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Support Plan - need advice

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by spinning_wheel, Nov 6, 2019.

  1. spinning_wheel

    spinning_wheel New commenter

    I need advice for someone who is very dear to me, an excellent teacher who has taught for many years and in their current school it’s been an up and down ride. I don’t want to say too much on here but now this incredibly hard working teacher has been put on an informal support plan.

    We can see the warning signs... UPS teacher, all of a sudden being made to think they are doing rubbish. The reasons the school are coming up with don’t make sense but we know they are money driven and that there is money to be saved here.

    Obviously union at regional level will be involved but feel uncertain on what to do next. I feel that the ‘support plan’ will not be supportive at all and it is a way to get rid.

    I am aware that being on a ‘support plan’ is very stressful. Is it time to call GP? Get signed off and seek a settlement agreement? Or Is it best to see how the next couple of weeks go before deciding? Is it best to hand in notice? Look for another job?

    Can you get out of this situation with a decent reference?
  2. cornflake

    cornflake Senior commenter

    If the plan is informal, then it isn't a plan... it's support within appraisal.
    If its a plan, and if the union are involved, then its formal. It doesn't necessarily mean dismissal - it is possible to achieve targets. But it will be tough.
    If targets are not met, then it would be capability, which could lead to dismissal.

    I'd get the relevant policies from the workplace and see what could happen... and also start thinking about what you want.
    Curae, Pomza, grumpydogwoman and 5 others like this.
  3. tenpast7

    tenpast7 Occasional commenter

    I would suggest that you take control and try to find another job/school. It is not worth being dragged through this farce masquerading as "support".
    Best of luck spinning wheel, look after yourself because they won't.
  4. physicsfanboy

    physicsfanboy Occasional commenter

    'Support plan' is a euphemism for abuse. They are entirely about applying pressure to either a) browbeat a teacher b) break a teacher to make them leave. They are entirely arbitrary, unfair, unreasonable and the tool in managements toy box that gives them the most delicious thrill to use. It's not just that 'support plans' can destroy people, they are specifically designed to do that.
    Don't allow their sadism to damage you. Leave, asap, by whatever means exposes you to them least. Take as much from the school as you possibly can, but exit. Use whatever leverage you can muster to get money, an agreed reference and no time in their school to allow them to abuse you.
    In any sane world, the 'support' inflicted by management would be illegal.
  5. Foux da fa fa

    Foux da fa fa New commenter

    I survived my support plan and I bring it up as often as possible to remind everyone how ridiculous it was. Mine was brought about by lies that the head made up about me. I fully expect another one soon. I do wish I’d left but now I get a kick out of knowing how much I must ruin his day just for still being at the school. If I was younger, I would have left. However, I just plan to leave the profession soonish so I won’t need a reference from anyone. The tough bit it needing a reference. If they really want rid of someone, I know some schools write great references just to get rid of you.
    tank_123, pepper5, Caro D and 5 others like this.
  6. HolyMahogany

    HolyMahogany Occasional commenter

    It is always interesting how the advice divides on posts about support plans. Most posters have lost all confidence in this process and assume that it is yet another incompetent, bullying HT, who is wrecking the profession in order to make some short term savings. While others, usually a minority on this site, are still desperately trying to convince themselves and others that this is an acceptable process.
    My own experience was of a bullying, lieing HT who forced me out. My evidence? I was replaced by a technician on less than half my salary. They didn't even bother to advertise the job, the usual fault finding where there had previously been no issues, moving the goal posts etc.
    Your friend knows what their school is like, and if this HT can be trusted. My guess is that they will be bullied out no matter what they do, so they should get ready to leave ASAP.
  7. Weald56

    Weald56 Established commenter

    I was put through a 'support plan' some years ago - it included an online INSET course (pathetically easy) and being ordered to watch other teachers teach - none in my subject (the hour watching a teacher teach Japanese was an hour of my life I have never got back! I don't teach Japanese, or any foreign language.)

    I left the school and the promoted post I held without another job to go to, rather than remain there.
  8. phlogiston

    phlogiston Star commenter

    Support plans happens for all sorts of reasons, including legitimate concerns of management. This should be remembered.
    However , I have certainly come across "support plans" that do not seem to be aimed at improving professional confidence.
    My thoughts include:
    Keep all paper work.
    Document everything that contributes to a positive appraisal e.g. a class hitting targets in a test. (Sometimes the supporters club are so busy dishing the dirt they don't notice the good stuff).
    Think carefully about what the future should be. How likely is happiness to be achieved by continuing work in an "up and down" school?
    Remember you work to live, not live to work.
    tenpast7, Bedlam3 and agathamorse like this.
  9. spinning_wheel

    spinning_wheel New commenter

    Thank you for all of your replies. I understand that in some schools informal
    support is used as it should be to help and improve performance but I’ve heard enough evidence that indicates that this is unlikely to be the case for my friend.

    I have just one question. If informal support then turns into formal support, will formal support show on a reference?
    alexmurraybrown likes this.
  10. lindenlea

    lindenlea Star commenter

    The only advice I can think of for the person involved is not to think it can't happen to them. It can happen to anyone so they must face up to it. Applying for other jobs might take the pressure off from above and if they jump now rather than get pushed it might be easier for them. Of course there are no guarantees they will be able to move but it might help them think wider about what they want to do.
    agathamorse likes this.
  11. tenpast7

    tenpast7 Occasional commenter

    Support plans should be renamed "Lack of support plans".
    There is an overwhelming burden placed on people subjected to these things and they are extremely isolating because, most, if not all, colleagues thank their lucky stars that it isn't them going through it.
    To add insult to injury often the observers are not even teachers.
  12. clairemullen

    clairemullen New commenter

    Informal support plans do not go on references. Formal support plans do.
  13. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Your friend needs to contact their union as soon as possible and fill them in on all the details, then take their advice.
  14. DexterDexter

    DexterDexter Occasional commenter

    I look back and laugh at the time (which wasn’t funny then) when I was put on a formal support plan. My target was to teach the school’s handwriting progression from the policy. No such document existed which is why I didn’t teach it! Priceless.
  15. physicsfanboy

    physicsfanboy Occasional commenter

    In the event that management have a genuine concern about a teacher (and I would query how they have come to that conclusion, given the breathtaking idiocy of many of them), the absolute worst thing you can do to them is to pressure, stress, insult, threaten, add workload and give no positive assistance whatsoever. Anyone who thinks the 'support plan' is a positive thing in some cases is suffering from Stockholm Syndrome.
  16. Lornarryan27

    Lornarryan27 New commenter

    There are timelines attached to support plans. First and foremost find out about the process via HR. This information will ensure your friend is fully informed of the process. Secondly they need to ensure they have smart targets to ensure they are achievable. Record keeping is key to ensure that the school are providing support, the agreed support. Having the key information will support any future decision about being at the school.
  17. renegade29

    renegade29 New commenter

    You've changed your tune...
  18. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    Since when?
    This would always be my advice to someone starting out on a support plan or the threat of it.
  19. renegade29

    renegade29 New commenter

    I was under the impression you favoured giving SMT the benefit of the doubt when it came to a Support plan and their motives for instigating one.
  20. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    No idea whether in the OP's friend's case SLT are entirely right to start a support plan or are evil monsters out to destroy the said friend. None of us can know this from what is posted here.

    However, the union will need to support the OP's friend in either case.

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