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Facing discrimination from the head

Discussion in 'Pregnancy' started by AC08, Apr 21, 2017.

  1. AC08

    AC08 New commenter

    I am 30 weeks pregnant. This is my 2nd pregnancy. I had my 1st child 4 years ago.

    I was called into the head's office who raised the concern of me requesting to take time off from school to attend 2 antenatal classes. For each of the classes only 2 lesson would need to be covered - This is the 1st time where I have requested for time off where lessons need covering.
    I was told the following:
    • "do you need to attend these antenatal sessions?"
    • "you are already a mother, you know what to do, you have had antenatal classes with your 1st child, why are you requesting to take time off for antenatal classes?" -
      I am entitled to attend ‘relaxation or parentcraft classes’ according the school maternity policy. It does not state if it is only for “first time mothers”.
    • "If you want to attend the birthing and relaxation class, you can start your maternity leave now and have a relaxing time at home" - This is the second occasion where I was told it was possible to start my maternity leave. It was suggested that I should start my maternity leave and should I take any time off, it would lead to further intervention by the SLT & the head. It was implied that I should not make any further appointments during school term or be absent for pregnancy related reasons.
    • "You are being selfish and are not putting the students first. They will suffer"
    • "You have taken too many antenatal appointments" - The list of antental appointments are listed out on the NHS website. At no instance have I had any “extra” appointments other than what has been predetermined by the NHS.
    • "Antenatal classes do not concern the health and well being of you and your baby, therefore it is not a reasonable to request time off for it"
    • "if you want to attend these classes, you need to provide a written letter from your midwife or GP" - I have always provided evidence of my appointments. The antenatal appointments was made by the parenting unit and didn't indicate that it was referred by the midwife. I have obtained a letter from the midwife and will pass it onto the school tomorrow.
    There was no acknowledgement of all the following:
    • I had run extra Saturday sessions and half-term sessions for my classes
    • I made 3 appointments as late as possible, usually towards the end of the day during ADMIN period so no lessons were affected and there was no disruption within the department
    • I made 3 appointments outside of school time where possible
    • I attempted to reschedule appointments outside of school hours
    • I requested to attend the antenatal classes over the weekend
    I contacted my union and was told the following:
    • I have faced discrimination and have been a victim of bullying
    • I could take no action against the head or I could make an informal complaint directly with the head, then follow the grievance policy.

    I am afraid to make an informal/formal complaint against the head during this time of pregnancy. There has been a history of cases where teachers have been treated unfairly in the school and no one has been able stand up and fight back.
    If I do take action against the head, I am worried about my job security, how I would be treated when I return back from mat leave, my references from the school if I decided to leave after mat leave.

    I welcome any advice that would help me to make the right decision.
  2. secretsiren

    secretsiren Star commenter

    I agree with your union that you are facing discrimination - your head is going against their own policy, for goodness sake! Ignore everything she/he has said about not thinking about the students or being selfish; it's the argument of a muppet. She/he is clearly not thinking straight about the legal ramifications of discrimination. I might be tempted to ask @GLsghost for the possible legal position.

    Only you can decide whether making a complaint is the correct thing to do. However, I would be tempted to email with your 'minutes from the meeting' and copy it into the head of governors asking whether they will confirm that you are being discouraged from attending your statutory antenatal appointments and whether school policy on parentcraft and relaxation classes is officially changing. I would also put in that you would like confirmation in writing that your head is encouraging you to begin maternity leave early. If nothing else, your head may recognise they've been an absolute idiot.
  3. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    You need to contact your union and raise a formal complaint of pregnancy discrimination, naming both the school and Headteachers, personally, as Respondents.

    If you are victimised for making the complaint, it gives rise to a further cause of action.

    Do not delay.
  4. thecagedbird

    thecagedbird New commenter

    You are legally allowed to attend antenatal parenting classes/ relaxation classes if recommended by your midwife, it's not just school policy.

    I had the exact same problem about 4 weeks ago with my headteacher. Luckily for me after a quick word with HR my headteacher apologised profusely and all my appointments were approved. I work in quite a big secondary school though and I think the HR department are quite organised.

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