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On capability procedures

Discussion in 'Health and wellbeing' started by richfruitcake, Apr 12, 2009.

  1. richfruitcake

    richfruitcake New commenter

    Just before the Easter break my head put me on capability procedures. I have previously posted on the career clinic thread. I believe I have suffered work place bullying. I am now feeling incredibly stressed and have been signed off by my doctor. I wonder if anyone else in this situation can offer advice on getting back on track. At the moment I cannot picture myself back in the classroom, let alone addressing an action plan. I am meeting with my union rep next week so hopefully this will help me. In the mean time I thought it might help to hear other peoples experiences.
  2. Hello [​IMG] I've never been on 'capability' but was bullied out of a job after only six weeks in the position. Luckily the education authority gave me full pay for six months while I recovered. Only took me six weeks to crack. My advice therefore is take the time off you need to get strong enough to fight whoever is bullying you.
    Get the support of your LEA. No one wants you to be bullied. There should be an LEA cousellor that you can see.
    Hope things get better soon :eek:)

  3. Hi Richfruitcake
    I'm sorry to hear your problem but I am in EXACTLY the same position. Have been off since beginning of January and can't imagine being back at the school. I am planning to go back though no later than half term and then only have half a term to go before summer. I think I'm going to leave after that but feel really annoyed that I've been put in this situation as feel I'm being pushed out but unfortunatley colleagues don't tend to speak up either as worried the same will happen to them, which it probably would!
    I'm seeing a counsellor through my GP which is quite useful to have a rant. Union is OK but feel they are more impartial than 'on my side' so bit disappointed. It has been suggested that I go back on a phased return and am going to see if capability can be postponed until after that. I am not going to jeopardise my health for the job though.
    Sorry I can't give you any advice but I hope you have good friends and family to talk through your options with. Good luck [​IMG]

    Summerhols6 likes this.
  4. richfruitcake

    richfruitcake New commenter

    I am very fortunate that I have an excellent network of good friends and family to help me. It is true that collegues will not speak out for fear of being bullied themselves. In fact they actually end up being coerced into joining in the bullying.
    It is comforting to know that the LEA helps out sometimes. I really thought they would side with the head (If as in my case it's the head that's instigating the bullying).
    Interesting jujubear that you are considering postponing capability. I had assumed that it had to start immediately I returned to work. However, I now remember my union rep saying she is going to ask the head for a start date to capability procedures as she said it should have been given in my letter and wasn't.
    Please don't be sorry that you can't give me advice jujubear. I am hoping that others who have been in the same situation and come out the other end can help us both. I am beginning to realise this is a far greater problem than I realised. We are not the first or the last to go through it!
  5. I haven't been through it, or known anyone that has, but an outside perspective from me would be to get yourself the guidelines on capability proceedings (policy documents or whatever they are) from the LEA or your Union and make sure that you know what is happening. Don't rely on anyone else to look out for your best interests. Knowledge is power, even if it is only to make sure that everything that happens is according to the policy, within specified time-limits, procedures carried out properly, etc. Your union should be a source of support and information but don't just hand control of the situation to them. It's very easy to become disempowered in this kind of situation and you need to have control over what is happening to you (as much as is possible anyway). Good luck.
  6. richfruitcake

    richfruitcake New commenter

    Thanks dinx. I do have a copy of the school's capability policy and have already highlighted the fact that the procedure has not been followed correctly. Notably, during the 'informal' period when targets for performance improvement were set I should have been informed that if I did not reach the targets within a specified time, then I would be put on formal capability measures. The opposite in fact happened. When I asked where the informal procedures were leading I was told that I was far from capability procedures.
    Through this site, the NUT and ATL web sites I have been researching my options so that I can make informed decisions when I meet my union rep next week. When I spent an hour talking to the rep on the phone she appeared on the ball. She was talking about making sure the targets that were set were fair and reachable. I have no trust in my head and believe she will do everything to ensure I don't reach my targets and that I either resign or she dismisses me.
    I have learnt that as I have been signed off work through work place stress the head has a duty of care and should carry out a stress audit. I am also looking at union guidelines which state class sizes for a mixed age class should not exceed 24. I have 32 in my mixed age class.
    The rep has asked me to put everything that has happened into a table under three headings: Date, What happened, How I felt. This seems an excellent way for us to discuss and decide the next step. With hindsight I wish I had set it up earlier, though I didn't think things would go this far. Fortunately I have kept any paperwork I have been given re drop ins, observations and learning walks and I have been writing details of events, work load, time spent marking and planning etc in my diary.
    On the career clinic thread I was adviced to look at postings by ap19b who appears to be very knowledgable about work place bullying. They have been espececially useful and I would advice anyone in my situation to look at them.
  7. Sounds like you are on the ball and coping with it all really well, despite the circumstances. I wish you all the best with getting through this and getting the best outcome for you.
    Torey has some good threads about depression and stress that might be useful if you are ever feeling a bit overwhelmed or downhearted.
  8. Hi richfruitcake, glad you found h&w forum. You sound to be taking this one by the scruff of its neck and getting on with it - which I am pleased about. Don't let them get away with this treatment of you - as someone else said (think it might have been over in career) if you escape there is someone else comes along who may end up being the next victim. Take care, hope things work out ok for you.
  9. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    If you feel that you are on capability due to bullying, then I suggest you get your union to help you get out. Ask for a compromise agreement or at least an agreed reference.
    If your head is willing to take it this far then it is unlikely that they will ever back off.
    Use teacher support line to help you get through this.
  10. richfruitcake

