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South of Spain, bullying at work ?

Discussion in 'Teaching abroad' started by volvere, Oct 17, 2017.

  1. nollaig

    nollaig New commenter

    For all those following the culebron that is the saintly place it looks as though the 7 staff have their court cases against unfair dismissal coming up with the first cases due to be heard in late November. The school it appears had hoped like many cases, that they would just go away. What is happening is that staff within the school are the ones leaving. It is rumoured the ICT teacher has just left for a school with lower pay just to get his sanity back. The place is crawling with consultants that no one knows and now we hear that the British Council have agreed to come in and to carry out an inspection in the next couple of months. What sort of jurisdiction do the British Council have in cases like this where a so called British school seems to be operating on a rogue basis.. Can they intervene in any way ?
  2. lunarita

    lunarita Senior commenter

    I noticed a few vacancies here posted this week, i think ICT was one of them.

    Those acqaintances I have who've worked at the BC school complain of unfair treatment and worse so I'm not sure you can hope for the BC to uphold justice here.
  3. Mainwaring

    Mainwaring Lead commenter

    I vividly recall an occasion on which the British Council sided firmly with the oppressors rather than the victim.

    Boris Johnson's latest bilz-up also reminds me that most of the British embassies I have encountered have not seemed to take much interest in British expatriates. I can, however, think of an interesting exception: The British mission here in Spain has given us quite solid support over the the past few years.
  4. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    The British Council and the embassies have been 'for profit' organisations since the Thatcher years and have no real authority or any interest in helping expats or Britsh citizens abroad. Add to that the incompetence of Bojo and you have a recipe for disaster. Its a rich and rewarding life abroad as many others on here will testify but in legal terms you are on your own!
  5. malagawolf

    malagawolf New commenter

    Rumour has it that further developments have occured today in the saintly school, with the primary head being asked to leave immediately today...2 weeks before her intended leaving date.
    Is it too late for the staff to turn this once great school, around?? I hope not and I am sure there will be a lot of celebrating tonight. Great news.
  6. nollaig

    nollaig New commenter

    absolute madness reigns, a toxic presence defenestrated, another resignation from another long term member of staff, unknown faces stalking the corridors with no information about who they are or what they are up to. Rumoured inspections around the corner. Lessons deemed insufficient without being told the criteria on which the judgements were made. The puppet prince cancelled his photo appointment at no notice, so distant bells start ringing, another one packing his bags as these keys get padded. The last on the minds of these orchestrating this bedlam is the patients, a for profit only enterprise. After all the money spent on the packaging and marketing there is nothing left for the product inside... hollowed out
    vayacohones likes this.
  7. malagawolf

    malagawolf New commenter

    It has been confirmed that the 'new' head employed since September, has been asked to leave. Heading for...Asia..that is the 4th member of the leadership to head in that direction. Do they not check the background of these people. I can't believe anyone would employ them after everything that has gone on. Or did one manage to get employed and has paved the way for their mates!
  8. Northernsole

    Northernsole Occasional commenter

    If it is as bad as you say, jump ship. You don't need to finish your contract if you can find another job. I have been in a similar situation and if you are playing football, whilst the opposition is playing Rugby, you are in for a bad time of it.
  9. plymyphil

    plymyphil New commenter

    I know from experience that the variety of schools in Spain is huge. The quality control across British schools in Spain both in terms of the education provided and the treatment of staff is poor. So, I would agree with the suggestion that in the original poster's case he should be looking to move. However, I would say there may not be a need for a plane. There's a good chance that elsewhere in Spain, maybe even close by, is another school with a significantly better working environment.
    miketribe likes this.
  10. volvere

    volvere New commenter

    Well, still here, not keeping my head up or down. The latest director got sacked and is disappearing off to Asia as we speak. Folded up and put back into his box. Won´t be missed by anyone here. I might do one of those post grads in ed thingys, a short cut up the greasiest of poles and see what the view from up there is. Any suggestions as to which would be a good course to take ie fast, well-regarded, relevant and not disorbitantly expensive ??

