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PPA does not exist - Update - Threatened with disciplinery

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by poppythepuppy, Feb 11, 2012.

  1. poppythepuppy

    poppythepuppy New commenter

    My prevous post was about been told to do learning walks in my PPA and refusing. I said I could not be directed to do this in my ppa time. HOD said PPA does not exist, I said that it does and asked union for legal stance.
    I gave my HOD the unions stance on PPA existing, all printed out.
    Next meeting, my HOD and her line manager, assistant head both present. Told me that unless I do as directed I will be facing disciplinery. I said that I had given them information from the union that clearly stated I could not be directed in PPA time.
    My HOD said that they had sought further clarification from the head and that I could be directed in my PPA time. That unless I did as requested I will be facing a disciplinery. I asked on what grounds and they refused to elaborate. I also stated that I was very unhappy having this conversation without my union rep.
    I came out of the meeting/bullying session and felt appalled that this kind of thing goes on in schools today. I immediately contacted my union who are looking into it.
    At the moment I just want to leave, but I know that this is exactly what these kind of bullies expect me to do. Any advice would be appreciated.

     
  2. poppythepuppy

    poppythepuppy New commenter

    My prevous post was about been told to do learning walks in my PPA and refusing. I said I could not be directed to do this in my ppa time. HOD said PPA does not exist, I said that it does and asked union for legal stance.
    I gave my HOD the unions stance on PPA existing, all printed out.
    Next meeting, my HOD and her line manager, assistant head both present. Told me that unless I do as directed I will be facing disciplinery. I said that I had given them information from the union that clearly stated I could not be directed in PPA time.
    My HOD said that they had sought further clarification from the head and that I could be directed in my PPA time. That unless I did as requested I will be facing a disciplinery. I asked on what grounds and they refused to elaborate. I also stated that I was very unhappy having this conversation without my union rep.
    I came out of the meeting/bullying session and felt appalled that this kind of thing goes on in schools today. I immediately contacted my union who are looking into it.
    At the moment I just want to leave, but I know that this is exactly what these kind of bullies expect me to do. Any advice would be appreciated.

     
  3. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    I'd check on pay and conditions or personal first that the rules apply in a trust school.
     
  4. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    You're right. This is bullying, plain and simple. Disciplinary action has to be rooted in law. By threatening you with that, without elaborating, they are showing themselves to be nothing other than playground bullies. No HoD or assistant head has the power to instigate disciplinary proceedings.
    Your union should be doing more than looking into it. This should be dealt with by properly trained union reps, who in turn should be subjecting the head and the governing body to some real pressure.
    As I stated before, your HoD is way out of her depth, and the assistant head is no better. Inadequates always blame someone else and then bluster about it.
     
  5. becktonboy

    becktonboy New commenter

    absolutely agree, the
    very existence of PPA led me to assume that you were in a state maintained
    school, poppy.
    If the governing body has adopted the STPCD as its
    contract (which requires provision of PPA and sets conditions around it) or if you were subject to TUPE regulations because the school
    became a trust while you were employed there or you were transferred
    from a maintained school covered by the STPCD, then your right not to be
    directed in PPA time is firmly established and management are talking
    bovine detritus - they would not have a leg to stand on and are running
    the risk of you taking out a complaint and/or grievance against them,
    which would be very embarrassing for management if they had got such a
    simple thing so wrong.
    It strikes me that if the school were not covered by the STPCD management would have said so by now and certainly should have said so if that were the case - it's not your fault that they have not.
    I hope you are recording contemporaneous
    notes of all meetings, comments etc - ask for any communication or
    direction to you to be put in writing or confirmed in writing if it is to receive your attention - put all of your requests and statements in writing too. Don't attend any more meetings without a rep or at least a witness present, insist on a properly scheduled meeting if there is an attempt to hijack you, then (politely) walk away - record these events too. Ask the head for a copy of the school's grievance procedure and the equal opportunities policy, also ask for a copy of the pay and conditions document under which you are employed at the school (if it is not the STPCD), invite a local union officer to a meeting in school, after school or at
    lunchtime, ensuring the rep as a matter of courtesy informs the school
    they will be in the building.
     
