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Self certifying for a doctors appontment - what to do!?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by RedBedHead94, Oct 9, 2016.

  1. RedBedHead94

    RedBedHead94 Established commenter


    I'm an NQT and I've had a frankly horrific start to my career. I'm struggling badly with my mental health and I'm constantly angry, emotional and anxious. It's at the point where I was sobbing uncontrollably yesterday morning because my hair didn't style as I wanted it to, and even my driving instructor noticed that I wasn't ok when I had a driving lesson recently! My NQT mentor and department colleagues know I've been sinking rather than swimming, but the NQT mentor is now off sick and my colleagues haven't been able to help much past words of encouragement.

    I've decided to self certify tomorrow morning and go to my GP for help. I would have followed the book and told my school in advance So they could book cover, but last time I tried that for an emergency dentist appointment they told me I wasn't allowed to go, and made me reschedule for outside of school time! All my lessons for Monday are already prepped in my classroom as I always prepare for Monday the Friday before, and I'm planning to submit instructions to the cover work system folder - I wouldn't exactly leave them with nothing to survive on for my kids.

    While this was probably the only way I'd be able to get to my GP, it has left me with a bit of a problem - what to say when I call in sick tomorrow. Do I tell them the truth and say I'm suffering with crippling anxiety and have an emergency GP appointment to address the issue, or do I say cry wolf with something like sickness bug?

    This issue is increasing my anxiety tenfold. Please help!
  2. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Don't say anything specific. "Hello, I am unwell and won't be able to come in today. I'm seeing my GP later and will update you as soon as I can."
  3. RedBedHead94

    RedBedHead94 Established commenter

    I'm not sure if they allow that - It's an academy! What do I do if they press for details?
  4. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    Repeat that you'll update them when you've seen your GP, say thank you and hang up.

    Who takes these calls anyway? In our school it's the office staff who have absolutely no need to know my medical circumstances.
  5. RedBedHead94

    RedBedHead94 Established commenter

    I have no idea who's taking the calls - it's a mobile number, could be the head!!
    pepper5 likes this.
  6. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    I bet it's not!
    Honestly, you don't have to say until you get back. You shouldn't lie but you can keep it vague - unwell, just not up to coming in, sorry, bye.
    pepper5 and RedBedHead94 like this.
  7. eleanorms

    eleanorms Occasional commenter

    No one is allowed to ask about your private health concerns until it becomes an official reason for absence, at which point it will have to be certified. It will still be a private matter. It doesn't matter if an academy or not. Simply say you will be in a position to know more after you have spoken to your gp.
  8. RedBedHead94

    RedBedHead94 Established commenter

    Thanks Comrades - next hurdle is to get through the call without becoming a quivering wreck - I've always HATED calling in sick. I feel so guilty.
  9. Robfreeman

    Robfreeman Occasional commenter

    My friend it doesn't matter who is on the end of the phone if your ill, you are ill (At my place its the assistant principle). There is no way a school will say I know your ill but you will stand in front of that class and teach because if you collapse they are liable.

    Phone call 'I woke up this morning feeling really unwell, cover has been uploaded to the folder'.

    Book an appointment then with your doctor. Your health and well being must come first, for you and the students.

    You cannot force someone to work when they are ill. That is established in law I believe.

    Do not put your cover work on the system until the morning or they will notice from the time stamps. Phone them then immediately upload cover work.
    RedBedHead94 likes this.
  10. RedBedHead94

    RedBedHead94 Established commenter

    I'll hold you to that ;)

    Right. No fibs here. But no specifics either. Gotcha. Cheers :)
    Flere-Imsaho likes this.
  11. RedBedHead94

    RedBedHead94 Established commenter

    I'm even going to edit the file last minute in case they look at that. Thank you for the guidance!
  12. snail_friendly

    snail_friendly Occasional commenter


    Vague but no lies.
    pepper5 and RedBedHead94 like this.
  13. blueskydreaming

    blueskydreaming Lead commenter

    When I phoned in sick at my school last year I got the answering machine and just left a message - so phone in early is my advice! Not ridiculously early, like 5am, but something like 7am on the dot - whoever owns that phone might be in the shower or driving to work at that time, so you'll have to leave a voice message ;)
    RedBedHead94 likes this.
  14. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    It's an academy?
  15. RedBedHead94

    RedBedHead94 Established commenter

    Yes, I work for an academy. They have really specific rules - I have to phone in between certain times to report absence and all sorts!
  16. DYNAMO67

    DYNAMO67 Lead commenter

    All schools and workplaces in general have that. It wasn't something set down in the STPCD

    You have always had to ring in a certain time so they know by a certain time if a school is safe to open that day (unlikely I know) and the basic logistics of sorting cover
    Last edited: Oct 9, 2016
    RedBedHead94 likes this.
  17. RedBedHead94

    RedBedHead94 Established commenter

    That's good to know! PGCE absence policy was university based so I've never experienced the ins and outs of normal school policy.
    Mrsmumbles likes this.
  18. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Every school can be different. One may have you ring your line manager and another may have you leave a message on the school voicemail. They all vary. They will doubtless all suggest times.

    If in doubt? Ring a colleague and the school. Reinforce with email.

    Giving a reason? No. Not at this point.

    "Sorry, I'm not well enough to discuss it at the moment. I need to see what the doctor has to say. Bye." With any luck you'll just leave a message. But the school is not entitled to a reason at this point.

    Are you a fully-trained medic? No. You don't get to make a diagnosis. So you tell school you need to see the doc. The doc will diagnose you. You have no idea what the doc might say. It might be work-related stress. Maybe it's hypertension. I repeat. It's not your job to make some spurious diagnosis. All they need to know is that you are not well and won't be in.
  19. nernstlaw

    nernstlaw New commenter

    to repeat above....
    vague phonecall....(sorry I won't be in today, I am unwell. I'll update you on the matter once I've spoken to my GP)

    see what the doctor has to say and if you are signed off...so be it. health should come first.

    GeordieKC and RedBedHead94 like this.
  20. RedBedHead94

    RedBedHead94 Established commenter

    Right. Nobody answered the phones - just left a message. Hopefully that's ok.

    Emailed info to help the cover teacher over to SLT (HOD is off sick indefinitely as far as I'm aware)

    Now to wait for them to demand to know things...
    snail_friendly likes this.

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