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Please help. I think I'm going to lose my job.

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Frightenedtodeath, Oct 25, 2015.

  1. Frightenedtodeath

    Frightenedtodeath New commenter

    Deputy head in a chain that is having serious issues and many schools did not hit floor (we were one of them). Our place is unrecognisable, we no longer physically chase smoking students around the site, physical violence is now rare, the corridors are now under control and the real development work is beginning.

    When the chain took over some years ago, they chose not to shift any of the SLT out, but now, under pressure from the DFE, I feel that heads may roll. I have had very positive performance reviews and several documents which outline my good work and yet I am being told (by the Head) that we are unlikely to remain in position from September onwards. We are all afraid, sick and trying our best to fight on. The school is a stable place and we were told by one HMI that this was a five year job. It now seems as if we won't get to see it out. Our latest report (RI) outlines many positive changes that have been brought about but the results aren't following quickly enough. It's a daily threat that we may not make it through the year and I am finding it difficult to cope (you wouldn't know, but I'm a mess).

    I am a good practitioner and leader, I've done good work here. How can I stop this from happening? A fellow member of SLT has already been offered an 'out' (or else), this person has been on the SLT for many, many years. This all feels like a terrible bad dream. Would I be better off offering to go back to a teaching position (school is finding it difficult to recruit)? It's the uncertainty that I can't bear, not the final outcome. I didn't suddenly come to this school, after a successful 15 years, and become an incompetent practitioner. I just do not know what to do.
  2. HelenREMfan

    HelenREMfan Star commenter

    What a horrible situation. Why oh why are teachers and people in management who care about education not getting all these situations out into the open? Why are these "academy" chains being allowed to get away with it? What are the unions doing except telling people to resign with a hopefully ok reference (no recompense for leaving a school they once loved to go and work in or indeed for having any kind of job?)
    It is a national disgrace and should be disclosed.

    I am sorry I can't offer you any practical advice save to take care of yourself (and your soul) If you can keep your head down and survive with health and sanity intact..... maybe try to ride them out. Alas I fear these kind of places are here to stay.
    midnight_angel likes this.
  3. Ladykaza

    Ladykaza Senior commenter

    I'm so sorry you are in this difficult position. It must be dreadful for you.

    It sounds, from what you say, that the management at your school has a good , realistic grasp of where you are and a plan, which you are successfully implementing, that is making some really positive changes.

    It's difficult , without all the details which would destroy your anonymity, to judge just how precarious your position is, but if all of your appraisals have been positive and you have not been formally placed on any sort of improvement plan , it's difficult to see how they could dismiss you.

    Are you a member of a union? You need some professional advice and support right away. If you are a member, get on to head office tomorrow. If you don't belong , join up. TOMORROW. I have always found the NAHT excellent but any union will be a good start.
  4. Frightenedtodeath

    Frightenedtodeath New commenter

    Thank you for your replies. I've had no formal indication that I will be sacked, but the HT is talking about it daily in that 'positions aren't safe', 'we're unlikely to be here' etc. The HT had no idea that his DHT was going to be made that offer recently, 'they' were in school for another reason and held the meeting out of the blue.

    I haven't had a single complaint about my work, have been praised for it and it has been recognised in my review. Review paper work cites 'role model', 'strong and capable leader', 'outstanding contributions'. I suspect it will mean nothing and that they can remove anyone they like, when they like.

    I'm the main bread winner, I moved from family to take this post. I'm gob smacked at this turn of events and wish I could turn the clock back. You're right, I need to talk to my union.
  5. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    I can only repeat what the others have said.

    After all your efforts and all your success, to be feeling like this is just horrid. You have a great deal of support from people on here, I am sure.

    So steps to take.

    First contact your Union. I am so glad that you are in one! Moral to everyone else: join a union before something happens, they won't support you if you join afterwards.

    Secondly spend some time this half term getting together a file of all your successes. Your lesson observations, your reviews, pupil results, letters from parents, everything. This is what I call a Trumpet File, because you are blowing your own trumpet here! I actually advise everyone to start one as soon as they can.

    This file will have two purposes.

    It will be a solid base of evidence in any dispute.

    It will help restore your confidence; I can guarantee that you will have immense pleasure gathering together all these good things about yourself.

    I hope that doing that will enable you to have a happier half term.

    Best wishes

  6. Frightenedtodeath

    Frightenedtodeath New commenter

    TG, thank you. Do you think offering to go back to being a teacher is premature? I'm worried about ending up not having a say in the matter. My colleague has been offered protected pay for three years, this is because it's their idea though, I guess?

