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

Phased return observation

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by zil64, Oct 18, 2018.

  1. zil64

    zil64 New commenter

    I returned to school after time off with depression and anxiety. I’m on a phased return and I came into school for my second day to find that all teachers were to be observed all day. No one had told me and I had no time to prepare. Most of the day members of SLT were in my room. The feedback was given to me and my support staff at the end of the day and it was mostly negative. I feel unable to cope with this and it has sent me into a downward spiral. I feel my depression returning and have been thinking of self harm and suicide. I have a feeling that my headteacher is trying to push me out or make me leave as her behaviour towards me has been abrupt and bullying. I don’t know what to do.
  2. hfromh

    hfromh New commenter

    So sorry this has happened and that you're feeling so low.

    Please speak to your doctor regarding the self harm/suicide thoughts. They can help you, the other thing to do is to contact your union, in that order.

    Sorry I can't be of great help, I'm sure there are others who can give much better and more specific advice on here. I'm in a slightly similar situation to you, and couldn't just read without replying. Please look after yourself, you must come first in all of this. Take care.
    zil64, pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  3. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Hello @zil64, I am sorry to hear that you are going through a difficult time. Please know that you are not alone and that there are people who care about you, including the members of this forum.

    I would reiterate what hfromh's advice to see your GP about your depression and the self harm/suicidal thoughts.
    Have you thought about contacting one of the following support organisations?

    Education Support Partnership (formerly the Teacher Support Network)

    • UK: 08000 562 561
    • Txt: 07909 341229
    • The Support Line is a 24/7 service

    The Samaritans
    Freephone: 116 123
    Email: jo@samaritans.org
    Find your nearest branch: http://www.samaritans.org/branches


    Please keep in touch and let us know how you are.
    zil64, strawbs, JohnJCazorla and 2 others like this.
  4. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    As others have said see your GP.

    Also contact your Union I cannot help thinking that any phased return should remove you from any such observations esp on the first day and without notice.

    Have you completed a stress risk assessment and or seen OH?
    ilovesooty, pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  5. zil64

    zil64 New commenter

    Thank you for your messages. I’ve spoken to a counsellor this morning from the Teacher support partnership and it kind of helped a bit. I’m trying to convince myself that the headteacher’s behaviour isn’t personal towards me, but more about her. Sorry to be a drama queen, I guess it was just such a shock to have an observation on that day, it seemed so unfair and I was so angry and upset about it and then just fell into a very quick downward spiral. I also feel trapped as I have a warning that will stay on my record for 2 years due to my long term sickness absence. I feel like that will stop me from getting another job. The feeling of being trapped is what makes me feel like hurting myself or ending it all as that seems like the only way out of the situation. Also, when I hurt my hands, it gives me a feeling of release for a few seconds. Sorry if this is too much information and not the right place to discuss these things.
  6. Geoff Thomas

    Geoff Thomas Star commenter

    This is not good.

    Your GP should be your first port of call.

    Your long-term health is more important than anything else.
    pepper5 and agathamorse like this.
  7. zil64

    zil64 New commenter

    I’ve contacted my union but the local rep is not great at replying and pretty rubbish to be honest. I feel that any dealings I have with him exacerbate my situation rather than help. Last time we spoke he told me to stop talking to my partner about my problems as I will be putting pressure on him, and also move up north as London is a stressful place to live. Not the kind of advice I was looking for.
    I’m thinking of contacting the Chair of Governors, but I’m not sure I have the strength to at the moment.
  8. zil64

    zil64 New commenter

    Yeah sorry it’s not good. I just don’t know what to do at the moment as I can’t be signed off again as it will mean losing my job and I can’t afford to. I also don’t want to feel like the headteacher has forced me out.
    agathamorse likes this.
  9. TES_Rosaline

    TES_Rosaline Administrator Staff Member

    Please speak to your doctor. The doctor will be able to talk to you about various options and organisations that can offer you support and organise referrals, if you need it.

