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Incompetency- what do i do?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by rochelina22, Dec 22, 2010.

  1. Having major work issues. Been at the same school for 3+ years and started as an NQT. I sailed through my NQT year and have had no issues in the 2 years since. Now in my 4th year, and am being threatened with incompetency. I fully admit I have struggled with leading a subject- didn't know how to go about it and did not feel comfortable telling much more experienced staff what I felt they should be doing, so have done almost nothing in 2yrs with that subject. However, head offered me a subject change at october 1/2 term to something much more interesting to me and which i have some experience with, so I happily accepted. However, at this time, she also questioned how long I stay after school each day, and then said I was not working my "designated hours", something neither I nor my colleagues had ever heard of. I was slightly bemused by this as I have kept the same schedule for the last 3 years- leaving at 4ish a few days a week, so it seemed strange that she only mentioned this recently. There is a reason for this that none of my coworkers know about- that I have OCD, and that's why I leave early ( have a very chaotic/dysfunctional home life). It's a big secret and it doesn't really affect my job, except that I need to leave early several days a week and cannot stay till all hours of the evening. But the problem is we have had a meeting and the head is threatening competency because I am not working enough hours and because I won't reveal my personal difficulties, which I dont want everybody to know about. My line manager has said incompetency is ridiculous, but I don't know what she will do next. I have been told that my teaching is excellent and not under scrutiny- Head herself observed everybody in October and gave me good with outstanding features. I guess my question is, can she start capability proceedings because I can;t stay late and in the past my subject leadership has been poor? I have achieved more with my new subject in just a few weeks than I did in the past 2 years, but now she needs to give me time to prove myself. At the moment she is continuously looking to catch me out over little things. And do I tell her about my personal difficulties? What if knowing that I have OCD makes it worse? I now have 2 weeks over xmas to worry about what willl happen. I enjoy my job and I don't want to lose it- it seems unfair that things can change so drastically. I am not incompetent and will not be forced down that route- I would resign before that. Like everybody, I worked too hard to fall down now. Any advice? I am not (yet) in a union.
  2. Hi, consult your union. OCD is covered by The Disability Discrimination Act.
  3. Read the teachers pay and conditions document.

    your designated hours are 1265 over the year (lessons, PPA time, breaks (not lunch),meetings after school and parents/open evenings and any additional hours to carry out your professional duties (marking and planning etc)

    Unless your school day finishes after 4 and you've not been staying until then or have not attended staff meetings etc, then no-one else not even the Head must determine how you use your additional hours to meet your professional duties.
  4. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    Designated hours are generally 5-10 mins at the start and end of each day, plus staff meetings/open evenings and the like. I assume you do stay later when you have to for those.

    Other than that, as long as your work is done, it matters not a jot whether you leave at 4 or at 6.

    Your line manager needs to speak to your head on your behalf, that is part of their role as line manager. Ask them to do so as soon as you get back. Your head needs to know that competency/capability is not an issue and so cannot be pursued.

    A union may not help you now with this issue as they don't always help with issues that start before you join. Ask before you hand over any cash to them.
    Best of Luck!
  5. Thank you all. I definitely always arrive minimum 30mins before school starts- we have a few staff who come in minutes before they start their morning playground duty! I also try to stay later on days when I can, and am definitely always there for staff meetings, parents eve's etc- don't even take dr's appointments in school time and am always in school for PPA time. Line manager had already said she thought I was doing my designated hours and if I was doing that then the head coudn't touch me, but I don't think the head sees it that way.
  6. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    Have you joined a union?
    Are you in a state school?
    I wonder about whether the head is going over the directed hours if you are also allocated morning playground duties. I'd check on pay and conditions, as people like Tafkam will know. I'd find out exactly what hours you are supposed to be in school. It sounds odd that your line manager 'thinks' you are. It isn't usually that long before/after school you need to be in other than for directed time.
    Have you been formally diagnosed with OCD and are you receiving any treatment for it?
    You don't have to tell the Head any personal information about your medical history, but it would be a good idea to let OH know.
  7. Not in a union (thinking I may need to join one) but am in a state school. We all have before school and break duties each week. Can the exact hours you are supposed to do differ at each school? At my school I've heard it said that its 30 mins after children leave, which I easily do. I don't think my line manager really knows or we would have sorted this out by now.