    I wondered if I could then re-group and think about working my way back up. What a mess.
  7. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I think you're selling yourself short by offering to drop down. Take the initiative and start looking for another SLT post elsewhere - take Theo's advice re the evidence base of your successes.
    iGCSE101, Dragonlady30 and FolkFan like this.
  8. Frightenedtodeath

    Frightenedtodeath New commenter

    Thanks MM, but I'm pretty broken. I think that the minute I get off the treadmill, I'll collapse. At least, that's how I feel right now. I can't see how another senior team would take me?
  9. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    I think you feel that way because of the uncertainty and unfairness of your current position. It has nothing to do with your actual competence. If you do start looking for another job you might be surprised at how even the thought of escape gives you a more realistic picture of your current situation. Get the new job and you'll be wondering how you could have considered the situation where you are now to be normal.
    Don't jump prematurely. I think your HT is worried and passing it on. It might not be an entirely accurate perception of the situation.
    Middlemarch likes this.
  10. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Oh no, don't start offering anything nor jumping yet! Nothing has actually happened except your Head speculating!

    So get your nice file done. Contact your Union so that they are aware, that's all. Start looking in the TES - Indy schools for example are already beginning their adverts for SLT for September.

    Choose what sort of job you want and at what level. Have a good look at that file before you decide to give up SLT - you have had success there!

    Then when you are ready to start applying for the right job, come over to Jobseekers forum for my advice on how to apply.

    I hope you have a quiet week and enjoy getting your file together.

    Best wishes

    iGCSE101, Middlemarch and FolkFan like this.
  11. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    As someone who went from SLT back to the 'chalkface' (albeit more than a decade ago so in a very different school environment) can I say two things:

    1. It isn't a panacea - you may find the sheer amount of work expected these days from classroom teachers something of a shock to your system if you've been in SLT for a while, and are, how shall we put it, not in the 'first flush of youth' (e.g. aged 40+). Don't think it is an easier world....

    2. If you do move out from SLT this doesn't mean the end of the world, but (in my experience) it may mean significant changes to your professional & personal life (feel free to PM/'conversation' me if you want further details).

    FWIW I agree strongly with MM & TheoGriff - try to stay in SLT - this is where your skills & experience are most up to date & relevant) - and don't jump before you are pushed
    CWadd, Dragonlady30 and Middlemarch like this.
  12. CWadd

    CWadd Star commenter

    1. Talk to your Union ASAP.

    2. Carry on talking to us all on here!

    3. See your GP if you are feeling overly stressed, anxious, or becoming ill.

    4. Do look for another post - but do not drop down. It sounds as though you are a good leader - do not let this shake you to the point where as FolkFan says, you jump before you're pushed.

    Good luck.
  13. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    All I can advise is get looking for another SLT role in another school, any right minded head would recognise and value a member of a team turning a school in a failing chain around! (I can name 2 such chains locally!)
  14. akimbo

    akimbo New commenter

    Take care x
  15. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    On the other hand, what about moving overseas and trying international schools? I left the UK in 1998. The best decision I ever made. Since then, I have taught in Kenya, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Romania, the UAE, Qatar and now China. Teaching in international schools beats teaching in the UK, any day of the week.
  16. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Except possibly the day you retire and look at your pension...


    Best wishes

  17. felltogroundinberkeleysquare

    felltogroundinberkeleysquare Established commenter

    Lateral thinking always wins the day! Bon chance!
  18. the hippo

    the hippo Lead commenter Community helper

    Well, TheoGriff, many international teachers have opportunities to build up savings that teachers in the UK do not have. Many young teachers find it impossible to get onto the property ladder in the UK, as they have to pay student loans, rent and Council Tax. Here in China, my school gives me a rent allowance that covers the cost of a two-bedroomed apartment near the park in the centre of Shenzhen, so we can save most of my salary each month.

    Here is a picture of our house in the mountains, about 60km from Sofia. (The Bulgarian equivalent of Council Tax is twenty pounds a year, by the way.)
    Insurance 016.JPG
  19. Frightenedtodeath

    Frightenedtodeath New commenter

    Many thanks for your replies, I have been reading each day but just didn't really have the 'strength' to talk about it. Unfortunately, working abroad wouldn't be possible and I'll have to see what comes up here.

    The stupid thing is, I managed to secure an interview for a demoted post (on paper) in an outstanding school (a truly outstanding school) but I withdrew half way through the process because I had a strong gut feeling that it wasn't right for me. I must be mad!

    My family don't seem to understand the situation, my husband keeps saying 'you'll just have to get another Deputy position' but doesn't recognise how hard that might be and how absolutely broken I am. I am not the same person after spending three years in this place. I've lost confidence, resilience and any trust in my own decision making.

    CWadd, I've gone over and over the idea of getting signed off and I've narrowly avoided it in the past. It would be career suicide at my place.

    I'm sorry that I'm all doom and gloom. Thank you for your help.
  20. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Have you done that Trumpet File yet?

    If yes, then read it.

    If no, then get cracking!

    Best wishes


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