    Much of the advice here about Spain was spot on but each case is different. Two of the dismissed staff who decided to bring the school to court had their cases this week at the tribunals. The first, the lawyers got postponed on a technicality. This means that this teacher has now to wait until March for the next hearing. The school have offered to pay her off but she is pushing for reinstatement. Something the school don´t want as she was earning too much (about €2100 gross) even though she was one of the best teachers in the school, taught Chemistry with great results and now can´t find anyone to replace her. Not surprising really.

    The wage system under the new owners means that you get paid about €1500/1600 gross. A one bed apartment in Malaga is now about 600 euros without bills, if you are lucky. We are talking about a model that is paying secondary teachers a TEFL salary because they think that they can get away with it. Maybe they can.

    The second case was with a teacher who has been at the school since 2001. He was HoD for the Science department and taught Physics. The Science department is now chaos. Take it from me, I walk by the classrooms every day and the students talk to us about what is happening across the school. The parents and PTA are up in arms. The lawyers told this teacher that under no circumstances would they have him back even though his results (and those of the others) were consistently among the best in the school for IGCSE and A-level. We hear that he accepted the full pay out under spanish law which is still generous but only did so as he knew the school would appeal if he had won his case and so took the option available.

    The third teacher a brilliant teacher of history won´t have his case heard until March and either will have to wait around or go abroad soon. This teacher however is a single dad and has his son at the school which the schools owners and lawyers are not happy about.

    So in a sense the justice system in Spain will work if you can wait around but this is probably the same or worse in many other countries and at least the Teachers Unions in Spain have established quite tough penalties
    for employers who decide to sack staff ***** nilly.

    All the British management involved in the whole shameful debacle have been scattered to the four winds. Some back to TEFL somewhere in Ireland (sorry about that Ireland) and the others floating off to Asia like their antepasados before them in the East India company, posturing and tie-wearing to hide the glaring incompetence and lack of principles which will sooner or later undo them.
  11. volvere

    volvere New commenter

    I think I am going to take the advice of many of the posters here and leg it as things do not seem to be getting any better. The problem is that giving notice for the end of year has often led to them not getting their summer pay.

    I have seen plenty of advice here about being professional, honouring your contract, giving plenty of notice etc etc all nice sentiments, with which I agree, but who´s the mug here ?? This school will laugh at me and pocket my holiday pay with no qualms whatsoever. So I have started to apply on the quiet and am afraid that due to the ongoing reality here my notice will be have to be minimal or none at all... I am sure many posters will have found themselves in the same situation..
  12. miketribe

    miketribe Established commenter

    Legally, you only have to give one calendar month's notice, so you could give notice on August 1st...
    Teachallover likes this.
  13. malagawolf

    malagawolf New commenter

    As Miketribe says you hand your notice in on 1st Aug. Other people did that last year and got their correct money. However, to be fair, when I left mid year, I received all the holiday pay I was owed. It was just the useless bullies on the management team who made it impossible to continue.
  14. briancant

    briancant Occasional commenter

    It’s sad how common bullying in teaching has become and it’s also a sad fact that a lot of those doing the bullying are teachers themselves. I was recently bullied out of a school in the far south of Spain, (farther south even than you in the land that time forgot). Well the land education forgot anyway. Most of the teachers had been there forever and were largely unqualified and they certainly didn’t want me. In every respect my life was made impossible. I had no room, nowhere to store books, all the bottom sets, no text books or resources it was horrendous. Every lesson I had to argue with whoevers room I was using to be allowed in (they used their rooms during frees for private tuition!) During frees and at lunch I just had to put my box of books in my car and find a layby to sit. There seemed to be a religious cult that had a lot of power within the school. Anyway in the end my position in the school became totally untenable. After six months of feeling sick every morning before going in I had had enough. The head had called me into his office to give me a bollocking for putting some very badly behaved year 9 boys in detention and telling them they wouldn’t be allowed to play football at lunch until their behaviour improved (fairly standard stuff in a normal school). Well I’d just been paid, I knew a reference was out of the question anyway so I told him to stick it and walked!!! Anyway I’m a lot happier now and would say don’t put up with bullying just walk away, bullies aren’t worth the time of day.
    new13sue, tb9605 and Teachallover like this.
  15. volvere

