1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

Very difficult head of faculty

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by princessclairey, Jan 16, 2016.

  1. princessclairey

    princessclairey New commenter

    hi everyone

    I've been working in a school now for 2 years and though it started well, my head of faculty has since revealed herself to be completely awful. Although it's not just her (the school is part of an academy chain and I'm having a lot of trouble with their ethos, the workload placed on staff, mocksteds etc), she is the one causing me a horrendous amount of stress. Things went from bad to worse when I became the union rep in order to have the training, knowledge etc to stick up for myself and the rest of the staff.

    I'm usually a fighter but this is really getting me down. I've been teaching 6 years and at my last job I never had any of the issues I'm having now. I know I'm not the terrible teacher they are trying to make me out to be. I have always had great lesson observations and always progressed up the pay scale, but now - although the exam board reports me as giving the students a "challenging and enriching" education based on the evidence of their coursework / DVD I had to send in - I've 'failed' my mocksted, failed to achieve my (very unfair) appraisal objectives and my head of faculty will find anything and everything to pick at me for. Something comes up every day and I just don't feel I can fight it any more.

    I am 25 weeks pregnant and concerned for my health. Every day I go into school I'm waiting for the next issue. I feel like they're out to get me. I wouldn't be surprised if they are trying to oust me before they have to cough up for my maternity pay. I can't afford to leave without getting it and being visibly pregnant I won't be able to get another job at this stage (I know they can't discriminate based on that but come on - who would employ a pregnant woman for a job starting in September when they won't be available until the following Easter?).

    Like I said, I'm normally a fighter but this is too big to fight alone. I have no support in school - the HT and my head of faculty used to work together in a previous school and are very chummy. I don't stand a chance. The latest incident left me crying in my classroom all morning, followed by feeling sick and with a headache, which probably came from crying so much.

    I just don't know what to do. I feel trapped. I've become very irritable and short tempered at home and I struggle to contain and control my emotions.

    Can anyone advise?
  2. prettynails84

    prettynails84 New commenter

    Congratulations on your baby and I'm so sorry you're having to go through this.

    Ultimately I suspect your hunch is right. You have some options.

    1. Grin and bear it, until your maternity leave kicks in (if you can last that long).
    2. Resign and hope the scrutiny abates.
    3. Take maternity leave now (if you're unwell your GP can sign you off and if it's related to your pregnancy I think that triggers mat leave anyway).
    4. Fight via your union - but honestly it's much easier to prove a teacher is rubbish than it is to prove bullying is taking place (I'm not saying you are rubbish, just that it's the state of affairs these days).

    There may be more options but I can't think of them. Personally I'd take no.3 and move schools post baby or go back part time.

    I hope you get it resolved but whatever you do please don't put up with this. It's bad for you and the baby.

  3. JohnJCazorla

    JohnJCazorla Star commenter

    How strong is your position as a Union Rep?
    Is it strong enough to try
    5. Call a staff meeting on the theme of 'Enough is enough' and take collective action over workload/bullying/... in fact everything the Action Short of Strike Action is about.

    Despite my wise words it takes a very strong fighter to actually apply them so Prettynails advice is probably the best.

    Also Unions take a pretty dim view of their Reps being harassed out of a school so at least contact your regional Rep to see if any other possibilities exist.
  4. jarvisp

    jarvisp New commenter

    The main thing is your health at the moment.
    Report what is happening to your regional union officer and keep a dairy of events and issues.
    If you are feeling unwell see your GP and take time off but make sure you keep yourself well...
    I hope other teachers in your School see how your are being treated and respond!!!
  5. inceywincey

    inceywincey Occasional commenter

    Sounds awful.
    I would go with getting signed off too if possible. During my last pregnancy I finished at the end of July even though the baby wasn't due until October and my school at the time was lovely - but I was exhausted. Teaching is hard enough without anything else on top.
    Take care of yourself. X
  6. GLsghost

    GLsghost Star commenter

    Congratulations on the baby news!

    Do remember that you have particular protection in law on two fronts here:

    * against less-favourable treatment because you are pregnant / on maternity leave; and
    * because you are a union rep.

    Any unfavourable treatment as a consequence of either or both of those scenarios could land the school in serious trouble.

    Consult your union about the treatment you are experiencing on both fronts and take your doctor / midwife's advice on whether you should be in school. I trust that appropriate risk assessments have been made in respect of your pregnancy?