  6. poppythepuppy

    poppythepuppy New commenter

    Hi
    I am sure I would have been informed if my conditions had changed, my union rep in the school is adament that we are entitled to PPA as is my regional rep. My union rep has been at the school for quite a while and I know that he would have informed me if things had changed. I just feel completely bullied and very cross that this can happen. This was put to me at my line management meeting where I was made to feel very intimidated. The assistant head who never normally comes to the meeting, sat typing notes into his laptop whilst my HOD questioned me and told me that I would be facing a disciplinary if I did not do as requested.
     
  7. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    Brilliant advice.
     
  8. poppythepuppy

    poppythepuppy New commenter

    Thank you I will do all of this, I did state at the meeting that I was not happy proceeding with the conversation without my union rep,. This was ignored, the meeting is minuted and I will be checking the minutes for the recording of this conversation. I feel that I already know that the minutes will be somewhat limited in their accuracy of the conversation. I will challenge this and insist that the corrections are put on record.
    I have to attend line management meetings every two weeks, I dont have a choice in this matter. I was somewhat surprised to see my line manager and a senior manager present. I had no forewarning of this and was told it was so he could 'quality check' the meeting. Seemed a little strange that the first thing mentioned was my refusal to do learning walks.
    I do feel bullied and it does seem that everyone at my school who does stand up to the bullies seems to suddenly go off with stress and not return or find themselves redundant.


     
  9. becktonboy

    becktonboy New commenter

    poppy, you are making a really good fist of this and you sound like the kind of person not willing to just give up and walk away. You are quite right about the minutes, make sure any objections you have are recorded at least in an email, it's strange how annotated documents can get misplaced. Almost as strange as the coincidental need for quality checking of meetings when managers don't trsut senior ataff to stay on message. I'm sure thier motives were pure....
    You are quite within your rights to insist on having your school or local union rep or just a trusted colleague present at any meeting with management, if they refuse make sure it is put in writing or you put the case in writing in an email and ask for confirmation - a good way to record your side of things. You are also within your rights to refuse to attend any such meeting and demand it be rescheduled when you can be accompanied. As your records grow a case for a complaint against one or more managers, even a grievance, will develop but work closely with your union on that, timing can be a useful tool in all of this. Another strategy is to sound out colleagues suffering similar treatment, also cultivate a relationship with your staff governor, if you have one, but do not trust them until you can trust them, weak managers often cut off potential sources of support for their victims and ensure the 'right' people are in such positions.
    One way I reacted to pressure such as you are experiencing was to beocme a school union rep - which did my own position no harm at all.
    School managements have a lot of power - rightly so, they bear the responsibility (without the lycra if you are a Stan Lee fan) - but the issues under discussion here concern the abuse of that power and the abuse of people who should be supported by their management (that by the way, is all of us). Your fighting back will have a ripple effect in your school and quite soon others may start to come out of the woodwork. Above all don't let the anger and frustration get the better of you - it can affect your health as well as your judgement, make sure the important people in your life know what you are going through and that there will be times when you will have to off-load bigtiime.
     
  10. ITA76

    ITA76 New commenter

    Although I think you have been treated appallingly and can NOT understand what the HOD is playing at - I am sure there is something in a teachers contract that states that other duties include anything that the head teacher directs you to - although I am not sure that means they can take your PPA away.
     
  11. becktonboy

    becktonboy New commenter

    That is quite right ITA but that can not supersede other provisions of the contract and the entitlement to PPA is (unusually) clear cut and the protection of teachers from being directed to do anything at all in that time is equally clear. This management has left itself horribly exposed in this case.
     
  12. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Well done on your fight against these bullies.