    Have had OCD since I was about 14- had some therapy many years ago but it wasn't very useful- have just learned to live with it. I would say that in my job it doesn't affect me and my colleagues are none the wiser- it's just the anxiety starts towards the end of the day when I need to get away, and time starts to be an issue.
  8. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Join a union now.
    The head may have threatened many things, but until she actually carries out her threats, nothing has been done. So if you join a union now, the membership will have begun before anything officially took place, therefore the union will be in a position to help you.
    I would just go online and join one now.
  9. I'm sorry to hear you are having difficulty with your HT and I hope you resolve it, BUT PLEASE join a union. NOW. As Karvol says, BEFORE anything happens. It might be that a simple message from your union will make your HT back off and give you the space you want to get on with your job. The other thing that joining a union NOW will do is give you a bit more peace of mind over the holiday so that you can rest and think how to proceed once back at school.
  10. I agree with the others join a union NOW or at least speak to an advisor. You can still speak to someone even if you haven't officially joined one yet, they just won't be able to help you with legal stuff (but that's when you join).
    One other thing, I'm a post 16 teacher but I've also worked in 2 schools and at no time has anyone ever said to me or my colleagues that we will be sacked or put onto competency procedures because we're under hours! All that has happened is that we've been told that we'll be used more for cover or given other classes to make up for this!
    The HT is talking a load of **** and knows it too!
    Logically speaking, you wouldn't use a screwdriver to knock a fence post into the ground! I.e. You don't claim a teacher is incompetent because she is under hours! What you do is give her more!
    I smell possible bullying in the air and if you chose to (which you probably won't), you could claim that you were discriminated against because of your OCD which is covered by the DDA as others said. The fact that you chose not to declare it is neither here nor there, as you could argue that the stress of the whole situation you were put under triggered it (at the school you didn't declare it because you had recovered from it until the HT's behaviour started-you should have been supported in your subject leader roles if HT wasn't happy with your results-that's called good management!), so the HT is playing a dangerous game, methinks! This is why you need to speak to someone from the union or teacher support line, in order to clarify these issues and consider your options!
    Hope this helps!
    Enjoy your holiday!

  11. The head wrote me a letter just before the holidays, saying that she was considering the next steps to take. She stated that I had alluded to some problems but felt she wouldn't understand- this is true, my line manager spoke to her about it previously on my behalf, without going into too much detail, and reported back that she wasn't particularly sympathetic. So I do feel under pressure to tell her, although I don't know if it really would be in my best interests. She might just say "so"? And then i'll have revealed something I didn't want anybody to know, and it won't make any difference in getting her off my back.

    As far as the hours are concerned- I think its ridiculous. I have always thought that if you got your work done then nobody can decide how long you need to stay after school. But she isn't backing down. I must admit that the term 'bullying' has crossed my mind. She sent me an email which i didn't receive, so line manager let me have a look at the same message the head had sent to her, which also included the line, " Dear x, I thought it best to keep up the pressure..." before the message she sent to me.

    Regardless of hours though- can she start competency based on my poor subject leadership? I have already turned things in a much more positive direction in just a few weeks, but need a chance to prove that I can do a better job with my new subject. I am hoping that as it's the holidays she can't really be doing much to move the bad things forwards, but you never know. Does anybody know what is the first step for competency? I have had no warnings by letter.
  12. Hi - send me a message. I've been through this. I agree with the poster who advise you to join a union, but this does not solve everything as some of them are useless. This is probably not what you want to hear, but you must be aware of the problems you could come across so that you can tackle them effectively. Please drop me a line, and I'll tell you more.
  13. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    The advice is join a union. If all you are going to do is ignore it and post on here about your problems, then don't expect a lot of sympathy in the future when things start going pear shaped.
    I would also be very careful what information you reveal about yourself.
  14. To Karvol- thank you for that advice- hence why I rarely use the TES, as it doesn't take long for somebody to chip in with their sanctimonious and extremely unhelpful advice. I realise I have to join a union- I've managed to be union free for 3 years and saved a lot of money. Like others have said, there is no guarantee they will help you sort things out- from what I've read they help negotiate your release which is not what i'm looking for help with. Plus, I am not looking for sympathy, I am looking for information.

