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Work Related Stress

Discussion in 'Headteachers' started by Hothead60, Mar 6, 2016.

  1. Hothead60

    Hothead60 New commenter

    I have just received notice that one of my staff will be off work for several weeks due to work related stress. Looking at the letter I have received, the teacher has clearly been to the union before informing. I'd be interested to know what to expect next...
  2. TheoGriff

    TheoGriff Star commenter



    I am a bit taken aback by this post, actually. But perhaps life is stressful for you too.

    So what next?

    My advice is this:

    You sit down with other members of SLT and start working a strategy for supporting this colleague as much as possible. You will wish to reassure him or her that you are concerned about his/her health and welfare, and that in order to avoid putting on any extra stress you will be instructing all staff, both teaching and support, that they shouldn't contact their colleague at all about work related matters. Ask if there is anything else that you can do to set his or her mind at rest while recuperating.

    You could then with SLT consider how this happened, are there other staff who might also be at risk, what steps you should take to try to reduce the stress on colleagues, probably although not necessarily from pressure of work.

    Are there things people have been asked to do which could be delayed or cancelled? Could there be a reduction in the amount of planning asked for? Are there too many book inspections and drop in learning walks?

    Just a few suggestions there. You need urgently to consider this as SLT because one colleague having made you aware of this, it is now your responsibility to draw up a Risk Assessment for the staff in general, teaching and support.

    Of course it may not be a letter via the Union. The colleague might be fully aware him/herself of your duty of care towards those that you lead and manage. Or s/he may even have taken and modified as appropriate one of my suggested letters.

    I hope that you and your SLT colleagues can come up with an effective plan of support for everyone. It would be good to be able to report to the CoG thst having been made aware of this problem, appropriate measures were taken immediately.

    Best wishes

  3. Middlemarch

    Middlemarch Star commenter

    I agree with everything Theo has posted. "Duty of care" means that you need urgently to examine how you can reduce the work-related stress for this member of staff and, at the same time, consider whether the issues affecting this person might also be affecting other staff.
    GLsghost and Dragonlady30 like this.
  4. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    Priceless. You don't know??? You get paid how much?? Part of that salary SHOULD ensure that you don't have to come onto the TES to find out how to do your job.
    I'm not going to apologise for my annoyance, having recently been on the receiving end of a useless Headteacher who was clueless to know how to deal with my severe WRS caused by working in his school.
    Anonymity, Billie73 and whodareswins like this.
  5. whodareswins

    whodareswins New commenter

    [​IMG]But don't sit down with SMT when the poor member of staff is off with wrs due to bullying and harassment due to a member of SMT and who had asked the HT for help but when the SM refused to attend the meeting HT said there was nothing else she could do..open doorway for the SM to escalate bullying, won't even carry on to tell you what happened x
  6. libby77

    libby77 Occasional commenter

    Sadly many teachers are too frightened to tell head teachers if they are struggling for fear of being placed on a 'support' plan, which we all know offers nothing but huge levels of stress. So please, I implore you, seek other options first.

    I have lost my job due to a 'support' plan. Not because I couldn't do everything asked of me. I never had a problem with that in the first place. But because I was so stressed and worried by it all, leading to anxiety which caused me to become very paranoid and convince myself I wouldn't succeed anyway. So I ended up with a disciplinary threat because I became very upset by the overwhelming stress of it. Unable to deal with the further stress of a disciplinary investigation (and after speaking to several professional bodies it really isn't a disciplinary matter), I would have no choice but to go back. So I have given up :-(

    I am desperate to ensure this doesn't happen to others hence my response here. All I needed (but didn't get at all) was a little assurance. It would have made the world of difference :-(
    thekillers and Dragonlady30 like this.
  7. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    That was pretty much what happened to me. The whole 'come and speak to me, my door is always open' nonsense from the Headteacher. Any teacher who falls for that ruse is as much of a fool as I was. I wasn't on any form of capability, nor had I had ANY complaints until I flagged up that there was some serious bullying going on, and I wasn't having it. As soon as I did that my career was over. Never be fooled into thinking that school policies are in place to protect us as individuals. They are not. They are there for OFSTED purposes and to get rid of anyone who steps out of their box.
    I notice that 'Hothead' has shut up and gone away now!
    Dragonlady30 likes this.
  8. slingshotsally

    slingshotsally Star commenter

    Caligraphy, I don't think hothead has gone away. There are such things as PM's and many a conversation can go on behind the scenes on this website that doesn't need to be in the public domain.

