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Job given to newly appointed teacher whilst off sick

Discussion in 'Primary' started by Jennit, Feb 14, 2011.

  1. Hi
    I have searched the forum but couldn't find anything that equates to my situation. Although not unusual, I have been off with stress since mid-June 2010, although I did go back to work in September being assigned to a Y5 class. Set up classroom during hols and worked with class for 2 weeks before being signed off with stress again after OH said I had tried to go back too soon and with no support from either outside agencies or the school.
    Long story short, I have attended every review meeting and Formal meeting as requested and have always been open about my desire and determination to return to work as soon as I was well enough. I was to have gone back in January but, due to having to attend 4 meeings in 7 weeks between mid-Oct and end of Nov, I was still judged by GP and OH as unfit for work. 2 weeks before Christmas, the Head appointed a permanent member of staff without advertising the post and that memeber of staff was given my class with a letter going out to parents stating that she would be with the class until the end of the summer term.
    We are a small school with only 7 classes and 9 teaching staff and there is now no class position for me on my return to school after Feb half term. I have provisionally been offered PPA ("to allow me time to familiarise myself with changes that have taken place in the school") and a 2 day a week maternity leave. This will only cover 4 days of the week and I know that I am going to be used as a glorified supply teacher (with apologies to supply teachers most of whom do a cracking job) but know you will understand what I mean.
    I feel very much that I am being penalised for being off ill and the Head has already had it made clear to her that I need the support of going back into a familiar environment with a familiar routine to allow me to adjust back into being in school. Whilst I feel that this arrangement is acceptable for my phased return, I know that if I have to do this long term, I will be off with stress again but there appears to be no solution as there is no class for me to take. Any thoughts?
    I would like to add here that our school was placed in Special Measures early last year with a result that our Head resigned, a Lead Head was put in place with resultant changes and pressure. Also within 1 month of being put in the category - 4 of our teaching staff were off sick with stress related depression, including myself - 1 was pushed to resign within a month and the 2 others have resigned in the last 3 weeks after being put on Stage 2 of Formal proceedings. I am the only one who has fought this after appealing against being put on Stage 1 so rapidly (was signed off late Sept and first meeting was mid-Oct) and being very clear about my intention to return.
    Am I just being suspicious or paranoid in thinking that the Lead Head fully expected me to resign like my other colleagues and is there anything I can do about this position I find myself in?
    Any help, advice, support gratefully recieved
  2. anon2799

    anon2799 New commenter

    Didn't want to read and run, but it's late so I'll keep it short. Union. Phone them tomorrow and tell them what's happening.
  3. yes - get onto your union ASAP !!!

    And good luck!
  4. Thanks for that but Union been involved from beginning but still feel I am having to fight my own corner - if you understand my meaning.
    Have had conflicting advice from Union and mental health/legal support - latter adamant that Head is in wrong for appointing someone into my post when I was off sick and that she should not have done it unless I had resigned. They also say that I should not be 'disdvantaged' by returning to work in a different role, with a different curriculum to get my head round and having to teach/get to grips with over 190 children and parents on a weekly basis.
    Have next Return to Work meeting tomorrow (sorry - today) which will be my first time in school since September. I am not to worried about it, other than wondering what is in store for me if she does not offer me a class post again.
  5. NQT2004

    NQT2004 New commenter

    Something similar happened to a friend of mine and the union really helped her and acted as a middle man, I really sympathise with you and can imagine how easy it is to slip into you position, Stress with a desire to return will mean returning to quickly and then obviously being off again.
    I don't want to sound unsympathetic but there is a class of children involved and they get one chance at year 5. I think if I was in the Head's position I would do the same. That class now have a permanent teacher for the rest of the year, I have taught a class who had 4 supplies over a year due to illness... they pretty much missed a year.
    This way the class have a teacher and you can go back slowly... doing PPA takes away the pressure of planning, parents evenings, displays... etc etc. It could mean spending time in different classes and could be positive. I know with stress it is hard to see the positives but think about how you can show lots of teachers in the school how could you are by covering their class well.
  6. Thanks for your resonse NQT - I have managed to see the positives of the PPA cover and feel that this is a good way back into school. However, my class was being successfully covered from Day 3 of my absence by one supply teacher who was happy and prepared to stay on until I came back - however long that took. At beginning of Dec Head decided to appoint a permanent member of teaching staff without advertising the post (which has upset 2 teaching staff who are on temporary contracts) into the Y5 class and the supply teacher was allocated the PPA/management time cover. So it wasn't that the Head was dissatisfied with the teaching of the supply teacher. My class would have had one teacher until my return, not a stream of different ones. Although i do agree with the points you have raised, I am more worried that there is no real role for me in the school and this may still be the case come September. I love teaching, I love building relationships with a class - that is why I have fought so hard to get well and return to work. I have done a variety of jobs in my life but teaching has been the most rewarding and satisfying.
  7. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    I'd keep seeing the positives as the head can deploy you in any way they see fit and it would be better to look at it as a way of getting back in to school life. You will build different relationships with the children.
  8. minnieminx

