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Nightmare situation, support plan and all

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by philjerning, Nov 14, 2015.

  1. philjerning

    philjerning New commenter

    Hello all,
    I am an experienced primary teacher who started at a new school this September. Let's call it 'school A'.
    It took me only three weeks to make up my mind that this school wasn't for me. Another school (school B) contacted me about a middle management post on an impromptu notice. I couldn't tell HT I was going for the interview, I went anyway and I got the job.
    I then resigned at school A stating that I wasn't the right person for the job before the deadline(31st October).
    School B contacted School A for a reference and all hell broke.

    School A told school B that I wasn't ready for the promotion and the reference they got from my previous school was nothing like they have seen.
    School A also sent a written reference to school B which was full of things that were untrue like I left the TA to plan and teach the children.
    Then, School B withdrew the job offer based on unsatisfactory reference.

    School A got very upset that I wanted to move on and said I would be facing disciplinary procedure for not saying I was going for an interview.
    I have since apologised for going to the interview without telling them but they are looking for all ways to get at me.

    School A has since made my job unbearable. They have called me in for a meeting everyday, playing the emotional mind game about letting the children down. They also came to observe me teach and stated that I would be put on a support plan linked to appraisal for the remaining 5 weeks before I leave.

    Now, before I resigned, I was praised for excellent teaching including having observations that said " I have no doubts that you are an outstanding teacher."

    All I want to do is move on from this nightmare.
    I feel scared that they will keep writing a bad reference and my chances of getting another job would become slimer.
    I would be happy with any advice on what to do.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  2. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    I'd be down the car park with the nitromors on the head's car.

    But seriously, where do you start? It's day after day after day with stories like this now

    Someone will be along to give you some sensible advice that is unlikely to make any difference, very soon
  3. Sundaytrekker

    Sundaytrekker Star commenter

    This is why it is better if there is time to call references before interview so before an offer is made. The support plan sounds unexpected up to that point. I wonder why you made up your mind to leave after three weeks.

    If it is your real name on the post you may want to get it removed.

    Really difficult for you now.
  4. drek

    drek Star commenter

    No advice other than to go on supply until you find a school you want to stay in and that works ethically. You don't need the whole fake support scenario. They are not offering support for leadership after all, just for what you have been doing for many years already as some sort of sick punishment for the 'crime' of seeking a better opportunity.
    That is what working in the UK is like these days. Schools can basically get away with murder and cover it up big style.
    A friend of mine was shocked to read a UCAS reference for a student who got offered a place at medical school, based on the lies written by the school. The student failed in all the exams, because he was lazy and refused to do any independent study, and had a poor attendance record. But his teachers were ordered to bulk up his UCAS reference by SLT, and put down inflated predicted grades. Naturally when his grades were published his offer was withdrawn. Someone more deserving, with an honest reference, probably lost out on a place in the mess.
    But with teachers, the opposite happens, a set of lies is written by 'schools' and accepted as bible. You may have worked for 10 years or more, and they are not held to the common courtesy of writing a decent reference. How ignorant and rude! What does it say about the school? Are they saying in effect that they kept someone they 'hold in such high disregard' at their school for so long, thanks to their own ineffectual management?
    that behaviour is on par with the thugs that get people to part with their life savings, for UK work permits, promising them jobs, then take away their passports, and keep them working as prostitutes or farm workers on less than minimum wage, until the debt is 'paid'.
    Same mentality. And come to think of it, school management teams have now made teaching so undesirable, that is probably how schools are going to be 'run' in the future! More Fat cat salaries for the big bosses. They only have to self evaluate and get people on 12 hour shifts to mark class books books with green and purple pens. Sweat book factories...
    You don't have to tell us why you sought to leave the school. I think we can guess why from their over the top nasty reaction.
    They promote inexperienced staff on the cheap, yet they won't let experienced staff leave for a brighter future elsewhere!
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  5. marlin

    marlin Star commenter

    Please read Theo's helpful article Do I have to tell my head I am applying elsewhere?

    It warns you of the possible consequences of not telling the head in advance about an interview - particularly the risk of a gross misconduct charge if you do not tell the truth about the reason for absence from school.

    Too late for this job application, but a warning for future applications and advice for others who may read you post.

    I'm sorry you are now in this position and I hope some resolution can be reached.
    midnight_angel likes this.
  6. cally1980

    cally1980 Established commenter

    Have you contacted your union at any stage through this process? They should at least be able to put a stop to the daily meetings which are placing you under undue stress.

    I would be asking the grounds for the support plan considering there had been no indication that support was needed until the alternative job offer - do you have written feedback from the initial observation where you were told you were outstanding?

    I don't know if it is possible at this stage, since you have already given notice, but unions are often able to negotiate an agreed reference to move forward with.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  7. purplecarrot

    purplecarrot Senior commenter

    That's why all advice, other than a few users online, says to inform your head that you're applying for a job and to request a reference.

    School B had no reason to belive that you'd misled School A to attend and may be left questioning if you'd do the same for you. Now there are 2 schools with questions about your judgement. Not great but that's why there's procedure.