    When you look at Work Place dilemmas, and then peek here- Head Teachers are either too busy to post, have alternative sources of advice (eg cluster networks, School Improvement Partners, Human Resources etc) that they don't really need to seek support or advice here.

    Head Teachers may also face their own difficulties. I try not to imagine that all head teachers are the same.

    Jesmond12 and welshwales like this.
  9. ilovepoppies

    ilovepoppies New commenter

    At least this headteacher wants to make things better. Let's praise the fact that they want to help, not criticise the fact that it's happened. Nobody is perfect, it's how we learn from our mistakes that counts.
    Lara mfl 05 and GLsghost like this.
  10. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    Thinking back over the last 26 years of teaching. I have noticed one huge change in the ways teachers work in schools. When I started, teachers were at the centre of school life. All other employees saw their role as supporting teachers in delivering good education to young people. I include my first Head and Deputies, governors, caretaker, cleaners (no TAs in the school in those days) in that broad statement.
    Now it seems teachers are everybodies' whipping "boys." Everybody else increases my workload and stress levels with few exceptions.
    Perhaps a head asking the type of question that started this thread should consider how the way their SLT works supports or depresses their teachers?
    Anonymity likes this.
  11. Caligraphy

    Caligraphy Occasional commenter

    I agree Hammie, and you have reinforced my point. I don't care what difficulties individual headteachers face. That is what their huge salaries are for. In my experience, and yes, it's been a bitter one, children are encouraged to learn from their mistakes, however classroom teachers are bullied beyond reason if they make any. As is increasingly common in schools these days, its one rule for one, and one rule for another.
    cazzmusic1 and Anonymity like this.
  12. mrkeys

    mrkeys Occasional commenter

    We are no longer, 'all in this together'.
    When I started teaching we were.
    But in 1977 we had a HT, 2 DHT's and the senior teacher who was probably a couple of year from retirement. That was in a school of 850.
    In a similar sized school now I wonder what the management structure would be today?

    (Answers may just fit on one side of A4.)
    cazzmusic1 and Caligraphy like this.
  13. digoryvenn

    digoryvenn Lead commenter

    I don't receive a huge salary.
  14. hammie

    hammie Lead commenter

    I worked in a local secondary until approx 7 years ago. When I arrived the management structure was as described above: HT, 2DHT, one or two senior teachers. outcome 78% A-C GCSE. In comes a shiny new head fresh from being an LEA advisor. Within a year we had 13 assistant headteachers as well as a third deputy and all the existing heads of departments. And of course the office staff similarly mushroomed.
    And so the blizzard of paper work and memos began. Imagine just one request for data or action from each of those newly promoted "managers" landing in your pigeonhole each week.
    According to the now retired Chair of Governors, who was manipulated into the appointment by the LEA advisor on the recruitment board, the school went from comfortably solvent to bankrupt in less than three years.
    Behaviour disintegrated and results fell to less than 30%
    We need less, but better, management in schools. let your teachers teach adn give them time to work as a team. Trust your workers and they will trust you.
    cazzmusic1, Anonymity and thekillers like this.
  15. mrkeys

    mrkeys Occasional commenter

    Exactly my experience.
    New AHT's all trying to impress HT so all asking middle managers for much the same thing. No co-ordination at all.
    Trusting teachers to actually do their job has gone out of education.
    Enjoying retirement.
    cazzmusic1 and thekillers like this.

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