    minnieminx New commenter

    I'd try hard to keep seeing the positives as well.

    One of our staff was in more or less the same position as you this time last year, though the person appointed was on a temporary contract until the end of the summer term.

    She too came back to do PPA and management cover and was not at all impressed with the idea, but found she loved it so much she asked to keep that role from September. She does a fabulous job and is so enthusiastic and lively it is a joy to be around her. Totally different to how she was just before she went off with stress.

    Honestly give it a go and you might just love it. The hassle involved with fighting probably isn't worth it anyway if you are just recovering.
  9. NQT2004

    NQT2004 New commenter

    Having read your next post Jennit.. I can see more clearly how annoyed you must be. Having one secure teacher- who is a supply for the year would be great and why the Head has replaced them without advertising is odd. But there might be a reason for it... is it cheaper to have the permanent teacher, does he/she know something about the standard of teaching from both teachers that you dont.... the point is there could be lots of things going on behind the scenes that are probably not worth wasting your energy on.
    Get better, get back .... then possibly get out- in my experience this job can be much harder or easier depending on the school.
    Maybe rather than thinking about the next step... think big - think about the next few, the next years...then go back and take one step at a time?
  10. Tricky one and I do sympathise. You can clearly see it from both points of view. I wonder as I'm sure you have whether this school is the one for you and is at the root of the problem? Special measures and lots of people becoming stressed sounds like something to escape from if possible.
    I was in a school where a member of staff was off sick long term (several years on and off). The school did everything it could to phase returns, support,additional teachers in class etc etc. But the member of staff was really beyond help and in the end it became clear she had to leave.
    I'm not saying this is so in your case but my point is that a point had to be reached when decisions were made. In the end, the teacher concerned acknowledged she'd had enough. In your case, perhaps, PPA cover and a less pressurised role in a school which obviously has had problems could be a way to get back into a job you want to do and then look around for a permanent post elsewhere in shchool which had less day to day issues to cope with?
  11. Thanks to you all for your responses. I am prepared to give this a go as I really do not want to be out of teaching. I love the being in the classroom with the kids, it is just all the c--p that goes with it.
    Have had meeting with Head and on the whole things went well. Th main thing I am concerned about is to make it clear from the beginning that I will not welcome my timetable being changed at short notice (ie 30 minutes) whilst I am getting back into the job. Have had this happen to me before and found it very stressful.
    Unfortunately can't consider moving to another school as I am in my late 50's and UPS2 but have only got 15 years of pension contributions in hand as I did not become a teacher til later in life. If I had 30+ years in, believe me I would be getting out now.
    Not sure where things will go at the end of the summer but will see how I do with the combination of class and PPA cover,etc. A friend's daughter does it and loves it as well, so it may be a case of 'an ill wind ........' etc.

  12. It's a pity there was no communication about the decision until it happened. I'm with others thinking that at least as far as the end of this year, the situation doesn't look too bad, and there is a chance to return with reduced stress levels (but notv sure about a posters comment suggesting planning would be easier, if you are planning for all ages that might take some work)./
    I think what is crucial is the relationship with the Head, whether the Head is genuinely supportive, or just going through the motions, appearing to do the right thing by you, but really having another agenda (ie a bullying Head who wishes to clear staff out).
  13. Hi

    I haven't posted recently as I have had meeting another meeting to confirm my return to work and what has been agreed.
    However I did my first half day yesterday and as I was leaving was told that the agreement on role and duties within the school is not being stuck to in any way.
    Now what? Have contacted Union who have still not got back to me and I have anther meeting with the Head tomorrow knowing that everything that was agreed to for my return to work isn't worth the paper it was written on.
    I have just been vaguely told that something will be found for me to do

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