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Sickness amd absence form for having to leave parents evening early

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by karenjmcintosh1, Jan 24, 2020.

  1. karenjmcintosh1

    karenjmcintosh1 New commenter

    Has anyone has any experience of this....

    I had to leave due to a HUGE personal issue, and have no problem at all catching up with parents via email as I felt so guilty to have to leave early. ..but classing it as sickness and filling out a "return to work"

    Anyone have any experience of this?
  2. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Well, a huge personal issue doesn't allow you to take time off and these evenings are directed time.

    A bereavement might mean compassionate grounds.
    Poor mental health might give you an entitlement or an adaptation.

    But a relationship breakdown or an errant teen? No.

    And I do have to take a balanced view. A lot of parents simply won't be happy with an email. I don't think I would be. You can't simply take a unilateral decision that you're doing emails. As I say, I wanted to see the staff. What of sub-literate parents? There are all sorts of reasons why email is a very poor substitute for a face-to-face.

    I don't think school is being unfair. BUT if you're unwell as a result of this? Different matter. But this is directed time so you are duty bound to do it OR declare yourself too unwell OR just plead for a bit of leeway.
    caress, GreenTrees123 and brownc31 like this.
  3. brownc31

    brownc31 New commenter

    I’m surprised your school hasn’t told you that you must re-arrange, with either before or after school meetings.

    Email exchanges, back and forth, questions and answers...it’s potentially going to take up much more of your time. As well as create more chances for misinterpretation.
    caress, rolysol, bonxie and 2 others like this.
  4. sabrinakat

    sabrinakat Star commenter

    Sorry but I disagree with the previous posters! If the HT or HOD agreed to the non-attendance, then leeway needs to be given and an email or phone call at a mutually agreed time should be sufficient. It could be better actually as the parent now has the undivided attention of the teacher whereas parents night meetings tend to be very rushed.
    tall tales, Curae, dodie102 and 3 others like this.
  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Oh, dear. Such is my strength of feeling on the subject I am going to have to disagree with @sabrinakat. It's my understanding that @sabrinakat teaches in a rather pleasant school and definitely teaches a prestige subject. Therefore parents may be much more likely to be highly educated and time-poor themselves.

    But I believe that the face-to-face offer is expected and important.

    This isn't a service meant to be convenient for the teacher. It's for the benefit of the parent and child. And the parent derives no benefit if they worry about their own literacy and doesn't give them the chance to pick up on non-verbal cues. It also doesn't give the teacher the opportunity to speak really honestly. There are things one often needs to say that one wouldn't commit to email or paper. Same goes for the parents. The may be things they want to confide - in confidence.

    I'm afraid I'd be asking you to simply do your job or sign yourself off. By officially self-certificating it allows school to monitor your absence. A school may be perfectly happy to cut you some slack. It doesn't have to. You cannot compel it to do so. Please cooperate. If this problem is going to have a big impact on your work then you will have to come clean with your employer. They may help you to manage at this difficult time but their first duty is to the pupils.
    welshwales and caress like this.
  6. karenjmcintosh1

    karenjmcintosh1 New commenter

    I would much prefer to arrange parent meetings and be more than happy to infact, however HoD asked if emails could be sent, and I am happy with this too.

    I actually agree with all comments. If it was a simple cold or flu I would have been there, as I have previously been.... this was, infact, a form of bereavement so I think in these circumstances leeway should be given as I will be making up the directed time and will be, to a few parents atleast, offering 1 on 1 meets.

    Thankyou for taking the time to reply
    Curae and caterpillartobutterfly like this.
  7. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Is this your choice or the school's decision? Presumably someone approved you leaving early and you didn't just up and go?
    A return to work form should just be a record of what happened to cause the absence and any support you need to try to ensure it isn't repeated. Don't over think it, it's normal procedure for any absence from a directed time activity.

    Of course it is fine to miss parents' evening, in the same way it is fine to miss a teaching day. Parents expect you to do both, but are understanding when things go wrong and you can't.
    I'd try a phone call to the parents you missed seeing, and only use email if you can't get hold of them. Offer a meeting if parents would like, or if you know there is a problem. But speak to your HOD and ask their advice. They know the situation and the parents more than any of us.
  8. foxtail3

    foxtail3 Star commenter

    Maybe it depends on whether the huge personal issue was a sudden one and whether OP asked to leave early or indicated they had a personal crisis and had to leave.

    Im assuming it was something that cropped up last minute, because parent evenings are planned in advance, with time to make childcare arrangements etc.

