I have been off for several months with depression related to a pupil assault that took place 28 months ago. (A year 10 student tried to strangle me.) Although I did return to work after many months off work after said assault, I suffered a relapse. The school are dubious about whether this depression is connected and are now trying to get rid of me through sickness absence measures. The hearing date has not yet officially been set, but apparently my union rep thinks they will try and end my contract directly after the hearing just before the end of this term. The matter is being passed on to regional level.They offered a half-hearted settlement, but I have turned it down. Long story short, but I am now on the 10th day of only getting 2/3 hours sleep, since hearing about their intentions. Although I am receiving therapy, I have had some pretty terrible days, and on one of those days I did actually contemplate suicide. The only thing that stopped me was the thought of leaving behind my wife and children, and the fact that my parents would be distraught having already lost one of their children to cancer (my sister died of bone cancer in 2004 aged 36, leaving three children aged 5, 8 and 10) The worse thing about it all is the new head's lack of compassion, and taking a stance which is punitive rather than supportive. I am completely exhausted due to lack of sleep. No 'get well soon' cards.....No comforting e-mails or letters..... I have worked in tougher environments than this, having served in the military in the 1980s. (I served in the Falkland's conflict). If we had a problem then, there was a support network available, especially if you had served in a theatre of war. Ironically, when I was going through difficult times at my school in the lead up to the assault, my own son was doing a tour of duty in Afghanistan. To say I was stressed and worried was an understatement. However, I felt that nobody really understood. From what I can gather from 16 years service as a teacher in 4 different schools (including a 5 year stint as a head of year) some senior managers are just not cut out to lead people let alone manage them. Cowardly tactics are often used and they certainly don't appear to lead from the front. A favourite tactic used by one head was to put a nasty memo in your tray last thing on a Friday just as you were about to go home for the weekend. Usually a veiled threat. Bullying by stealth is the way it is done. I prefer it when you can see the whites of their eyes.