    And I have been careful about the information I have revealed thank you.
  15. I'd advise you to meet with the head and and for a comprehensive list of areas where you're not making the level they expect from you and a list of 'targets' to meet in order to satisfy them. The head should detail what support you will get in meeting these targets if applicable. Then get a union rep to check this list is reasonable and legal. Then work bloody hard to meet targets on the list. I don't think your problems are going to elicit any real sympathy so I wouldn't reveal them if I were you. If you honestly don't think you can meet the targets on the list then it would be a good time to start looking for another job.
  16. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    At risk of sounding unfriendly at first read, Karvol is right, you know and I am being supportive of you, honestly! As others have said, you MUST join a union quickly. Saving money should never be an excuse because belonging to a union should never cost anyone anything - all union and other professional subscriptiotns are tax deductable. (Claims for rebates can be back-dated for up to 7 years so get writing to your tax office now!)
    I agree your Head sounds as if she is bullying you. I also agree that the particular circumstances of your medical condition mean you are covered by the Equality Act. Your Head is not allowed to discriminate against you for having OCD. You do not have to disclose it to her but if you meet with Occupational Health they can ensure that your condition is accommodated in order that you can do your job well. Your Head is required to make such accommodation by law.
    The information you have already given could mean you are at risk of being identified. At risk of sounding condescending (sorry - it's not meant), you don't know what you donw't know at the moment. If your Head continues to attack you in this way, you could find yourself in an employment tribunal (with union support of course) claiming for an abuse of disability rights. Anything like identifiable posts could be used against you in evidence as a breach of contract for alleged defamation of the school. I know it sounds far-fetched but it's the level it comes down to in the end.
    Take care and get some protection for yourself from this dreadful woman as a priority.
  17. Karvol

    Karvol Occasional commenter

    Hey you came looking for advice. If you don't like it then why bother posting?
    As for being sanctimonious, how is this for starters:
    You are an idiot.
    If money is your primary concern in all of this, along with some idiotic notion that unions cannot really help you, then you really are living in a fantasy world. Wake up and look at what is happening. Your headmistress doesn't like you and has got it in for you. It doesn't really matter what the reason is, the fact that she is wanting to start competency proceedings should be enough of a warning. I rather doubt that you will be there this time next year if things continue as they are, and you need somebody on your side - somebody professional - who can help. Forget trying to look for something other than a mutually satisfactory release. It is going to be either you or your headmistress who leaves, and guess who is lower down on the food chain?
    I wasn't in the least bit trying to be sympathetic, I was trying to be realistic. But realism is not what you are after. All you want is someone to say "Do this, do that and it will all go away". It will not go away and it will get much worse.
    Good luck, because something tells me you are going to need a lot of it.
  18. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    Very wise advice re the OCD has been given here. Good thing a number of you were more on the ball than me. It hadn't occured to me that the OP might not have declared the OCD on her medical form.
  19. This may be of interest:

    Of course it is no substitute for professional advice on your particular concerns.
    "Disclosing a Disability Once in Post?
    If you wait until this stage before disclosing and you subsequently suffer
    discrimination, you will not have a legal case as the employer can rightly claim that
    they did not know about your disability even though you were probably given
    opportunities to disclose during the selection stage."
  20. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    Interestingly he says that you can't dismiss due to lying about your medical condition, but does make a good point about integrity.
    Personally I'd try and stay at least half an hour later each day and see if that makes a difference. If you make this into a fight unfortunately only you will lose out.
    As for giving out too much information remember that you have made previous posts that all add to the background.

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