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Sick Leave/Occ Health Question

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by alanuk, Jan 20, 2020.

  1. alanuk

    alanuk New commenter

    Hi everyone, I hope someone is able to offer some wise words/advice. I am based in Primary but I am sure it also applies to Secondary.

    Due to school roll numbers and employment rights etc. I was moved to another school in August, I was covering McCrone, one of the classes was extremely challenging. Anyway, long story short, one of the pupils accused me of hitting him. Luckily I had two fellow staff witnesses. This lead to an investigation and after staff and myself were interviewed, I found stress far too much and was signed off during the October week. Even though the investigation meetings were carried out the week after the October week (I was interview and did take EIS rep in). I did not hear until Friday 13th December that they were not taking it any further, but would like a further meeting.

    During the meeting and letter received, I was advised as per GTCS Standards and avoid any physical contact with pupils in the future. I have searched GTCS Standards and can't find any mention of this. Furthermore, how I can avoid this is Primary is beyond me. I also said I am not happy to return to the school because I believe returning to the school each day after something like this would continue to cause me anxiety and stress. The LA Officer was is not for moving me. The EIS rep suggested a referral to Occupation Health which was agreed. So tomorrow I have a telephone consultation, I take it after this, it is then the nurse who decides whether or not I see the Doctor?

    Finally, I am so confused around the sick pay, I believe I am entitled to 6 months full pay as I've worked for council for over 5 years, then 6 months half pay. Does anyone know if the half pay is topped up with SSP? SSP appears on my wage slip but then is deducted. I am hoping that eventually I am moved. However, am I allowed to apply for other authorities, are they allowed to ask me anything regarding this or should I mention it?

    Thanks in advance.
     
  2. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Established commenter

    Great sympathy for you in a rather pathetic situation.

    You should decide if you need to go to the doctor or not. If you do, don't claim to have a "wee" bit of stress/anxiety: you are stressed to your eyeballs and maybe even depressed too. You can't eat, your sleep is suffering and you are very irritable.

    Your school/council will put you through the mill if you are off under the guise of "helping" you to return to work: it's a sham and they will try to force you to return.

    Do not touch a pupil at all. I'd rather break a leg than touch a pupil. Be careful of what you say in the classroom too as some things can be taken out of context.

    I hope you get things sorted. It's a tough enough job without pupils and so-called colleagues hell-bent on having their 15' of fame.
     
    Marisha and sicilypat like this.
  3. WitchFingers

    WitchFingers New commenter

    Have you checked the EIS website? They have guidance notes on pupil restraint etc.

    Sounds like you have had a terrible time. Not surprised you're stressed. I had a pupil make an unfounded allegation against me to deflect from their own abusive behaviour. Thankfully I had multiple students and an experienced teaching assistant as witnesses so school was very supportive and the malicious complaint was eventually thrown out but that didn't stop me feeling very stressed by it all.

    It's been a while since I saw Occ Health but I found they were much more supportive than the school. I suspect they will want you to see their doctor. I think the SSP I received was included in the 50% pay, not in addition, but it's a while ago do might be wrong. Your union rep should be able to confirm.
     
    sicilypat and bigjimmy2 like this.
  4. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    Whilst I appreciate you are unwell at the present and seeking advice, it is important not to share too many details online whilst your case is still to be fully resolved.

    Statutory Sick Pay is currently £94.25 per week and is paid by an employer for up to 28 weeks if an employee is too sick to work:

    https://www.gov.uk/statutory-sick-pay

    As a teacher, you have an improved, occupational sick pay scheme - 6 months full pay and 6 months half pay. The statutory minimum of £94.25 is normally included in your occupational sick pay scheme and is, therefore, not additional to it. If I've not understood that correctly, I'm sure someone will put me right.

    An Occupational Health referral is usually quite helpful and, if your union is suggesting it, I would recommend taking their advice. However, I would caution against expecting too much from them at this stage. They can recommend possible adjustments to your working situation but, from my experience, it's not unusual for employers to just ignore what they say regardless of employment law.

    With regard to avoiding physical contact with pupils, I'm afraid that's fairly standard advice from unions these days. I know of situations where it is all too easy to get caught out, even with the best of intentions.

    For example, a pupil is running down a corridor, you put out your hand and tell them to stop and, before you know it, they have deliberately run straight into your hand, collapsing in a heap on the floor and rolling over clutching their face. Or a pupil tries to push by you at the classroom door, you automatically put your hand out to hold them back and, before your know it, they are claiming you have assaulted them. (Don't describe the specific details of your case because that might identify you.)

    I'm afraid it's all too easy to get caught out, it can happen in 'good' schools as well as challenging ones and it can happen to staff regardless of gender. It's sad that teachers have to be so wary these days but I'm afraid it's necessary if they are to protect themselves from malicious accusations.

    I suspect, at present, you are still feeling very raw, and hurt, by the experience and what you perceive to be the injustice of it. Take time to recover your health and, who knows, perhaps your employer will come round to the idea of a placement in a different school, especially if that is what Occupational Health is recommending. I hope you get this sorted out soon.
     
    Marisha, sicilypat and bigjimmy2 like this.
  5. AyeRight

    AyeRight Occasional commenter

    ''I did not hear until Friday 13th December that they were not taking it any further, but would like a further meeting.''

    Which means they ARE taking it further!
    1. You require, in writing, a clear statement stating you did nothing wrong. This clears you.
    2. If you are in the clear, there should be no further meetings save for an apology for their inhuman delay to the process.
    3. Your union needs to step up to the mark in defending you. This is a malicious allegation that has been blown out of all proportion on the altar of 'the child at the centre.'
    4. ''Luckily I had two fellow staff witnesses. ' That should have been the end of the matter. Period.
     
    Marisha, Effinbankers and bigjimmy2 like this.
  6. Marisha

    Marisha Occasional commenter

    I was accused of hitting a pupil. I had no adult witnesses, but I was fortunate: the investigating Depute interviewed every single other child in the class, and they all backed me.

    The complaining parent wanted to take it further, but that was the end of the matter. I agree with AyeRight. You have two staff witnesses, so that should be it. Your SLT is obviously quite spineless, so don't be surprised if the other other pupils are also interviewed, but this is just part of procedure. The word of the other two members of staff should be enough.

    Set your union on the school.
     
    Effinbankers and bigjimmy2 like this.

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