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HELP PLEASE! Duty of care

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by libby77, Sep 10, 2015.

  1. libby77

    libby77 Occasional commenter

    Any help or advice would be appreciated. After a long and complicated period of time off with anxiety I began a phased return to work. It didn't begin well after being given a horrendous list of acceptable behaviours e.g. Must sit up straight in a chair and not wear a coat and must not moan to staff members (see separate post titled Teacher Standards).

    The term ended up in being handed a letter for a disciplinary investigation (penultimate week). The reasons for the disciplinary were for disclosing to a deputy that I had had suicidal thoughts and not meeting teacher standards (8 weeks later I don't know what the accusations were and in honesty I don think the head does either). This was then retracted a week later.

    Today I attended a case conference with head of HR, a second HR representative, Head of OH, a second representative from OH, head, deputy head, union rep and myself. I held myself together well considering the number of people present. I had the opportunity to express my frustrations about the return to work. I explained about the damage the disciplinary had caused. The head repeatedly stated that it had been retracted.

    The school made it very clear that if I'm fit to go back then that's it! No support, risk assessments, recognition of my diagnosis of anxiety.

    I am fed up of the whole situation and desperately want to get on with my job. Although school made it very clear that immediately from the moment I go back I will be on the TED procedures. I am also facing a change in role having been a class teacher for 10 years and being asked to be a PPA teacher (an apparently supportive move!), so I am way out of my comfort zone being asked to teach reception, Y1 and Y2 children when I have always been KS2.

    School have asked me to obtain a fitness to work note from my doctor in order to return next week. However as I have mulled over today's events this evening my anxiety levels have rocketed. My severe lack of trust in school has been overlooked and I feel very vulnerable, based on my previous experience. I just don't know what I need to ask for in order to put my mind at rest. I feel I need to be off sick for longer but can't see how that will help. I'm at a loss. Where do I stand in respect of their duty of care?

    Completely fed up :-(
  2. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    e.g. Must sit up straight in a chair and not wear a coat

    Unless you really made a thing of wearing a thick coat in 37.C July 1 heatwave conditions in London and/or slouching like mad, the 'list of acceptable behaviours' sounds inappropriate for a dog, let alone a human being.

    I would just look for other jobs in teaching, secure one and hand in your notice. Your current employees sound like the collective noun for those practising no 3s in a toilet.
  3. rooney1

    rooney1 Occasional commenter

    I really feel for you as it seems to me that you have to decide whether you are able to return to work at your current school or whether it will be better for you healthwise to try something else - and that is a really big decision.

    You need to really talk things through carefully with your union rep (I hope that they are at regional level at least - and do remember that you pay for them to support you). If you have legal helpline cover on your house insurance it could be worth phoning them just to talk through what has been going on and see what they think. I did this - althought my union rep was great - it was a massive help just to have another opinion and it really helped me decide what to do and gave me the the right language to use. I did not tell my union rep that I had spoken to someone else but I think she might have guessed.

    Whatever you do, do not resign at present but you may not be well enough to return to school at the moment - speak to your GP.

    How much warning were you given over the change of role from class teacher to PPA teacher - that might be relevant if you decide to pursue a grievance. If you do decide to go back you might find PPA teaching works for you - no class responsibilty and maybe not too much of the core subjects. I had not taught KS 1 at all but now I am and they are lovely.

    Please try to think of yourself - if you do decide to leave - try to do it in a way that at least gets you an agreed reference. It will be possible to move on after this - although it may not feel like that at the moment.

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