management or who to go to for advice or to mediate on my behalf? Really worried I will be on incapability if things don't change and so stressed with it all. Any advice however small is gratefully received.
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    How about talking to a sympathetic manager and asking if you could be referred to Occupational health?

    They would be the ones to help you here.

    Best wishes

  3. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Additionally,make contact with Disability Rights UK and have a conversation about the Access to Work scheme.
  4. mazpaz

    mazpaz Occasional commenter

    I contacted occupational health but they won't do anything on my behalf only if my manager contacts them. I've looked at the access to work and will ring them tomorrow but they seem to be a funding based organisation and I don't need anything physical a such. Haven't had much joy with the manager route hence why I'm trying to find it out myself.
    Many thanks for advice so far.
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Yes, that's why I said speak to a manager.

    There must be someone?

  6. drek

    drek Star commenter

    According to the new policies, that is now the job of the HR director. Make an appointment and see them asap. It is their responsibility. They have had pay hikes and are now part of the managerial team. Check your school policy. It should list your first line of contact for this particular issue.
  7. drek

    drek Star commenter

    And good luck. I'm sure you will be fine. In my old school the manager responsible for health and safety at work also had responsibility for speaking to staff in this situation, and providing resources such as accessible routes, chairs etc for members of staff.
  8. mazpaz

    mazpaz Occasional commenter

    Thanks. It's a smallish school so I don't think there is anyone I can go to bar the Head. Feeling physically sick about going back and have tried various places over the hols to get advice but to no avail as yet.
  9. drek

    drek Star commenter

    I would advise you to start a paper trail from nowonwards. If you bring it up after you are threatened with incapability, they may try and suggest that is the reason you are 'suddenly' mentioning the fact that you asked for help.
    teachers have found themselves in that situation. They mentioned the personal circumstances for requiring advice verbally, and would receive verbal reassurances, with and from people that they 'trusted' as colleagues and or leaders, and a short while later would end up observed as RI, and placed on informal support, with all the unbearable stress that brings on.
    Good luck and hope things get better soon.
  10. jonowen

    jonowen Occasional commenter

    Hi Paz, I too work in a tiny school and am lucky as HT is very supportive . She asked me if I would like a referral to OH as I am struggling (GP advised me to take time off but psychologically/emotionally I'm better at school, so just do what I can - still doing the job properly - can't say too much incase I'm recognised) Waiting for an answer now. If you feel physically sick would you be better to be signed off?

    Drek's advice about a paper trail is well worth thinking about. I was thinking of doing the same this time last year as former HT was the total opposite of new HT. My mobility problem has been gradually getting worse since 2012 and last year I asked for an orthopaedic kind of seat. HT told the Janitor to go to the "old furniture" cupboard and retrieve an old chair, fix it and give me that. Fortunately this HT was very unpopular, so the Janitor told me straight away what had been decided. He told HT that the chair was unfixable but found me a better one with wheels (secretary who had left and not been replaced had had this chair)
    Keep a dairy just incase - they have a duty of care to look after your wellbeing - if a pupil was being treated poorly their parent would kick up a stink so don't let them treat you like dirt.
    I do hope you are feeling better or will do soon, take care.

    Joni x
  11. mazpaz

    mazpaz Occasional commenter

    Many thanks for the additional responses. Have been jotting things down since September including my discussions that I was struggling. Union think I have a good case to get changes without having to take a pay cut just got to let it play out. Feel so bad for the children but knew I couldn't teach given my current state so off at the moment. Just hope I can get back yo the job I loved and is .. was good at!
  12. mazpaz

    mazpaz Occasional commenter

    Update - currently signed off after health decline. Spoke to Access to Work but they really only help with physical disabilities which I don't really need. Asked my manager to refer me to OHU and have since learnt that on the referral the Head claims to have put several things in place that hasn't happened. OH is now referring me to the doctor in their team but advised that reasonable adjustments don't have to be put in place by the school if they don't want to. Now feeling very low with it all as I know with some tweaks and a little support I can do the job well.
  13. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    I beg to differ! Reasonable adjustments have to be put in place, at the school's expense, as long as they are reasonable i.e. effort required and expense are proportionate to the size and resources of the employer.

    How about the free helpline of the Equality Advisory Support Service - and what's your union doing to kick ass? There is a potential disability discrimination complaint under EqA 2010 here!
  14. mazpaz

    mazpaz Occasional commenter

    Union have said I could take a grievance procedure and also disagree partly with OHU - it is possible that it could be ignored but unlikely. Thing is, I just want to teach my children and have the best chance to do it. Union was a little too over the top in wanting to go down this route, but OHU were too much the other way I just can't win. It's really set me back. :-(
  15. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    @GLsghost is absolutely right as ever, if it's a reasonable adjustment it must be made. What OH may be saying though is that a school doesn't have to make the adjustments recommended by OH if the school doesn't consider them to be reasonable. OH is correct to say that.

    OH cannot decide if the adjustments OH recommends are "reasonable adjustments" under the Equality Act, only the employer can decide that (and obviously later an Employment Tribunal if it came to that). That's because OH doesn't know all the circumstances of the employer's workplace so can't assess whether a particular adjustment is reasonable. The duty to make adjustments is not absolute and open-ended. Whether an adjustment is reasonable depends on the particular circumstances of each disabled person and each employer. I have seen OH recommendations which were entirely impractical because the OH had no idea how our school was laid out. This explanation (GLsghost will recognise its source :) ) gives more information

    Adjustments only have to be made if it’s reasonable to do so. What's a reasonable thing to ask for depends on things like:
      • your disability
      • how practicable the changes are
      • if the change you ask for would overcome the disadvantage you and other disabled people experience
      • the size of the organisation
      • how much money and resources are available
      • the cost of making the changes
      • if any changes have already been made.
  16. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    If you need to go down the route of a tribunal to get RA either the head or the adjustments are unreasonable.

    Why don't you ask for a meeting with OH, union and the head? Rather than them getting a letter the adjustments can be discussed.

    I agree with you that you don't want to make this into a fight. If you need to then the relationship at work is ruined.
  17. mazpaz

    mazpaz Occasional commenter

    I think that was the point OH was making - that schools are not set up to make the reasonable adjustments I require. A meeting with Head will be arranged just before I go back. I will just have to see if Head will accept recommendations I suppose it's all down to that now. I rang the equality helpline but they were useless. I had to tell the guy I was covered by the act as he didn't know and then he rattled on about how I have to prove it in a court of law which is subjective. He didn't really have a clue about anything else.

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