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What is the point of belonging to a union?

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by TEA2111, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    At an individual level, it seems to me the unions are powerless against the current culture at schools. Heads are getting away with using support plans to bully teachers out and there's diddly squat one can do about it. The only benefit I've seen having my union involved in my case is the advice I have received. But saying that, it is no different to the advice I've seen on this forum. So did I really need my union in the end? I doubt it...I don't think it's made any difference to the outcome of my case.
  2. carriecat10

    carriecat10 Established commenter Community helper

    As with any insurance policy - I really hope I'll never need it, but I wouldn't be without it.
    tonymars, chelsea2, Curae and 11 others like this.
  3. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    In the vast majority of cases, HTs are using support plans to attempt to support those teachers who, for whatever reason, are not performed to an acceptable standard or who are ineffective. The hope is that the teachers will be able to improve and so contribute effectively to the Teaching and learning in the school.

    There is little point in a HT attempting to get rid of an effective teacher.

    The job of the union is to give advice and guidance, not to get a failing teacher off the hook when placed on an ISP. The union is also there to ensure the ISP is conducted fairly.

    I know nothing of your case and so my comments are general rather than specific.
  4. Leigh1999

    Leigh1999 New commenter

    a1976, tall tales, Sinnamon and 6 others like this.
  5. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    @nomad I hear you, but in my case, my union are dumbfounded at the outcome of my particular case. I only pursued what I did on their advice because he was certain it was clear cut in my favour. Basically I have now been told by my union that even though there is a clear case of the Head not following procedure and breaking protocol, and although I can appeal, there isn't much I can hope for but to now escape before more damage can be done. If you knew the details to my case you and others would be appalled what he is getting away with and not for the first time. What irks me more is that I have to keep this disgusting behaviour confidential thereby ensuring that the Head can do this again and again and again to the next unsuspecting, hard working teacher. Parents are oblivious to it all, even though teacher turn over is high. Had I known of the previous 5 teachers that left before me because of the Head, I would never have applied. The positives for me is that I am now wiser; I had no idea that such a culture existed in schools and that it is possible to get away what he has done. I was with my previous Head for 8 years in a large 3 form entry primary school and only knew of one teacher to have union involvement. At that school the staff don't move; my biggest mistake was leaving for a change of scenery.
  6. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    Many people at all levels of teaching have stories like this (including me) and I am sorry for you.
    There are always two sides to every story (maybe even three or four!)

    However, Nomad is correct.

    Don't let your bitterness ruin your life.
    tonymars, Pomza and nomad like this.
  7. MsBehaving

    MsBehaving New commenter

    @nomad as you say you are making a general comment - it is poor business for a Head to get rid of an effective teacher... but it happens again and again. @TEA2111 I'm sorry that the outcome was not the best one for you. Do your best to move on and with luck you will find another Head who values staff as you did before. All the best
  8. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    You would think that, but sometimes it seems to be a case of 'their face no longer fits', as I've seen some very good, competent teachers who suddenly are seen to be 'ineffective' :(
    a1976, tenpast7, tall tales and 20 others like this.
  9. Summerhols6

    Summerhols6 Occasional commenter

    I agree to a point but without unions you'd get little in the way of a reference or any money. They'd have teachers out within a month or so and a reference may not be an agreed reference which would handicap any chances of employment.
  10. carterkit

    carterkit Occasional commenter

    Hopefully you will never be one of the unfortunate souls who face this but in the event that a pupil makes a false or malicious allegation against you, union support is essential. Otherwise you may find yourself paying a lot of money for a solicitor who may know too little about the ways of schools and the uses - and abuses - of safeguarding policy and procedure.
  11. carterkit

    carterkit Occasional commenter

    And the cynic in me would guess that they are usually UPS3 and over 50.
    Delerium, a1976, tall tales and 13 others like this.
  12. Lara mfl 05

    Lara mfl 05 Star commenter

    Possibly, though I've known a younger colleague who 'just fell foul' of someone in SMT, whose face suddenly didn't fit and was suddenly faced with changes to their working day and post which made their job untenable and unrealistic to be able to maintain their excellent results. :( School lost out because they had extra qualifications, which no one else on staff had and which were prominently displayed on the website and responsible for many people choosing the School.

    In connection with the original question it is really important to be in a Union, as was the case in point in the above-mentioned case, where she would have fared much better had she been in a Union.
  13. JessicaRabbit1

    JessicaRabbit1 Senior commenter

    This here is why I pay my sub. You never know.
  14. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    Rather than focusing on the fact that unions might well be impotent in supporting when things go bad, perhaps you could get perspective by imagining what life without unions at all would be like.
    Analogous to wondering what the roads would be like without faux speed cameras, I suppose.
    pepper5, TEA2111 and Lara mfl 05 like this.
  15. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    @digoryvenn "Don't let your bitterness ruin your life. "...no chance of that happening! Won't let it. Lesson learnt, and am thankful to the other posters on TES that have shared their experiences that have helped me know I'm not the first or last teacher that this has happened to.

    "There are always two sides to every story (maybe even three or four!)". ..yep! Used to say the same thing, but now know better. Even when I saw it happening to more teachers than I dare to count, the thought at the back of mind that they must have deserved it.

    I have now experienced a good Head versus an insecure one, and strangely the good Head never had the need for support plans to manage staff. He had 21 teachers at a 'good' school with a low staff turn over, whereas the insecure Head at a R.I. school with 7 teachers has a high staff turn over. Nuff said!
    tenpast7, Cooperuk, BetterNow and 5 others like this.
  16. Bedlam3

    Bedlam3 Star commenter

    I'm glad I'm in a union and have been for 25 years. I never needed them until now and I am pleased that I have their support with my case and their solicitors involvement too at no extra cost to me.
    The thing is with teaching, a situation can arise in the blink of an eye, such as an accident in the classroom, a false allegation. It can happen to any of us tomorrow. I wouldn't risk not being in a union it's just not worth it.
  17. rouxx

    rouxx Lead commenter

    Point of being in a union in any employment:

    Moral obligation to show solidarity with your fellow teachers/workers, whether or not the union has directly/indivually benefitted you.

    I work overseas and we have no union. At this school, for the first time in my experience, there is however a teachers association and it makes a difference regarding having our voices heard.
  18. Timothy_Blue

    Timothy_Blue Lead commenter

    I wonder how schools managed before the oxymoron 'support plans' were introduced. They reek of today's surveillance culture in state education and yes, I just wonder how it is unions allowed such odious stuff to slip through in the first place.
    a1976, tenpast7, Cooperuk and 7 others like this.
  19. TEA2111

    TEA2111 Established commenter

    @woollani "I just wonder how it is unions allowed such odious stuff to slip through in the first place. " hear hear!!!
    pepper5, hfromh and Orchid2457 like this.
  20. FrankWolley

    FrankWolley Star commenter

    Mrs Thatcher (one of your heroines, perhaps?) emasculated the Unions.
    Summerhols6 and Orchid2457 like this.

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