    richfruitcake New commenter

    Thank you Torey
    I have read a number of your posts with interest and thank you for your support. I am meeting with my union rep next week when she returns from conference. I am convinced that I have been bullied and I will be trying to broker a deal for my resignation in return for an agreed reference. I know in a way I should stand up and fight through the grievance procedure but I really don't think I stand a chance of other members of staff backing me as witnesses.
  11. Rich, you need to be prepared for the after-effects of this. Even if you feel that you are taking the best course of action and doing the right thing for you, it is not uncommon to feel very battered and bruised by the whole process for a good 12-18 months afterwards. I know a few people who were bullied out of their jobs (not with capability proceedings though) and they all went through a grieving process and suffered major loss of self-confidence and self-esteem in the following months. I hope that doesn't sound too harsh, but I saw how much they suffered once it was all over with. I guess what I'm saying is that once it's over, it might not really be over for you so take good care of yourself.
  12. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    People are extremely unlikely to back you up through fear of him turning on them. I had 'friends' that I socialised with outside of school too scared to even sit next to me in the staffroom. I found out who my real friends were.
    The grievance procedure was weighted in favour of the Head. It is more expensive to deal with them then lose you.
    What ever you decide the hardest part is letting go and moving on. I have a great job now, but it still takes time. You struggle with accepting that justice hasn't been done, although someone told me that he paid with his reputation and the LEA paid financially.
    There are lots of employers worth working for. Get out and start putting your life back together. xx
  13. richfruitcake

    richfruitcake New commenter

    Thank you Torey. Fortunately I have a lot of friends that I do not work with. I know the TAs will remain supportive but I know that I will get no help from the teachers. They are already showing their true colours. Fortunately I am someone who joined the teaching profession late in life. So I have a career in admin and IT to fall back on. I just hope that at 50 I will not be considered too old to start something new.
    I know I have a lot to deal with but I am a survivor and I shall move on and get over this. However, I know it will take some time to recover.
  14. Rich, you sound like you will come out of this just fine. Keep your chin up and I hope everything works out well for you.
  15. richfruitcake

    richfruitcake New commenter

    Thank you dinx. I have got to say that posting on here and receiving posts from people who understand exactly what I am going through is very helpful and is enabling me to put everything in to perspective.
    I have had a long conversationn with a TA friend from the school this morning. She is telling me that one of the teachers has confided in her that she feels guilty. She knows she has said things about me to the head that have been used against me. My response was to tell her that I am cross that if she had any problem with me that she didn't say it to my face. But and this is the big but, I understand how when somebody is being bullied the bully surreptitously pulls people in to aid and abet. I just hope that her guilt will make her less prone to joining in in the future. I say that because I know that the bullying will continue and when I am gone it will be someone elses turn.
  16. Rich ,
    Am sorry for what you are going though but you seem to have a very balanced view of the situation. I am sure that will help you through. I wish you the best for the future. I have experienced capability and am getting out too.

  17. richfruitcake

    richfruitcake New commenter

    Sorry Matty to hear you have experienced capability too. Can I ask please - do you think it was justified? Are you being bullied or is your school supporting you?
    I went into school yesterday to take in my doctor's certificate and collect some personal items from my classroom. The head was there and completely blanked me. I handed her my certificate and she would not even look at me. She stuck her head down and pretended to be busy locking a door. I am not sure how I am going to manage the coming term while I work my notice if she treats me like that. It is 4am, I can't sleep and I am not finding it so easy to take a balanced view. I think I might phone the teachers helpline for someone to talk to.
  18. Richfruitcake, sorry you were not able to sleep. How rude of your headteacher, although with the games and goings on you have described I am not surprised that she cannot look you in the eye. Log it, describe how it made you feel, and quite frankly, stay off until you have worked your notice if this is what it is going to be like. The detrimental effect on your mental and probably physical wellbeing is not worth the risk. I hope the teachers helpline was useful, it can be very lonely in the early hours when your mind is racing about work things. Hope you managed to get some sleep, and that you have a good day today.
  19. To be honest I wouldn't call it a supportive experience (in my experience) Union have been supportive though. So go to your union I have support from a case worker from regional office rather than local person. My doctor is great. Teaching is all about confidence and self belief and when problems set in can turn into a vicous sp? circle Every case is different I just don't know what happened in my case.I was ill very exhausted working long hours but suspected of being lazyand it snowballed

  20. Good luck to you RFC - you are doing everything you can. I am a similar age and recently got a compromise agreement with the help of my union, amounting to an agreed reference and six months net pay tax free.I had asked my HT over more than a year to sort out a work bully - he didn't, but then decided to join in.
    If you are not sleeping, that is a sure sign you are ill through stress, and you need to see your GP and lay it on with a builder's trowel. Please tell your GP about the HT refusing to acknowledge your presence. You should not go back to work while you are ill, and if that means not go back at all, then that's it. Get your union to check your entitlements, but in most LA's you are entitled to 100 working days on full pay if you have been teaching 4 years or more.
    You can post in future sicknotes - you don't have to present them in person.
    Once you are away from these people you will feel brilliant, and I suggest you celebrate by taking a holiday in term time which will be so much cheaper. And do all the things that make you happy - hairdo, stately homes, gigolo, whatever.
    Once everything was legally done and dusted, and I had a cleared cheque, I took enormous pleasure in eradicating every trace of the sh1ts I worked for from my home. The mountains of paperwork burned beautifully in the garden incinerator and my computer runs much more quickly with all that ol shoite deleted.


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