    I agree with @grumpydogwoman. Parents want to see the teacher face to face and I would, at the very least, phone and then offer a mutually convenient time for a meeting.
    nomad likes this.
  9. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Well, a bereavement usually triggers compassionate leave.

    So I think I'd have suggested you invite parents in at a later date. That happens fairly often. If they want to conduct the conversation via email? OK, give them that option.

    It sounds as if your mind couldn't really be "on it" and not attending at all would be best. Investigate compassionate leave and your school's policy.
  10. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    One of us misunderstands the OP.
    I read her post as she was at parents' evening and had to leave part way through. Investigating now and asking not to attend wouldn't be worthwhile.
    Morninglover likes this.
  11. install

    install Star commenter

    Yes. Its allocated time. Although very mean tbh.

    Take full days off next time. Some hts forget some teachers drag themselves in through thick and thin. And so leaving a Parents Eve early due to personal circumstances might seem reasonable to most, but not it seems some hts. If I were you I would look to move schools in the long term.
  12. GreenTrees123

    GreenTrees123 Occasional commenter

    This is a very complex issue. Parents evening is the most important duty of any teacher’s year IMO- staff at my place require the permission of both the head (me) and the board of governors to miss it for any reason.

    Parents like to chat face to face with their children’s teachers and email is no replacement for that. I’d expect a replacement session to be offered to replace the time missed.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  13. install

    install Star commenter

    Fascinating - if cold take imho. And very far removed from staff well being imo. A reasonable request isn't complex for a reasonable ht imo.

    In the balance of a Duty of Care to employees and an employee needing time for bereavement - the employee comes first imho. Parents Eve is also not the 'most important duty of any year' imo. And God forbid that a grieving teacher say something wrong, inappropriate or insensitive when they are going through such mental and emotional turmoil.

    Parents Evenings matter - but they are not more important than life and death. And neither is the job of teaching.
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2020
    agathamorse, meggyd and dodie102 like this.
  14. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    For planned absences, most schools would require the agreement of the head, who will have a policy to follow, and an alternative date for the member of staff to meet parents would, of course, be expected. In many schools the head would have a discussion with the chair of governors for unusual requests or discretionary paid/unpaid leave and leave that goes over school events such as open days and parents' evenings.

    For a last minute crisis that requires a member of staff to leave part way though a parents' evening, I would expect heads to have the authority to grant the request, without having to check with the entire board of governors.
  15. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    The OP has not said that their head thinks it is unreasonable.
    Merely that they have been asked to complete a return to work form, which doesn't seem unreasonable.
    Looking to move schools, given what the OP has posted, seems a little extreme.
    Pomza and install like this.
  16. install

    install Star commenter


    Although one would expect a good ht to be equally concerned about their staff wellbeing first and ask about that and then reference the form.

    Even 'I hope it will be okay...we will support you. Just fill in the form' helps.
  17. dodie102

    dodie102 Occasional commenter

    Oh for goodness sake the ‘most important’ thing is surely to teach the children in your classes well. OP sounds conscientious and caring. Things happen on occasion. I would far rather my children’s teacher be given the benefit of the doubt, asked if all is well and be in the mindset to do their most important job with the children. If it was a frequent thing then obviously that’s a different matter.

    Many conversations at parents’ evenings can be beneficial but I’ve found that the parents I really want to see don’t attend. An email or phone conversation should be fine.
    tall tales, Curae, rooney1 and 3 others like this.
  18. letap

    letap Occasional commenter

    Just before a consultation at my old school, a member of staff had been informed that her daughter had taken a drug overdose, that member of staff left without express permission of the head and the board of governors.

    It is well to remember that the head (you) recognises that teachers are human beings and not commodities to be pushed around by insecure egotistical nonentities on a power trip.
    RGJM2012, towncryer, bevdex and 5 others like this.
  19. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    Technically parents evening is part of the directed hours so inability to complete it is absence and so the normal procedures should not be seen as unfair.

    As far what the ‘personal issue’ is we all have our opinions what would and would not be ‘acceptable’ reasons to leave early. Babysitter doesn’t show up and nearest family/OH are too far to step in, well you can’t exactly leave a young child at home alone. Most would say acceptable. Dashing off to pick up an Amazon delivery from the sorting office, most would say unacceptable. And everything in between.
  20. scienceteachasghost

    scienceteachasghost Lead commenter

    It would be a very heartless Head who didn’t let a member of staff leave if their daughter had taken an overdose. Although even then the member of staff should at last tell someone the situation before going AWOL.

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