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Where do I stand?

Discussion in 'Pay and conditions' started by pachamama, Apr 6, 2012.

  1. pachamama

    pachamama New commenter

    I am probably posting this on the wrong forum, but here goes.
    My little girl will start nursery school in September. I will be teaching full time as my application for 4 days has been declined.
    As a parent am I entitled to take her to her first day at school? Go and watch her nativity/Easter performance? (Would this be at the heads discretion?)
    I want to be well informed before I go and ask. I want to ask if I would be able to leave slightly early during ppa so I can possibly collect her at least 1 day a week. (I imagine I will get a big fat no - fair enough)
    I realise that for my new class it will be their first day with me, although they will have met me before on several ocassions for transition. So I feel guilt there, but not as much as dumping my child with a childminder, and her teacher not even knowing who I am. [​IMG]
     
  2. pachamama

    pachamama New commenter

    I am probably posting this on the wrong forum, but here goes.
    My little girl will start nursery school in September. I will be teaching full time as my application for 4 days has been declined.
    As a parent am I entitled to take her to her first day at school? Go and watch her nativity/Easter performance? (Would this be at the heads discretion?)
    I want to be well informed before I go and ask. I want to ask if I would be able to leave slightly early during ppa so I can possibly collect her at least 1 day a week. (I imagine I will get a big fat no - fair enough)
    I realise that for my new class it will be their first day with me, although they will have met me before on several ocassions for transition. So I feel guilt there, but not as much as dumping my child with a childminder, and her teacher not even knowing who I am. [​IMG]
     
  3. Crowbob

    Crowbob Senior commenter

    Nope
    Head's discretion.

     
  4. this is exactly the reason that my daughter comes to school where i teach. I get to see her nativity performances, sports day, sport relief/comic relief fun, whole school singing her happy borthday, achievement assemblies etc.
    Is it an option that she could go to your school (if you are primary)? I find its a win-win situation. Staff meeting evening she goes to the after school club. otherwise she hangs round my class til its time to pick up her little sister. I usually leave about 4.15pm.
     
  5. ROSIEGIRL

    ROSIEGIRL Senior commenter

    You're not entitled to anything - your head may be sympathetic to swapping PPA round etc to allow a bit of flexibility, but it really depends on their goodwill. And I reckon on the first day of term you've probably got no chance - would you like it if you took your daughter to school on the first day to find her teacher wasn't there?
    Previous threads on this subjects have sometimes degenerated into arguments about parents wanting time off and how unfair it is that they should get time off and how unfair it is that they don't get time off and how teachers who aren't parents don't get the same opportunities to have time off for stuff and how parents expect special treatment because they have children and that was their choice so they should shut up and get on with it like everyone else has to. So ... hopefully I've covered everything in there to stop it from happening again!
    It's OK to want time off (only natural) and it's OK to ask (and try and come up with a solution) but it's pot luck and totally dependent on your headteacher. Sorry!
     
  6. Did you make an official application for flexible working using your statutory rights? If your school has other pt workers it would be difficult for them to maintain that it would be impossible for them to grant it. If you only asked unofficially then you could still make a statutory application. The legislation is there exactly for cases like yours.
    Obviously, it goes without saying, that you would then become the victim of bullying. But such is life in teaching these days. I'm sure you'd pay the price to spend the time with your daughter.
     
  7. frustum

    frustum Star commenter

    The other thing you could do, if you haven't used up the formal once-a-year flexible working request, is to request not part-time, but to take your PPA at home (on a non-meeting day) - enabling you to do one school run. It's a shame that after a formal request for part-time is turned down, you're not allowed to make another formal request for a year, even if it's for flexibility rather than reduced hours.
    There's a lot to be said for doing one school run a week - I know one family who started taking half days in order to pick up: while they were both full-time, they knew nothing of what their 4 year old was doing at school - they only heard about the after-school club.
     
  8. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    'Obviously'? 'It goes without saying'? 'You would then become the victim of bullying'?
    You know this person's headteacher, then?
     
  9. No, I don't know this persons HT.

    Do you?

    Evidence so far shows that they have unreasonably refused a request for flexibility to a new Mum. Causing stress at what is already an emotional time. I would suggest that this could already be an act of bullying.

    Have you any evidence to recommend this HT?
     
  10. Crowbob

    Crowbob Senior commenter

    What "evidence" shows that this is an unreasonable refusal? Or is it, to you, that ANY refusal is unreasonable?

     
  11. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    You've no evidence that the refusal was in the least unreasonable - teachers have the right to ask, not the right to have their request granted no matter what the circumstances.
    These could be - for example - that no suitable teacher could be found to undertake the one day per week that the teacher did not wish to work.
    Whilst I have no knowledge of the headteacher that means I can comment on him or her, neither have you.

