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Feeling fed up

Discussion in 'Pay and conditions' started by hungryhippo, Jun 23, 2011.

  1. I'm feeling pretty upset at the way my school is treating me at the moment. I went on maternity leave last year, and returned to school in March this year. Prior to my leave, I was a 0.6 Year 6 class teacher working Mon, Tues & Wed (I had previously been full time but decided when pregnant to reduce my hours, and someone else was employed 0.4 to be my job share).
    The school's PPA teacher was then appointed as my maternity cover.
    When I returned to work in March, I agreed with the HT that I would happily do the PPA role from March until July on the clear understanding that I would be returning to my class teaching role in Sept. The HT agreed this with me verbally (I only have a sketchy outline in writing). I thought this would be the least disruptive course of action for the children this year, and I reassured I would return to my original role in Sept.
    However, the PPA teacher who has been doing my cover has since said she doesn't want to return to PPA. The HT is now considering her options, and is renegading on her word and promise to me that I would return to my classteaching post.
    I feel terribly upset, and feel I'm being discrimiated against because I went on maternity leave. Had I returned to the classroom in March, then none of this would have been up for discussion.
    I've contacted my union who are very supportive, and say I should wait to hear the HT final decision, but it is becoming increasingly apparent she is unable to keep everyone happy, so is refusing to make any decision. Help.
  2. Sorry to hear you are so unhappy.
    The horrible truth is that you don't have the right to have your own class - the head has the right to deploy teaching staff as (s)he sees fit. Obviously this has happened to you because of your time away on maternity leave but your head could insist on any member of the teaching staff giving up their class and doing PPA cover instead. It is not classed as a job of lesser status and indeed, nor should it be - it's what I do at the moment and it's not easy!
    If she put a promise that she'd give you your class back in writing that may give you some hope but probably not. Doing PPA cover when you want to be a class teacher is the same as doing Year 1 when you'd like to teach Year 5 - a pain in the proverbial but something you have to put up with. Your head is not being fair to either you or the former PPA teacher as both of you still don't know what's happening in Sept.
    I much prefer being a class teacher so I sympathise with both you and your colleague!
  3. Thank you becky70 for your response.
    The union said I could not stipulate who I job-share with or the year group I teach, but felt sympathetic that I should be allowed to return to the class job that was promised me. I was clearly employed as a Year 6 teacher with a TLR point, and the other teacher was employed as a PPA teacher, and we have both been doing our respective roles for the last 4 years.
    Unfortunately I don't have the agreement in writing, so I do feel duped. The HT is new to the school, and was appointed while I was on leave. It's been an incredibly difficult time for me, as she doesn't know what sort of teacher I am, and I feel like I'm being penalised for having a baby. Since my return she has also removed me from SLT, even though my TLR is protected.
    And you're right, PPA is not an easy option. I much prefer teaching my own class, and find it more satisfying. In addition I'm UPS and can't help feeling if I'm made to do PPA, I won't ever be able to apply for another job!! Who's going to employ such an expensive teacher who isn't even in the classroom? This has all been a hard lesson to learn.
  4. tomjones79

    tomjones79 New commenter

    Get straight onto your union area rep. From what you've said then this is a clear case of discrimination becuase of your maternity leave.

    It is very clear in employment law and the burgundy book conditions that you must be given the right to return to your previous teaching job, including any management role unless that role no longer exists.
    You would win a tribunal on this basis if it came to that (hopefully not). It sounds as though this head is either very naive or very manipulative.
    To be honest I can't see how the union wouldn't put enough pressure on the head to do this, it's totally out of order.
    The problem they have with the other teacher being employed is irrelevant to you. If they've given another permanent contract, that's their problem.
  5. tomjones79

    tomjones79 New commenter

    With respect to Becky's post, she is entirely wrong. They cannot employ you in this role simply becuase you went on maternity leave, it is illegal, written promise or no.

    I'm a union rep. by the way, so with apologies to Becky, unless she is a rep. (presumably not) please use my advice.
  6. No, I'm not a rep. The point I was making is that the head could do ask any member of their teaching staff to move from class teaching to PPA teaching. This has always been my understanding based mainly on what experienced heads have posted on here. If I'm wrong on this one though I'm willing to stand corrected.
    For what it's worth I'm currently a PPA teacher - my contract simply describes my role as teacher. I'm paid the same.
    I would be interested in having this clarified - are you saying that a class teacher can't be moved to a PPA teacher role unless they agree?
  7. Thanks tomjones, that's really good to hear. I spoke to my union before the half-term holiday, and they were very sympathetic. I've yet to tell my HT that I've spoken to my union, but if this carries on for much longer I'm going to have to. I was trying to avoid mentioning my union, because I don't want there to be a bad atmosphere, but I think it's all getting a little late for that.
    I have tried phoning my union again this week, but can't get hold of anyone - I think they're pretty busy with the strike coming up.
    I really do feel I'm being discriminated against, all I want is my old job back! Every time someone asks the HT what she's going to do, she's on the edge of tears! I know she's stressed, but so am I! What's more, the teacher doing my cover keeps talking openly about 'her class' next year in front of me!!! I've expressed my upset, but perhaps it's time to get a little heavier?
  8. If it is not the normal practice to move class teachers to PPA without their agreement then it would clearly amount to discrimination.
    If you are treated less favourably than other people for a reason relating to your pregnancy or maternity leave, this is likely to amount to unlawful discrimination.
    I dont see why you need to avoid telling your HT that you are seeking legal advice from your Union.
  9. It is right that a Headteacher can deploy any teacher in any class he/she chooses. Teachers do not have the right to dictate which class they will teach as they are employed as teachers not as teachers of any particular year group (your contact does not state that your are the Year 6 teacher and your colleague's contract will not state that she is a PPA teacher) as this would restrict how the school deploys its staff.
    Staff who are on maternity leave have the right to return to school as a teacher and with any management responsiblities. They do not have the right to return to a particular year group. I have been through this scenario a number of times and this has always been the advice of HR and of the unions. Given that you should not lose anything (pay or status), then there is "no detriment", particularly as you agreed to do the PPA role. Nor can you argue that this discussion might not have happened if you had returned to your class as the Headteacher may well have decided that you were doing PPA cover in September anyway. I know some schools where the staff change round every year.
    The simple matter is that you should not have been promised anything by the Headteacher. Headteachers can't make promises as they cannot predict staff changes or circumstances and must deploy teachers as they think best at the time. There are other things to consider, including the wishes and professional development of other members of staff. You should make your feelings that your feel let down clear to the Headteacher and argue your case to remain as a classroom teacher (sell your strengths). It may be, however, that the existing PPA teacher has had enough of PPA and that the Headteacher feels that this is the best option for the school for next year. If so, you might be stuck with it but ask for a year group for next year.
  10. tomjones79