    This kind of tactic is becoming all too common in schools these days. The next step is that you just "happen" to get some poor PM observations then you 'could' have been better if you'd watch others good practice. You didn't take their offer of 'support' and they will then try and take further action. A very cleaver but still bullying technique......
     
  13. poppythepuppy

    poppythepuppy New commenter

    Hi
    the reason I was against doing any learning walks in my ppa is that just before christmas I went through a 'support' plan. This was 6 weeks of been observed and using all of my ppa's to observe others. This was not due to ever having any bad lesson observations, all of mine had been satisfactory or good. It was because my results at GCSE, my first ever class in only my second year of teaching were poor. Despite the fact that other more experienced teachers in my department managed to get only 2 or 3% higher results than I did. I was told when I 'passed' the support plan that if my results were bad again I would be going through 'incompetency' proceedings. My union were with me through all this and did say at the time to the head that they felt I had been unfairly treated. The head implied that I was the only person who thought this and any other member of staff would have been grateful for all the 'support' they were given.
    Having been through this I felt that the best use of my ppa time would be planning to ensure that my GCSE group had the best possible chance of obtaing good results. It seems I am wrong, again. I dont actually know if they could insist that I be subject to any more observations but I do get 'learning walked' every week.

    Last poster is correct that they will try to make out that I refused to follow their advice on how learning walks could have ensured that I am a much better teacher. What really makes me mad is that when I got ofsted observing my lesson in May, I received a solid good. I pointed this out and was told, 'well thats only 25 mins'!!
    I just hate that this happens in schools today and that people are allowed to carry this kind of bullying behavour on.

     
  14. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    Agree. There seems little compassion and empathy in teaching these days. We are supposed to show this to the kids we teach but it doesn't happen between SMT and the ordinary teacher. Terrible.
     
  15. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    What bothers me about this kind of nonsense is that those who offer the "support" assume they are fit to offer it. They think their advice is the gospel when it's nothing of the kind.
    You can't win, can you? What if your lesson had been inadequate, would you have been able to turn round and say that in your defence? You deserve better than this.
    What was the school's rating? The last time I had an Ofsted inspector in a lesson he rated it as good. The school's rating was satisfactory. I told myself that I was doing my job better than the leadership "team" was doing its job.
    You're right. They're bullies.
     
  16. poppythepuppy

    poppythepuppy New commenter

    Thanks for all the great advice. It's rather strange but when I received my ofsted 'good' the school's rating was also satisfactory! I am going to now tell myself that I am doing my job better than the leadership team. Thanks for making me realise I am not mad, I am not a rubbish teacher. I love the kids I teach, I just dont think that this kind of education is good for anyone and it saddens me.
    I don't know if I will get anywhere and I may well find myself out of a job pretty soon, but I am a firm believer in standing up for your principles! TBC.....

     
  17. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    It sounds as if you need to polish your CV. There is a possibility that you will find a more supportive place somewhere else. i've got a feeling a lot of schools will end up like this.
    P
     
  18. Just a detail - but you haven't technically refused a 'learning walk' (I don't know what that is) you have pointed out that you haven't been allocated any time to do it in. If they were to free you up, I imagine, you would delighted to do it in the extra time that they allocate. Obviously if it is so crucial - then it will be a priority for you to be given some additional non-contact time for the purpose.
     
  19. poppythepuppy

    poppythepuppy New commenter

    Exactly what I suggested, I said that best use of my ppa time was to plan good lessons, and that if it was so important they should arrange cover for one of my lessons so that I could do learning walks. I was told that I should be able to schedule this in my ppa and that they could direct me to do this in said ppa. Its just downright bullyboy tactics!
     
  20. chriszwinter1

    chriszwinter1 New commenter

    It's when a HT decides to drop in on a lesson for a while to see what's going on. Nothing wrong with that, you might argue, because after all HTs should get out their offices and see what's actually happening. If you have a decent HT, then you'd welcome it. If you've a HT who operates a blame culture, it's a very different matter.
     

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