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Leadership webinar: workplace bullying (video and webchat)

Discussion in 'Senior Leadership Team' started by AndrewFIS, Feb 18, 2016.

  1. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Bullying in the workplace is evident everywhere. Is it any different in schools? Absolutely not.

    As part of the TES Leadership webinar series, I’ll be putting your questions to Sally Robertson, a barrister at Cloisters Chambers.

    We will examine how schools can manage those who bully colleagues and discuss what legal recourse there is.

    Post your questions below now - and, if you can, join in our live webchat on March 1 at 4.30pm.

    Before that, you can watch a video we’ve made in which Sally and I discuss the issues, with key advice for school leaders.


    To access all the videos in the TES Leadership series, plus an exclusive database of grants available to schools, become a TES Leadership subscriber.
    GLsghost likes this.
  2. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Hi, don't forget you can submit your questions for Sally Robertson ahead of next week's webchat or during the discussion by posting it here.

    Thank you.
    GLsghost likes this.
  3. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    @AndrewFIS @TES_Rosaline Is the webinar available for viewing afterwards? I'm interested in this but I'm not going to be able to watch it when it goes out 'live' on 1st March
  4. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    A common complaint on the Workplace Dilemmas forum is that capability is unfairly used to secure the resignation of a teacher out of favour - especially an older, more-expensive teacher, who is perhaps resistant to new initiatives.

    How would you suggest a teacher in such a position evidences the presence of a 'provision, criterion or practice' to successfully claim indirect age discrimination?
    cazzmusic1 likes this.
  5. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Hi @Rott Weiler Yes, the webchat will be posted here.
  6. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Could posters please not begin discussions on here, but limit themselves to posting questions? Thank you.

    @Scintillant - would you like to word some questions, including one about the work of Coe et al ?

    Thank you.

    Best wishes

  7. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Yes, I will write something along those lines for a third time ;)

    A common and very clearly increasing complaint on the Workplace Dilemmas forum is that capability is unfairly used to secure the resignation of a teacher out of favour. This seems to be prevalent among, but is not exclusive to "older" teachers. There are suggestions that these teachers are "resistant to new initiatives" but from what I have read on Workplace Dilemmas, this hasn't actually been mentioned as an issue in the cases discussed there. However, cost very often has.

    So, with that in mind, how would you suggest a teacher in such a position evidences the presence of a 'provision, criterion or practice' to successfully claim either indirect age discrimination or to show that their being placed on capability on the basis of an observation - as often mentioned on Workplace Dilemmas and mentioned by Robert Coe in his ResearchED 2013 presentation - has little valid basis? In doing this, the work of Professor Robert Coe and Strong (2011) among others (discussed here: http://www.cem.org/blog/414/ ) are valuable references. This work shows that observations are more often wrong than right when it comes to identifying good teaching and would therefore clearly have implications for teachers being placed on capability after one or even two or three such observations

    Many thanks.
    cazzmusic1 and aspensquiver_2 like this.
  8. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter



    aspensquiver_2 and Scintillant like this.
  9. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    My question is:
    How does a new Headteacher deal will bullying from some members of the governing body when the chair of governors is involved?
  10. Cooperuk

    Cooperuk Senior commenter

    Is it workplace bullying if you are instructed to take on extra work / departmental responsibility, but the management repeatedly refuse to put in writing what you will be accountable for, leading to the potential further addition of tasks / responsibilities at a later date, or capability / failure at a later date in relation to areas of responsibility you did not know you had?
    cazzmusic1 likes this.
  11. Cooperuk

    Cooperuk Senior commenter

    BTW - I am also one of those teachers who may be in the "old and expensive" category, being 'managed' towards a capability procedure.
  12. Sisterofmurphy

    Sisterofmurphy New commenter

    Question: member of slt seemed to be totally unaware of her over forceful personality. No member of staff would commit to a complaint because the issues she raised were legitimate performance matters. One teacher left. Long after I moved jobs, the teacher got in touch to tell me she had felt so bullied she resorted to medication. As headteacher are there particularly good phrases to open discussion and help the bully change their behaviours? I was prepared to tackle the issue but what if the bully is otherwise good at their job and you suspect pathological behaviour?
  13. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Good afternoon and welcome to the eighth in our series of webchats aimed at school leaders.

    In a few moments I will hand you over to Andrew, who is editor of FIS, who will be hosting this week's hour-long webchat.

    Andrew and this week's guest, leadership expert panel member Sally Robertson who will be available for the next hour to answer your questions on workplace bullying.

    If you have any questions please submit them below. Don't worry if we run out of time, any unanswered questions will be responded to and posted on this thread later this week.

    I'll now hand you over to Andrew.

    The content of, and information provided in, the TES Leadership webchats and their associated materials (including information posted in these forums in connection with the webchats) (the “Content”) is provided for general information purposes only. Any use you make of, or reliance you place on, the Content is entirely at your own risk. Professional or specialist advice, tailored to your specific circumstances, should always be obtained before taking (or refraining from) any action on the basis of the Content.

    Whilst TES Global and the panel of leadership experts make every effort to ensure the high quality and accuracy of the Content, TES Global and each leadership expert makes no representation or warranty (express or implied) concerning the Content. Neither TES Global nor any leadership expert will be responsible for any damage or loss related to any use of the Content.

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  14. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    Hello and welcome to this webchat on workplace bullying. Joining me is Sally Robertson, barrister, at Cloisters Chambers. For those of you following this thread, please feel free to post your query. Remember to refresh your page to see the updates as they appear.

    Thanks for joining us, Sally. To start things off, could I ask how easy is it to identify workplace bullying, as opposed to, say, robust management?
  15. Sally_Robertson

    Sally_Robertson New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Hi Andrew,
    It is not always easy unless you are on the receiving end of a bully. A key problem is that there is no agreed standard definition of what is an act of bullying. Ill treatment, unacceptable and unwanted behavior covers a wide range of acts - from ignoring someone when they say hello, to setting vague but impossible objectives up to verbal and physical abuse. One person’s bully is another person’s robust manager. The difference is a very fine and shifting line. Objectively, what is the object of the managing? Is it power or abuse? Or is it helping and supporting the teacher to improve skills? A school can help by being proactive to ensure that all understand and agree upon what is acceptable and what is unacceptable behavior.
  16. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    What are the most common signs of workplace bullying?
  17. Sally_Robertson

    Sally_Robertson New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    Many and varied: unprofessional behaviour, increased time off sick, particularly for stress-related or stress-aggravated conditions, turnover of staff, grievances ... Much better to get those in your school to agree on what is and what is not workplace bullying
  18. AndrewFIS

    AndrewFIS Occasional commenter TES Leadership Expert

    How much is workplace bullying a problem for the school as opposed to just the victim?
  19. Sally_Robertson

    Sally_Robertson New commenter TES Leadership Panel Expert

    That is clearly unwanted behaviour, causing stress and increasing the potential for physical and/or psychological injury. Is it a reasonable management instruction? How can that be established without setting out clearly the parameters of what you are being asked to do in the context of what you already do? Turn the tables. Put down your understanding in writing; be specific; ask questions; pursue answers and clarifications as necessary. If you have a non-response or a minimal response, review again and set out your understanding as clarified by their answers. If you accept that extra work or responsibility, explain any and all caveats.
  20. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    My question is in post 7. It is slightly long but the issue of people being placed on capability (and losing jobs) after observations, is clearly important given the increasing number of occurrences.

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