    As for the "support plan", it seems looks like you're going to be managed out instead of being taken through the formal disciplinary process. It sounds like an awful experience. Bad news that it's not a nice process. Good news you don't have a formal disciplinary on your record and if you leave you can get on supply and rebuild links with other schools. Be aware that if you go for a post, the new school will still want a reference from your last headteacher.
    Mrsmumbles, snowyhead and GLsghost like this.
  8. philjerning

    philjerning New commenter

    I have contacted my union but school A would not speak to them. They said the meetings are informal and at such unions are not required.

    Yes I have a written feedback from the observation.

    I hope they do.
  9. philjerning

    philjerning New commenter

    I have only worked at the school A for 6 weeks when the opportunity for school B came.

    In hindsight, I would have informed them but with the daily intimidation that happens in school A I felt too scared to tell them.
  10. Gummibaren

    Gummibaren New commenter

    Its highly likely that the outcome would have been the same regardless, given how spiteful the school appear to be. It's a shame that you have to rely on the reference of your previous school to such an extent. I understand why it is that way but surely there must be some way to change this system in the future to give some sort of safeguarding statement and then obtain references from places that would help you. Why should people be doomed to miss out on promotions when they pop up or stay in a nightmare school, even if they have only been somewhere for a short time?
  11. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Oh dear, dear, dear!

    So you have resigned and will not be employed by that school after 31 December.

    How do you know this? Do you have a copy of the reference?

    Can I see my references?

    Again, do you have a copy of this reference where this allegedly untrue statement was made?

    The legal requirement is for a reference to be fair and factually accurate. If, because of negligent misstatement (inclusion of inaccurate or omission of important information), you suffer detriment (loss), you may claim damages.

    They are within their rights to do this, if the job offer was made subject to satisfactory references. The best situation is, as @marlin says above, to follow this advice so that references go out before interview.

    Do I have to tell my Head I am applying elsewhere?

    There is no legal basis for this, as you are not obliged to tell them that you were going for an interview.

    Unless, of course, you absented yourself from your duties and lied.

    What excuse can I give for going to interview?

    In which case you are getting off lightly if they keep you in their employment and pay you until 31 December, as it could be considered Gross Misconduct with summary dismissal.

    They don't have to write a reference at all, they could just refuse. Which would put you in an impossible situation since you will need one from them.

    Who should be my referees?

    If they do write one, it must be fair and factually accurate. If you did lie to go to the interview, then of course that could, indeed many would say should, be in it. If they have made untruthful statements in the reference already sent, then you should consult your Union urgently for help about this.

    Can your Head write a negative reference for you? Or refuse to write one? Can you see what was written...

    I do hope that you didn't absent yourself from your duties to go to that interview.

    Best wishes for a happy outcome from this very very difficult situation. A nightmare as you call it.

    GLsghost likes this.
  12. ilovesooty

    ilovesooty Star commenter

    You haven't said whether you absented yourself from school and lied about the reason in order to attend the interview. I think that's crucial information. If you did I can't imagine why you would exercise such poor judgement and be surprised at the reaction when it was discovered.
    grumpydogwoman and GLsghost like this.
  13. lanokia

    lanokia Star commenter

    While going for an interview without telling your existing employer isn't professionally good... I'm not sure it justifies what reads as a campaign of bullying and harassment by the existing employer as a result.

    Yes, he should have told them. How does a 5 week appraisal plan [clearly just there to make life difficult before he leaves or maybe even put him on capability to really shoot him down] help anyone?
  14. drek

    drek Star commenter

    Agree, the 'punishment' does not fit the 'crime'. But that is the teaching 'profession' for you.
    Docking a day's pay for lying by omission, - harsh, but I would get that - it is fit for purpose, it can remain on file till the end of the term and then be destroyed.
    destroying a career because a teacher finds that your school was not what they thought, so they took positive steps about it for themselves, rather than stay and be a martyr?
    Looks like the policy advisors had a field day with the one punishment fits all crimes disciplinary policy!
  15. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Personally I would never have gone for an interview without telling my HT in advance and asking him or her politely to supply a reference if required.

    If you bunked off work to go to interview then I'd be hauling you over the coals myself. IF that's what you did then I'd want rid of you ASAP. Please tell us that's not what happened.
  16. philjerning

    philjerning New commenter

  17. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Well there you have it then.

    Nothing much more to say, really . . .

  18. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    Just one thought - I once had an interview for a job in an independent school on a Saturday. I knew other colleagues who had interviews during half-term holidays (when the other school had a different half-term) or during the holidays (jobs outside teaching). So it is possible that the OP didn't absent themselves from school to attend the interview.

    That is the key question, I think - if they took time off then they are clearly in the wrong (though that doesn't make bullying OK, of course), but if they simply went to an interview in their own time and just hadn't told their HT they were looking, then (as far as I am concerned) they have done nothing actually wrong, maybe a little discourteous, but nothing more.

    [On Edit] - I've just seen Theo's last post. Sums it up - the OP made a very poor decision. But I would still stand by the other general point I make in this post.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  19. Doitforfree

    Doitforfree Star commenter

    There are still two separate issues here. If the OP lied about her eason for being away that is one issue which should be dealt with appropriately. That doesn't give the head any kind of legal or moral right to write a referecne containing lies. The OP should challenge this through the correct legal channels. But must also take any consequences of her own lie. But the two things are separate.
    FolkFan likes this.
  20. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter


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