    volvere New commenter

    so in the end the teachers pursuing their unfair dismissal claim all won through with the greedy company folding on all counts, admitting illegal dismissals and paying out the full amounts which included some teachers who had been at the school for more than 15 years. That will have put a dent into their finances for the next year one imagines. Their strategy was to hope that the foreign teachers would just buzz off and not wait around as the wheel of justice grinds slow. They were wrong in this case but the point remains that most staff don´t have the resources, inclination or knowhow when faced with a situation such as this.

    The school have now abandoned any pretence at having a minimum entrance level for english after the tsunami of negative press led to an exodus of the most ambitious parents. Just look up the Malaga teachers facebook page set up by students and parents to get an idea of why they folded like a deck of cards before the court cases. It is a damning indictment of grubby owners who thought they could run roughshod over their employees, treat their client base as ignoramuses and the students last of all didn´t enter into the equation. Schools like this have no part in the education system as they see themselves first and foremost as businesses. Therein is the pity. .
    vayacohones, tb9605 and miketribe like this.
  16. tb9605

    tb9605 Established commenter

    Thanks for keeping us updated. While it's such a sad scenario, it's been useful to hear what's been happening.
  17. lunarita

    lunarita Senior commenter

    I noticed them advertising recently for Chem, immediate start "three months initially" or something, offering convenio (maybe less?) pay but accommodation provided. Can't remember where I saw it.
    What a miserable crowd to work for. They were better than this, which I suppose is why they wanted rid of long-standing teachers on the decent salaries they used to pay. I know for certain that at least one other in the chain only pays convenio, think it must be policy there now.
  18. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    Steady dumbells - your prejudices are showing.

    I can only echo the gallant Captain's point, and add to it my own experience/view/prejudices, having worked in seven schools of all stripes (state and private) in the UK and eight schools of all stripes (British Curriculuum, IB, profit, and non-profit) internationally, over the last 40 years
    • all British Curriculum schools are not awful
    • all IB World schools are not wonderful
    • all for profit schools are not awful
    • and all non-profit schools are not wonderful
    It is the managers of those schools that make it any or all of these things. One's own personal experience does not make it so for everyone or every school.
    malagawolf, WelshMags and miketribe like this.
  19. nollaig

    nollaig New commenter

    Lunarita I fear is spot on about the goings on at the saintly group. They are willfully joining the race to the bottom which sadly is all too common within the spanish international system but obviously not exclusive to. So many schools on the costa are looking down the road thinking their neighbours are creaming more off by hiring nqts and retired staff on convenio wages that they get their heads turned.

    The only reason why any staff have stayed at the saintly place is that they are tied in with mortgages bought when the school was properly functioning with a pleasant working environment, good relationships between staff, students and parents and overall employment prospects looked good. It was once a great place to work, until a couple of years ago and the hiring of three abject characters,posing as managers, who would not be out place on the pages of one of Conrads gloomier novels.

    Their name has become legion and their reckoning day has a number. However, the international education establishment really needs to take more responsibilty in identifying those who betray the trust of those whom we most profess to serve. The fusion of business with education to generate profit is a risky enterprise and the risk of interest conflict is high.

    Anyway, time and tide and all that as countless posters have said there is a whole world out there to be explored and time is running out.
    vayacohones likes this.
  20. makhnovite

    makhnovite Established commenter

    Is this the one that is currently advertising for a new Headteacher?

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