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Return from maternity and a support plan to look forward to.

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by iwanttobeasuperdooperteacher, Feb 12, 2016.

  1. I started at a new school Easter 2014, all was going well......I fell pregnant and told them in the Feb. I had a lesson observation in March and was given a grade 4! I have never in my whole teaching career had a grade 4. Obviously I was absoloutely devastated, I questioned it and was given feedback that it was because not all students had made 3/4 levels of progress (using the schools pro forma for observations!) I was upset, The lesson wasnt outstanding by any means but a grade 4!? sureley that would be a lesson where students didnt make any progress whatsoever, werent engaged, health and safety was breached, or the lesson was a complete shambles. This lesson was not.
    I was told that I could be reobserved. I waited....... then in June I received an email from the deputy saying 'due to a recent lesson observation, we would like to put you on a support plan......all very formal, dates, referrring to teacher standards etc. It was a 5 week plan. I was shocked (and also 6 months pregnant!)
    I spoke to my union, who said we had to have a meeting to discuss. The support plan commenced, I was given support by a member of SLT once a week, who told me to change the layout of room and discussed marking. A load of rubbish. Whilst all this was going on, I was also asked to carry out a faculty review which was something i'd never done as a tlr holder, this added to the pressure and stress. I was confused theyd give me such a responsible thing to do if they thought I was inadquate!?
    I was then re-observed, this was the penultimate week before we broke up for summer. The lesson wasnt graded but I was told it was 'better' but couldnt be good as 1 student had lost their work and I hadnt been able to mark it! It just seemed like the grade/ outcome was already decided before even observing my lesson.
    I was told that because of my grade 4 lesson that I had failed my appraisal, I was forced to complete my appraisal document with my line manager on the last day. It was also mentioned that my 'support' would continue on my return.
    I do not want to return to that school, but i'm aware that if I dont work 13 weeks that I will have to pay my maternity pay back. If I return on 31st May, and work 7 weeks, am I right in thinking that would ensure this doesnt happen?
    I have heard from inside informaton that there has been talk of my department being overstaffed and they are planning to definately go down the capability route with me.
    I am now worried about returning, how will the support work/ when will it start. Could they put me straight into capability after being off since July? Or do you have so many rounds of 'support'?
    Also I was thinking of going in for a couple of KIT days, but now worried these will add to the problem!?
    They obviously want me out, and after all the stress and upset they've caused, I dont want to be there anyway. But I also want to get paid for June, July and August. I still want to teach, I think moving to this school was a very bad choice! I am now worried about applying for jobs and references too.
    I noticed on these forums people mention getting paid off/negotiating, has anyone got any experience of this?
    I'm thinking I need to disucuss options with the union too.
  2. menhir

    menhir New commenter

    I really feel for you, please seek union advice and do not let this affect you and more importantly your new baby. No job is worth this amount of stress and heartbreak. What comes around goes around and I am sure another school would be delighted to have you. Plan your way forward out of this.
  3. Scintillant

    Scintillant Star commenter

    Yet another support plan after one observation

    The people doing this to teachers need removing from the profession

    Using Ofsted’s categories, if a lesson is judged ‘Outstanding’ by one observer, the probability that a second observer would give a different judgement is between 51% and 78%.

    For observations conducted by Ofsted inspectors or professional colleagues, ‘training’ in observation is generally not of the quality and scale used in these studies, and no evidence of reliability is available. Hence, we are probably justified in assuming that the true value will be close to the worst case. In other words, if your lesson is judged ‘Outstanding’, do whatever you can to avoid getting a second opinion: three times out of four you would be downgraded. If your lesson is judged ‘Inadequate’ there is a 90% chance that a second observer would give a different rating.

    The second key issue is validity: if you get a high rating, does it really mean you are an effective teacher? Unfortunately, the evidence here is even more worrying.