    tomjones79 New commenter

    By my understanding this change has come about due to your maternity leave, so would count as discrimination. The change of year groups may be acceptable if it is justifiable but losing your management role after returning DEFINITELY is not allowed if this role is still in the structure. You must speak to your union when you can get hold of them.
  11. tomjones79

    tomjones79 New commenter

    As a secondary teacher, I'm not sure what you mean by PPA role? Is this to cover other groups? If so, this cannot be deemed equivalent to your previous role (even if pay is the same) and therefore would count as discrimination based on your maternity leave. If it's just a change of year group this would be acceptable.
  12. Being a PPA teacher means that you teach other people's classes when they have their PPA time. You teach classes not groups but you would teach more than one different class.
    If being a PPA teacher is not an equivalent role to being a class teacher I would like to know. I would just like it clarifying so that I know my current role is one of lesser status. I know it's a different job to being a class teacher but being a Year 6 class teacher is a different job to being a Year 1 class teacher. My contract simply says teacher.
    Pay is definitely the same.
    I do think there is an isue with the OP being removed from SLT.
  13. tomjones79

    tomjones79 New commenter

    Ok now I' clear with the term "PPA teacher". This seems to be more of a primary issue than a secondary one but I would argue, I believe successfully, that the role is a lesser status as you are not undertaking the same role (i.e. planning, marking etc.) of a full classroom teacher.
    The head could change your year group but not make you PPA in my opinion, unless you agree to it. I would think local area union would support this.

    As I said, the removal of a management role for an individual (if the post remains) is definitely discrimination.
  14. I'm a PPA teacher and I still plan, mark and write report comments so I'd disagree with you there. The role is definitely not a lesser status - I just teach one subject to different classes -that's the only difference between class teachers and me where I work.
    As for the management thing - I too lost my SLT role when returning from maternity leave and didn't fight it - wish I had!
  15. tomjones79

    tomjones79 New commenter

    Ok, thanks for the info. As I'm in secondary, I don't have much knowledge on the PPA issue and it sounds like it depends on the circumstances. In your particular case this sounds reasonable and equivalent, this is where you need specific union advice depending upon your individual circumstances.
    As for the SLT situations, I can't believe this sort of removal of roles goes on, and people should immediately fight these decisions, you would have full union backing.
  16. Thanks everyone for your advice, although it sounds like there's some conflicting information.
    Although PPA teaching shouldn't be regarded as a lesser role, it is considered such in my school. Other teachers have said they don't want to be 'demoted' to such a position, and I certainly don't have the responsibilities I had when I was a class teacher. It isn't a good move for my professional development, and if I'm sure if I wanted to move to another school I would be regarded as an expensive teacher (I'm UPS + TLR) with little to offer.
    And if it is the case that the PPA teacher who has been doing my maternity leave, doesn't want to return to her PPA role, why isn't it that other teachers are being considered for her old job? There is no discussion that someone else may do it, only me!
    In the meantime, I keep phoning my union, but there's never any answer! I'll keep trying and let you know the outcome.

  17. I do not think you should consider the PPA role as a lesser role. It actually gives you an opportunity to teach across the school (gaining experience of age groups you have not taught) and I know of people who have been promoted as a result of their experience across the school. In some primary schoools, primary deputies take the PPA role in addition to some release time as a way of them teaching across the school and monitoring what is going on. PPA teachers should have the same responsibilities including planning, marking and assessment. Our PPA teacher contributes to everyone's reports and contributes to parents' evenings.
    I would say to your headteacher that you are happy to do it for a year but make it clear that you do not see yourself in that role forever and that you would like to class position next year.
    Your removal from SLT is a different matter and needs to be explained to you. You do not make it clear what your TLR is for. Any removal of a TLR needs to go through a consultation and be approved by governors and a management restructure. Your salary will be protected. Does the role no longer exist? If so, who is going to do that TLR work?

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