    Remember that recorded evidence is automatically admissible in discrimination cases. Keep your phone on Record or treat yourself to one of the small USB sticks that has an integral recording advice. If you catch them making any derogtory comments about your pregnancy or anything that terats you less-favourably because of it, make a complaint of discrimination to your union.
  7. countrycousin

    countrycousin New commenter

    Re employing pregnant women..my school recently appointed a woman who, by the time she worked her notice, was with us for 1 week and then went on maternity leave for the requisite 26 weeks. The best candidate at interview was appointed, the fact she was pregnant was irrelevant. As it should be.
  8. old_dobbin

    old_dobbin Occasional commenter

    As you are a union rep. you should have access to the national office of your union. You need urgently to contact someone at the highest level in your union and explain the circumstances. It may be possible to make a claim at a tribunal for discrimination relating to trade union activities and it may be that you have suffered a detriment owing to the school subjecting you to unfair performance assessments. There is also the issue of your pregnancy. You have evidence from external sources that your performance has been good/exemplary recently. If the school receives an official document from a tribunal I think that it will change its behaviour. However, I think you may need to accept that your future at this school may now be of limited duration.
  9. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter


    Well, what to say here?

    1. Congratulations!
    A new baby is a joyous thing, and you are so lucky! Look after yourself and that baby.


    Me. Or should that be I? ;) I have appointed the best candidate, regardless of pregnancy. You are appointing for the long term benefit of the school, not just for the start of the school year.

    3. Ensure that a risk assessment has been carried out, and that it is appropriate.

    4. Start keeping records of everything. Actually if, when you are being spoken to inappropriately, you can be thinking I must remember exactly what is being said to write it down in 5 minutes' time, it can help you to keep your calm and not cry, so you'll feel much better. And send e-mail confirmations of everything, as a record too (with BCC to your private e-mail).

    I would just like to confirm details of our conversation in the corridor outside Room 21 at the end of period 2, when you told me that the displays in Room 23 are not of an acceptable quality. Thank you for drawing this to my attention.

    @GLsghost also recommends recording - certainly for a pre-arranged meeting, but a bit tricky to start it in a quick conversation in a corridor.

    5. See your GP. If you are not well enough to be in school, you can be on sick leave, on full pay (unless you've used up your sick leave already) until 4 weeks before your due date. At that point you can remain on full sick pay, unless your illness is considered by your GP to be pregnancy-related, in which case Maternity Leave will automatically start. This will lose you pay eventually, so the longer your illness is NOT pregnancy-related the better.

    6. Talk to the Union, explain that you are being harassed and say that you believe that it is linked to your status as Union Rep.

    7. Look after yourself. I will need that baby to be paying for my pension!

    Best wishes

  10. princessclairey

    princessclairey New commenter

    Hi everyone

    I just wanted to check in and firstly thank you all for the advice, and also respond to a few points!

    Firstly, because my school is brand new, we haven't yet implemented Action Short of Strike Action. So I can't refuse to do Mocksteds or anything like that. another reason why I feel so trapped!

    I mentioned the risk assessment for pregnancy and they still haven't done one; another example of how poorly organised and badly informed my school is. SLT are all so young and inexperienced; so many times they have got stuff wrong and not known things that they should know. We had this awful woman in for the Mocksted and my HoF didn't even know whether or not she was a qualified teacher.

    I'm in the process of appealing my appraisal, though my mum (as an ex governor of a totally different school many years ago) has told me that those on the panel will probably have been advised of the 'desired outcome' and so it will probably not go in my favour. I don't hold out much hope but then, this whole situation has made me quite the pessimist!

    I've been to the doctors today and been signed off. I don't really know what the process is now - it seems pointless to go back after unless the school makes changes because otherwise the stress will just be there again upon my return. ill speak to my Union about how it's supposed to work.

    Once again, thanks a lot for the help and advice. :)
  11. Compassman

    Compassman Star commenter

    ASOSA covers all schools not just 'old ones'. You can refuse Mocksteds (although they will probably come in anyhow).

    One school recently took action against a Mocksted by saying that as soon as an inspector came in they would hand a note to the inspector and stop teaching. The Mocksted only lasted one day! That's the kind of thing that should be happening in schools.


    However, at the end of the day your health comes first. Look after yourself and take as much time as you need.

Share This Page