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(un) equal opportunities?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by lauraee66132, Jul 13, 2012.

  1. I've been on long term supply at a challenging inner city school since the beginning of September, and the school have invested in me by providing my NQT induction.

    A few weeks ago I was asked by the head of chemistry to apply for the post that was coming up to cover her maternity leave several times a day every day until I handed it in. The school had 5 applicants for the post, and I was not interviewed at all, and the school appointed both of the 2 teachers that turned up to the interview (another vaccancy had arisen as one of the other teachers had got a job at another school).

    In total, over the past few weeks the school has appointed a total of 4 new teachers in my department. The HOD had a quiet off the record word with me and told me that because I was on supply school thought it would be a waste of the schools' time interviewing me as they already know I'm very good but that I was being held in reserve in case school failed to recruit through the front door so to speak, and that my application was one of the strongest there and clearly showed how well I fit into the school.

    I am very frustrated finding myself 'on the shelf' as a supply teacher for so long, and despite doing a fantastic job (I have personally been praised by the head of governors etc) I still haven't been able to secure that long term position.

    My question is what do I do next? Some of my acquaintances have said that I am being discriminated against, and should have at least been awarded an interview so that I had the opportunity to be considered. Personally, I'm just feeling cast aside - some days I'm not sure I'd want to stay in a school where the leadership team operate in such a frankly odd way.
  2. I'm not sure what grounds there would be for discrimination.
    The protected characteristics that can give rise to discrimination are:
    age, gender, race, sexual orientation, disability, religion.
  3. Your confidence must be knocked by this situation. You can look at it a couple of ways:
    • The school don't want you there as a full time member of staff (is the HOD being straight with you?)
    • You're a good reliable supply teacher and the school don't want to lose you as such.
    Either way it's no good for you. Keep applying for jobs elsewhere and make no secret of it.
    Good luck!
  4. Gardening Leaves

    Gardening Leaves New commenter

    ... also marriage/civil partnership and pregnancy/maternity.
    If you believe you were over-looked because you have one of the protected characteristics, you may be able to claim discrimination, if you can provide the evidence that you were encouraged to apply and were equally well-qualified and capable. However, it's one of those situations where I fear the most common sense thing to do would be to turn your back on the school and look for one where you would be better appreciated. Good scientists are few and far between these days, so I bet you'd be snapped up. I also wonder whether, even if you had the law on your side, for argument's sake, a prospective Headteacher might be wary of appointing you if you were known to have complained of discrimination when you were not appointed. Discrimination claims can result in potentially unlimited damages, so employers are scared stiff of them. Not fair, of course - but much in life is not.
    There are plenty of people in education who do not 'play fair' - but the majority of school leaders have integrity and the best interests of their staff and pupils at heart. Go and find yourself one of those schools to work in and don't look back.
    Good luck!! :)
  5. pepper5

    pepper5 Star commenter

    You must be very disappointed.
    However, I am sure you will find a suitable post since you have managed to get positive feedback working as a NQT in a challenging school - not an easy task.
    It is their loss and your gain as I am sure you will be able to find another position and you may look back on this in a few months' time and be grateful that you did not get the job.

  6. ... also marriage/civil partnership and pregnancy/maternity.

    Damn - I knew I should have looked it up!
  7. There has been a thread about this on the Unemployed board a little while back. Supply teachers often don't get jobs in schools they supply long-term or regularly because the school has bagged you already anyway. They will always (or this is what they think) have access to your skills on supply anyway, it's better to appoint someone else because they they have both the new person and you. If they appointed you, they'd be left with uncertain supply teachers. You probably have more chance applying in other schools.
  8. scienceteacha

    scienceteacha New commenter

    My guess is that you have just done your NQT and the other candidates are 'prospective' NQTs so would be one scale point cheaper. And unfortunately that seems to be the way things are done in most schools these days.
    Isn't that on the job description to be a member of SLT?
  9. There is no such thing as an "off the record chat" merely an un-minuted one.
  10. Crowbob

    Crowbob Lead commenter

    One point cheaper is as good as nothing. The extra salary costs of an MPS 2 teacher will be offset by the "costs" of an NQT in terms of NQT time and additional support/mentoring...
  11. This is a very good point - in some areas good supply teachers in certain subjects are a rarity,
  12. There is also the fact that if a school employs a that has been doing supply for themn via an agency, then there will be a fee to pay to the agency. It is thousands of pounds and definitely (in my experience) puts HTs off.

  13. I've made no secret of the fact that I'm expecting a phone call by Christmas because one of the NQTs has quit - but I'll only be going back there if I have no other choice, hopefully I've now made enough of an impression that I'll be higher on the list of people my agencies call in the morning. (Yes, I know this sounds naive but it has worked for me in the past). I've never even mentioned discrimination at school (unless it was on a curriculum enrichment day and I was meant to). I hadn't thought of my not getting the job as being a 'we can always call her anyway' situation which helps but to be honest having been hit, given a death threat etc by the pupils I know intellectually that I'm better off leaving but I'm still not happy about all the extra time and effort I put in that I didn't have to (I did extra parents evenings so that other teachers could have time off - not just the ones I was required to attend etc) resulting in me being back in the insecure position of supply teacher. Apologies for the lack of paragraphs, at home I have google chrome :)
  14. This is true, but the school were asking me (confidentially, of course) what my feelings were about them doing that last November.

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