    As Geoff Thomas said your health is the most important thing. Your union will be able to advise you in more detail about your current work situation and the options available.
    agathamorse, zil64 and pepper5 like this.
  10. mothorchid

    mothorchid Star commenter

    No other advice than has been given, but I wanted to send supportive thoughts.
    Take care. A job is only a thing you do to pass several hours of the day. But YOU are more important.
    agathamorse and zil64 like this.
  11. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter


    Definitely speak to your GP since as Tes_Rosaline says, they will be in a position to help you with referrals and other support. You need that at the moment.

    Things may look pretty bleak at the moment, but things change and will get better. You will get better.

    Take one day at a time and one step at a time.
    agathamorse and zil64 like this.
  12. SundaeTrifle

    SundaeTrifle Occasional commenter

    To slap a full day of observations on you on the second day of a phased return is utterly malicious, then on top of that to make you listen to negative feedback is adding further hurt.

    Clearly your management are either inhuman or deliberately trying to humiliate you and send your health back down. No one could be expected to cope with that pressure.

    You have been strong enough to make a return, so you were clearly on the mend. See this nastiness for what it is, a deliberate attempt to thwart your recovery.

    You are not trapped, you do not have to continue with the phased return if they are not willing to make adjustments for you while you return and settle in.

    Please return to your GP and tell him how you are feeling.
  13. mordrid

    mordrid New commenter

    You say you feel trapped but I suspect that feeling manifests itself due to your current circumstances; would you feel trapped in a new environment?

    I have often looked back on times in life - that whilst hard to endure at that time - often resulted in better things around the corner.

    Like that dying relationship you can't bear to loose, but once it's all over you end up feeling surprisingly releived ..
    agathamorse, zil64 and needabreak like this.
  14. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    Hang on, you have a written warning on you record due to absence when your absence was due to a disability?
    (depression is a disability under the equality act 2010)

    Was this the first time you have been on long term sick and did your fit notes state depression?

    Did you involve your union at regional level? If not do so now.

    This does not seem at all right to me.

    Have you had a stress risk assessment and been sent to OH?
    agathamorse, zil64 and pepper5 like this.
  15. Piranha

    Piranha Star commenter

    I can't help but think having the observations is incompetence rather than malicious. It had been decided that observations would happen, and nobody thought to exclude you from it because of the phased return. The negative judgements are another matter - if the person giving them knew about how you were, then they should have been more tactful.

    I am also concerned by this, although I am not sure that depression is always a disability under the act. But if you are, or become to ill to work, you need to take the time off. It will only make matters worse if you work when you are not up to it. As suggested by others, see your GP.

    I agree.
  16. zil64

    zil64 New commenter

    Thanks for your message. Yes it’s my first time long term sickness absence and my fit notes stated depression and anxiety. I’ve been having therapy and taken anti depressants in order to get well enough to come back to work.
    I involved my union at regional level but they just seemed to accept the warning of Employment at Risk. I didn’t feel like I could question it. I emailed the union rep yesterday about the unexpected observation and he hasn’t replied yet. Its not uncommon for him to just not respond to my emails which causes me more stress.
    I’ve also see OH who just wrote up some general comments about how getting back to work is good for establishing routines- nothing really helpful although they did also recommend the phased return which has been implemented. I am due to go back to school tomorrow and feeling quite anxious about it to say the least.
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. zil64

    zil64 New commenter

    Yes I’d like a new environment, I actually offered to leave in the summer if they were able to provide me with a good reference and the rest of the months pay but they said that they’d like to settle me back into school when I’m recovered. Then a month later they gave me a warning that stays on my record and makes it harder for me to find a new position. So that’s why I feel trapped. I wish I’d left before all this escalated.
    emylou and agathamorse like this.
  18. zil64

    zil64 New commenter

    Thank you. The thing I keep telling myself through all this is that I’m coping with this better than I would’ve been a few months ago so I must be getting better. Although at times I’m at a real loss and can’t see a way out
  19. zil64

    zil64 New commenter

    Thanks you
    pepper5 likes this.
  20. zil64

    zil64 New commenter

    Thank you
    pepper5 and mothorchid like this.

Share This Page