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Informal support and unions

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Vitalistics, May 19, 2019.

  1. Vitalistics

    Vitalistics New commenter


    I was placed on an informal support plan which should begin next term.

    Should I get my union to agree to the terms of the support plan before agreeing to it? I did contact my union when I was told I'll be on a support plan, but the union just told me to go with it for now. My concern is that if I involve my union, the school will take it badly?

    In summary
    1. I feel like the union should be getting a look in at the plan before I proceed with it!
    2. But I am concerned that if I involve my union at this early stage, the school might become aggressive and fail me in this support plan.

    I am hoping that they can't fail me in this plan before September anyway (due to the timing?)

    What do you suggest?

    Thanks in advance.
  2. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Surely the Union can look at the plan, and advise, without getting officially involved (as far as the school is concerned)? Of course they may look at it, and have serious concerns...
    gingerhobo48, pepper5, Flanks and 3 others like this.
  3. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    I would go nowhere near agreeing to a support plan or its terms without union advice.

    Your career is at threat, not immediately but this is the first stage of a process that could end it.

    Union should be involved and not at local schools rep level. Regional level, insist upon it.

    Oh and if you are in a school that throws someone under the bus because they involved a union when their career was threatened, do you want to work there?
  4. tenpast7

    tenpast7 Occasional commenter

    I agree with Frank Wolley and you should see the Union , on your own terms first and then take action after discussion with them.
    You will then hopefully benefit from their knowledge and experience and gain some much needed reassurance.
    Good luck.
  5. sooooexcited

    sooooexcited Occasional commenter

    At the informal stage, unless it's outlined in your policy, there is no right to union involvement. It's only when it's formal that they are involved.
  6. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    I'd be looking at moving schools in the longer term.
  7. bajan

    bajan Occasional commenter

    Did you agree to the support plan? We're you actively involved in the formulation of the targets?
    pepper5 likes this.
  8. Pomza

    Pomza Star commenter

    Find a new job ASAP.
  9. Vitalistics

    Vitalistics New commenter

    Eep...why do you say that?

    Is this the end of my work here? (Lots of teachers have been on this support plan and passed it so I'm in two minds at the moment...)

    Then there are very small numbers of jobs around at this time of year :'l
  10. Vitalistics

    Vitalistics New commenter

    Targets are to be set...they've not written anything down yet. I'm thinking I'll get something sent pretty soon
  11. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Seriously? There are 'lots' of teachers in your school who have 'passed' a support plan?
    Over the next few weeks there will be a great many jobs around. It is peak time!
  12. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    It does happen. Some heads are not out to get rid of people, but may need to show that they are taking action where there are weaknesses. If they can show that they've identified weaknesses, taken steps, and the teacher is now performing better, all to the good. That should be how informal support works, and actually, if the vast majority of staff who have informal support plans do succeed, perhaps they can be seen as less of a threat. Sadly, though, that doesn't seem to be how it works in many schools.

    Anyway, Vitalistics, I'd be inclined to show the support plan to your union if you want, just to check they don't foresee any particular issues, but you don't have to tell your school you're doing that. Even if your union suggest you ask for something to be modified, you don't have to say it was their idea.
    Vitalistics likes this.
  13. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Lead commenter

    I had one in support at mine.
    Vitalistics likes this.
  14. Vitalistics

    Vitalistics New commenter

    Genuinely...lots seem to have passed it after going through a ginormous amount of stress first.
  15. peakster

    peakster Star commenter

    So why go through the stress - I hate schools that do this.

    Start job hunting.
  16. shevington

    shevington Occasional commenter

    Take the advice from Frank Wolley. Speak to your Regional Centre today.

    HT and SMT can receive paid advice from HR at the informal stage. Therefore you receive paid advice from your Union.
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. Progressnerd

    Progressnerd Occasional commenter

    It seems baffling to me that a school can have so many people on these ''plans" and that everyone knows about it. Surely this plan should be as a last resort for serious concerns based on evidence rather than 'this parent/pupil' claimed this about your teaching/books. Does the school employ a lot of poor teachers then? Maybe they need to have a think about their recruitment process instead (sarcasm)

    Get the Union involved all the way and please leave this school as soon as you can.
  18. RoseLN

    RoseLN New commenter

    On your union membership card or info, there should be a direct link to your div sec. Alternatively, you can easily find the name of a regional office if you search for UNION NAME X Region and there should be a contact number.

    A caseworker should really be assigned for a support plan - even if it's in the informal stages. Whilst most policies state that there is no right to union representation in the informal process, that doesn't stop you from asking them to look over your plan. The school simply do not need to know the union has looked over it.

    Once you sign the support plan and agree to it, you're at their mercy and too often support plans are used as a way to get teachers out of the profession.
  19. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    So follow their advice. If the objectives are manageable then just accept it. If you think it's deliberately tough to almost ensure that you move on to formal capability then negotiate. If the terms are impossible speak to the union again.
  20. jimm287

    jimm287 New commenter

    Find a new job. You are worth more than a "support plan". Do you really want to work for a school where "loads" of people have support plans?. They should be a last resort, not a first port of call. Is it worth your health and wellbeing working for a place like this when there are thousands of other schools out there? Loyalty is over rated and often is abused by SLT's and HT's who expect people just to sit and take it. Leave and be happy somewhere else

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