1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Is this acceptable?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Fur, Nov 15, 2015.

  1. Fur

    Fur New commenter

    I'm 31 weeks pregnant and am currently covering a class. School have known about my pregnancy since the summer term, and due to a promotion I was not initially class based this year but then was asked to cover a class due to unforeseen circumstances.
    Ever since I have been covering this class, any release time I have asked for- either for antenatal appointments or courses, has been granted by my head teacher but very reluctantly given by the Deputy, who often will not tell me until the day before/ morning of who will be covering my class.
    I am due to be out 3 mornings in the next 2 weeks for antenatal appointments, and on Friday, the Deputy quizzed me about the length and location of the appointments and when I knew about them.She then told me that it would have to be a supply covering, which is not ideal. This makes me feel like I am being punished for being pregnant and I find myself dreading arranging my next appointment. The longer it goes on, the more personal it feels which leaves me feeling stressed as I still have 5, possibly 6 weeks left at work.
    Is it acceptable for someone to be cross-examining me like this? What would you suggest as a next step?
  2. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    It isn't acceptable. if this was happening to my wife I would phone up the DH/Come into school and tell her in words of one syllable WHY it isn't acceptable...But maybe you should speak to your Union and/or only communicate with the DH by email/note.
  3. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Just reiterate that the HT has no problem with your appointments and you haven't the time to go into detail as the HT has given approval.

    As to dictating who covers your class? Forget it. Tell the DHT when you're going, smile and remind her that the work will be left on the desk (or whatever the arrangement is). But you don't get to choose who covers.
    aspensquiver and Yoda- like this.
  4. Ladykaza

    Ladykaza Senior commenter

    I'm sure that @GLsghost and @TheoGriff will be along soon with the rules and regs but no, this is not acceptable.

    Your school will have a policy and should have conducted some sort of risk assessment ( sorry doesn't sound pleasant but is very necessary) to make sure that they care for you well during your pregnancy.

    Get on to your union straight away and to HR and H&S at county ( if you are a maintained school)

    Most importantly congratulations. If this is your first you are about to embark on the moist important and rewarding job you'll ever do... Pay's rubbish mind and the hours are horrendous! :)
    marlin likes this.
  5. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    @DaisysLot might be able to give an authoritative answer and advice - but GDW has said what my advice would be.
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter



    Totally, completely and entirely within your rights . . .

    This is not acceptable.

    How about a little e-mail saying how you feel? Copy to the Head

    Dear X

    I am just writing to say that I was left feeling uncomfortable and a little distressed by the way that you questioned me about my antenatal appointments last week.

    I understand that it can be inconvenient for the school, but you will understand that I am entitled to paid time off for antenatal medical visits, and also antenatal parenting classes if needs be.

    My understanding is that I do not have to make any arrangements whatsoever for classes during these absences, nor provide justification of when I was given the dates of my appointments. Certainly the Headteacher has never quizzed me in the manner that you do.

    I am concerned that this regular interrogation about my appointments is having a negative impact on my well-being.

    I would wish the final weeks of my pregnancy to pass in a stress-free manner, so would be grateful if, in future, you would not interrogate me about my necessary absences linked to my pregnancy. This would make it more likely for me to be able to continue working at school until the date already arranged for the beginning of my maternity leave.

    Thank you

    Ms Fur

    Hope that helps, and I forgot to say right at the start:


    Best wishes

  7. Yoda-

    Yoda- Lead commenter

    Grumpydogwomen has it right.
    You have the permission of the organ grinder.

    Does she want to stress you in your condition?
    A possible question to ask her if she gets too irritating?

    Who covers does not matter compared to your appointments.

    What Theo said as well...
  8. Fur

    Fur New commenter

    Thank you everyone for your responses.
    My emotions are all over the place at the moment so its reassuring to know I'm not overreacting.

    I will try and speak to the Deputy Head tomorrow about how she made me feel and see what response I get. If this isn't possible or it continues then I'll try your email Theo.
  9. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    It is absolutely not acceptable. Absolutely absolutely against the law.

    It is unlawful to subject a woman to unfavourable teatment because of pregnancy or maternity. You have a statutory right to attend ante-natal appointments and to be paid to do so. Any form of discouragement or refusal is unlawful.

    I am litigating a claim not unlike this at the moment, in which there was a persistent refusal to allow a pregnant employee to attend ante-natal appointments unless she took them as holiday and refusal to leave on time, so she missed a scan and had to rebook it.

    This, along with deliberately reducing her hours and employing someone else to do them, is going to cost the employer somewhere in the region of £10,000 in damages.

    Write a timeline of events and witnesses while you remember... start to make secret recordings of what the DH says to you... get confirmation of things suggested via email (which you BCC to a home email account).

    ...and ker-ching! :D I am really not joking!!! Gather evidence and talk to the regional union about it!
    marlin likes this.
  10. Fur

    Fur New commenter

    So after school today I was called into a meeting with the Deputy Head, another member of SLT(who is equivalent to me) and the other teacher in the year group in which I'm covering.
    The basic purpose of the meeting was to tell myself and the other teacher that our planning was boring not pitched correctly and difficult to follow.
    Please consider here that I am a core subject leader and had been planning for the subject which I lead- using guidance from our LA regarding planning with the new curriculum.
    The other teacher cried and was reassured that she was doing a great job but doing too much.
    I was then asked why I was so quiet- I brought up the situation on Friday and how that had made me feel and explained that I now felt like nothing I was doing was right. The deputy dismissed friday's situation- saying she was sorry if she had upset me but she was just doing her job, she then went on to say that none of this was personal.
    Where do I go from here? I still have 5/6 weeks left at work before maternity leave and it seems that this deputy is hell bent on making my life hell.
  11. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Follow @GLsghost advice. Record meetings from now on, follow up what was discussed in a clarification email. Whiff of harrassment here.
  12. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter

    So the DHT got what she wanted and then proceed to 'make the other teacher feel better' by reassuring her. Power games.

    She didn't reduce you to tears so challenged you. 'just doing her job' is a cop-out as is 'none of this is personal'. More power games - blaming you for having trouble with her approach.

    Concentrate on you and the baby. If you were to go sick someone else would have to do the planning and they would be rubbish at it. So just carry on doing what you're doing and don't worry about them. Time will fly by and then you'll have much more important and exciting things to concentrate on.
    snowyhead likes this.
  13. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    ;) GLsGhost doesn't give advice on TES - only information which can readily be checked on the CA website!


    However, I will stick my neck out and say that if you get no joy from your union (and they MUST be your first call) and have no other option, I will willingly process this complaint for you, via the CA network. PM me if you would like to talk about it.

    This kind of bullying discrimination gets right up my nose!!
    snowyhead likes this.
  14. snowyhead

    snowyhead Lead commenter

    Yes, of course. Perhaps 'ideas' might have been a better choice of word.:)
    GLsghost likes this.
  15. DaisysLot

    DaisysLot Senior commenter

    I think you are right to be aware that you are extra sensitive and vulnerable emotionally at the moment - I am in no way dismissing your treatment in saying that. I think you are also right to confront it immediately - Theos email suggestion sounds a good place to start. Union should certainly be quick to back you up rather than leaving things languish for weeks…
    I hope the head is supportive when they are aware of how you have been made to feel…. there's many a dick deputy out there :)

Share This Page