     
  12. I think you're clutching at straws -desperately trying to justify what is essentially unjustifiable. Perhaps I have touched a nerve?
    If nobody could be found immediately - then the HT could have granted the request subject to finding a suitable person.
    You are wrong - there is plenty of evidence that this was unreasonably refused.
    Firstly the employer has to justify the refusal of the request on an objective basis. In a school setting - this is all but impossible to do without some very exceptional circumstances. Because it is a widespread practice in all shapes and sizes of school, and there are good arrangements in place to make it possible, eg pt contracts and supply staff.
    Therefore it IS perfectly fair and logical to assume that a refusal is, in fact, unreasonable. In fact the statutory duty for flexible working requests <u>does </u>place the burden onto the employer to justify the refusal. If there is no justification to show that the refusal was reasonable - then it is unreasonable by definition.
    Can I point out that I didn't make any reference to the HT until you asked me if I knew him/her? You brought the subject up and then told me I can't comment on him/her. Have I stumbled into the Monty Python thread?


     
  13. ROSIEGIRL

    ROSIEGIRL Senior commenter

    So any refusal is unreasonable?
     
  14. phatsals

    phatsals Established commenter

    Only if it's being led by you. You have a right to 'request' not an entitlement for it to be accepted. Pehaps if the OP had come with a solution to the problem, ie they would like to go PT and had a suggestion as to how the other 0.2 would be covered, they would have had more success. It is called negotiation.

     
  15. You can ask. That's it.
    I have a five year old boy and so far I've missed his first day at school, his first assembly, his first carol concert, his first Mother's Day assembly. I haven't asked for time off, because I feel this would be unfair to my class and colleagues (I live some distance from my workplace and it would be disruptive to have me out for much of the morning). It isn't an option for me to move my PPA as mine is covered by specialist teachers at strictly scheduled times.
    It hurts like hell, but it's what I signed up for when I became a teacher, and what I knew would happen. My husband attends all these events religiously, and films them for me. My little boy would obviously prefer me to be there in person, but knows 'mummy's job' means I can't be. The holidays means we can be together for far more time than other working parents can be with their children - I keep telling myself (and him) that, and it certainly helps!
    As I said, ask - and have a suggestion for how it could be done with minimal disruption - but don't expect it as a right.
     
  16. The right to request flexible working is a statutory right.

    It can only be refused on limited statutory grounds.

    You can look them up.

    If you do not agree that the grounds you were refused on come within the limited statutory grounds, you have the right to appeal, and if still not satisfied , the right to go to an employment tribunal for a decision

    I have not heard of any schools refusing a statutory request and then taking it to a tribunal and winning.

    It's my opinion that it would be an exceptionally difficult task for a school to reasonably maintain that any of the statutory criteria applied to them.

    This is based on the widespread granting of flexible working, up and down the country in a huge variety of different schools. There is no shortage of qualified staff willing to take on pt or fixed term temp or supply work.
    I cannot even think of a convincing reason that a flexible working request could be refused.

    A HT who refuses a statutory request would be taking a big risk. IMO

    Yes you have the right to ask. And NO the HT DOES NOT have the right to refuse. The HT has the legal obligation to grant the request unless they can justify that one of the stated criteria applies.

    Sadly, a lot of HT do not understand their own responsibilities in this process and think it is a favour for them to grant or not.
     
  17. reg1950

    reg1950 New commenter

    Sadly for OP your opinion is not shared by either of the firms of employment lawyers who have been consulted by staff I know of. I understand from advice others have received that what happens in other schools is legally irrelevant and heads can justify their decisions to refuse easily on the 'impact on performance' criteria by saying that not having their regular teacher will affect pupil progress. The head doesn't have to 'prove' that, if its their professional opinion they have grounds for refusal.
    You won't have done as the school wouldn't have taken anyone to a tribunal over the issue. The onus is on the teacher refused flexible working to take the school to an Employment Tribunal. Have you heard of many cases of a teacher doing that and winning? I wouldn't think many teachers are willing to do that. It's one thing to go to tribunal when you've left the school and aren't concerned about ongoing relationship with head, it's quite another to do it when you want to remain in the school, especially in a small school.

     
  18. No - you have extensive rights
    You need to decide if you want to be a Martyr or a Mum. Get down off that cross and apply for 5 days unpaid leave per year using your statutory flexible working request.
     
  19. I think the martyr might be the person who goes and asks for leave on top of the holidays we already get - is refused out of hand - goes to tribunal - probably loses, and even if they don't, finds they can't ever move schools as no Head will ever employ them again.
    Good will works both ways, and in schools, it is often best to ask nicely and make life as easy as possible for the person you want something from, rather than using a sledgehammer to crack a nut.
     
  20. Fear of being bullied in the future is a real problem - which I did mention earlier.
    However, being too frightened to ask for something reasonable, is is a very sad position to be in. You have my sympathy and my best wishes.
     

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