    Strong et al. (2011) used value-added scores to identify ‘effective’ and ‘ineffective’ teachers, showed videos of them teaching to observers and asked them to say which teachers were in which group. In both the experiments where the observers were not trained in observation, the proportion correctly identified by experienced teachers and head teachers was below the 50% that would be expected by pure chance. At this level of accuracy, fewer than 1% of those judged to be ‘Inadequate’ are genuinely inadequate; of those rated ‘Outstanding’, only 4% actually produce outstanding learning gains; overall, 63% of judgements will be wrong.

    I would get out of there, on your terms before it goes wrong...
  4. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    Not just "only one observation", but two/three months after that observation. If they were really concerned about your capability, wouldn't they have started taking action immediately, rather than the next term when they've realised they're overstaffed and this might be a way to encourage you not to come back after maternity.

    You are right that the 13 weeks you need to return for includes holidays, so if you return at the start of the summer half-term holiday (probably 28th May), you can get the 13 weeks in by the end of August.

    If you're certain you want to go, then you can resign with effect from 31st August (making sure you hand in this resignation by 31st May). You might find that they decide not to bother doing much further in terms of support - if their main aim is to get rid of you, they won't need to do anything further. Of course, it might be worth being observed some more, so that the last observation on your record is better (and they might be fairer once the get-rid agenda has gone). Did the ungraded observation get recorded at all? (Cynic says that they didn't want to put anything down because their grounds for making it anything less than good were rather dodgy.)
  5. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    You do have to wonder whether Heads are some sort of mission to destroy education themselves!

    My old department recently all received letters of 'cause for concern' for poor results in August and all told to start an action plan. The thing is that the poor results were, in part, due to SLT meddling with the course halfway through KS4.

    The beatings will continue until morale improves.
  6. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    I want to recommend you contact your union and discuss with them whether there is a complaint under pregnancy / maternity discrimination legislation.

    There is much about the details of what you say that do not sit comfortably. You are in the 'protected period' until you return from maternity leave. Given that you have been informed of a support plan as soon as you return, on the basis of such arguable evidence AND fearing that there may be a move to reorganise within the department - well I would certainly be looking closer at this, if you were one of my clients!

    This is one of those situation on which I would recommend to clients that they have their phone on Record whenever they have a conversation with anyone. Illicit recordings are automatically admissible in discrimination cases.
  7. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Just to add two things.

    Firstly, congratulations on that new baby, and look after yourself.

    Secondly, count very very carefully those 13 weeks ending on 31 August.

    You want to make sure that you get it right.

    Best wishes

  8. Thankyou for your kind words.
  9. Thankyou, I will be triple checking.
  10. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Good luck!

  11. Thanks to everyone for their replies. Does anyone know where I would stand if had any period of sickness during the 13 weeks? Whether it be few days or a few weeks. Would this still be classed as working my 13 weeks?
    Not planning to be ill, but a friend recently asked how this works and I am curious to find out the legalties, just so I am prepared for any situations.
  12. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    If you are sick you count as being in work. That's why they pay you!

    However, I am not sure if a childbirth-related sickness absence would count if ihe absence started on the day that you were due to go back. i.e. if you didn't actually go back.

    Not saying that it wouldn't, just wondering . . .

    Best wishes

  13. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

  14. I'm thinking if I return, then its so stressful and I cant cope/ or they are putting the pressure on and making my life miserable and unmanagable.....that kind of scenario......They have been known to do strange things to people who are already leaving, like they are punishing them or teaching them a lesson! I'm just very wary and thinking of possibilities.......
  15. schoolsout4summer

    schoolsout4summer Star commenter

    Love it!
  16. ricjamclick

    ricjamclick New commenter

    Amongst other strategies when experiencing this kind of behaviour, people have been known to go back for a single day and then go off straight-away as the school's behaviour make them feel unfit for work, get their union involved in the interim sickness period, try to go back, have another period of sickness, go back on the very last day of term, be well for the summer holidays, go off again immediately in September, etc. It can be very costly for everyone involved, but if they are playing you you're absolutely entitled, in my opinion, to play them too.
  17. Kraftykreft

    Kraftykreft New commenter

    Your case sounds so much like mine it's scary. What did you do? Did you go on the sick after returning from maternity?

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