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Workplace Bullying.

Discussion in 'Scotland - education news' started by Marco82, Dec 13, 2015.

  1. Marco82

    Marco82 Established commenter

    I was wondering how widespread you all think bullying is in teaching? I have recently seen a dedicated colleague forced out of a job after facing a long period of sustained bullying from an immediate superior. I can't give details save to say that the bully has a long reputation as such but management gave him full backing. Really was quite shocking to see someone treated in such a way with no thought at all given to the impact the whole thing had on the victim's well being.
  2. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter

    Not really bullying as such, but I have often seen different colleagues being treated totally differently for the same "crimes".
  3. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    It's widespread and getting worse

    The new standard for headship must have a mandatory bullying module in it. All the new breed of heedies seem to think that respect at work isn't something that applies to them. They railroad things through so the box can get ticked, with scant regard for staff welfare:

    My own HT has on more than one occasion came out with:

    "You'll just have to do it, it's your job so don't give me any of this 35 hour working week nonsense"
    "If you don't do it we'll get someone else in who will do it they way I want it done"
    "You'll just have to put in the hours"

    These are all bully boy tactics. But remember your HT or DHT isn't your employer.
    Marisha and christine orr like this.
  4. AckyWacky

    AckyWacky New commenter

    I agree it is not good at the moment. No-one in SMT wants to know about workload, discipline issues, pupil levels etc... as PT all the ills of the school are my fault seemingly. It appears that good leaders are not the ones gaining HT roles. Someone needs to teach them how to get staff on side and not alienate them. I have filled in the SSTA survey but I do not hold out much hope for a meaningful resolution to my workload situation. I feel so unwell and exhausted. A year and a half in post and I am actively looking either abroad or out of teaching completely.
    christine orr likes this.
  5. heldon

    heldon Occasional commenter

    Ask for that in writing then go to your union and director of education and ask their advice about how to proceed.
  6. AnEilean

    AnEilean New commenter

    Acky Wacky I'm in exactly the same position. I'm expected to work at home in the evenings and weekends as thats what I get paid for! I'm exhausted and disillusioned with the profession, if only I could find something else to do!!!
  7. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    Ongoing issue and those you have quoted are involved

    Won't say too much on here, but it's a sad state of affairs that it could be one of many schools
  8. catmother

    catmother Star commenter

    I think that, for many reasons, schools are the perfect breeding ground for potential bullying. Despite being "council employees", normal rules do not seem to apply. Despite having a contract that says 35 hours, more is always seemingly expected without having to even be formally asked. Not sure if this was always the case but it certainly has got worse and worse very quickly. CfE is really the gift that keeps on giving.
  9. crinauk

    crinauk New commenter

    I was bullied by my PT in my first job for 6 years before I got enough courage to leave - I was a single parent so the decision was hard. The bullying caused me to have a blackout at work for the stress and I very nearly had a breakdown. I got no support from the SLT or the EIS. After the blackout the council asked their mediation team to meet us both and resolve the situation. After one meeting they refused to come back as they said the PT was so obnoxious they could not help - yet I had to leave to save my sanity. I went to work abroad for a few years and my first teaching post back in Scotland found me in a school where the Headteacher was a bully so after a year at the school I left - again to save my sanity. I am back teaching abroad but have to return to Scotland in the summer, I am already feeling apprehensive about finding myself in the same situation again.
  10. Flere-Imsaho

    Flere-Imsaho Star commenter

    It depends on the school. Teachers seem oddly unwilling to stand up for themselves and each other - perhaps because the management structure is so flat - so things go unchallenged. For the bullying types this just encourages worse behaviour.
  11. sockknittingtubes

    sockknittingtubes New commenter

    the last 3 years of my teaching career I was bullied and ostricised by the school senior management team. I was appointed to teach art and and to work withthe SPeical needs pupils and particulary the non readers in a KS3/4 PRU. Love the job to start with then along came a new head , art was disapplied and then I could feel the situation getting bad, comments were targetted at getting rid of me on capability- so easy to do - I would daily go to work feeling sick and cry on my way home , I only worked 3 days a week and my self esteem was completely shot to pieces- I have sworn never to return to the job I loved but I was hated. I left on grounds of stress
  12. morrisseyritual

    morrisseyritual Occasional commenter

    Record date and time of everything. Come any day of reckoning or merely for investigation, you have a litany of examples you cite as bullying.
  13. ladywholunch

    ladywholunch New commenter

    We had a whole layer of management in our place who bullied and lived life of Reilly for years until a bullying HT arrived and forced them out. Set a thief to catch a thief if you can!
  14. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter

    It is interesting that this thread has had well over 1,000 views.
    Perhaps that indicates just how common workplace bullying is?

    Moderation in Moderation.
  15. subman68

    subman68 Occasional commenter

    I understand this advice and in part it is good, however you can not appear with 18 months of evidence. The person investigating any bullying would quiet rightly say that it could not have been that bad if you have just been gathering evidence for such a long time.

    Record incidents to show a pattern then raise a grievance with this evidence. This is far stronger than months of collecting.

    HT are in the main weak when it comes to bullying, the do not have the training or understanding of the impact and how to deal with it. people must take action. You must also remember that HR are not your friend, they work for the organisation that you are complaining about, they will "circle the wagons" and protect people. This is their default setting, you can not trust or get help from HR.
  16. Flyonthewall75

    Flyonthewall75 New commenter

    The style of management that has been introduced into schools over the last 15 to 20 years has contributed significantly to the culture of staff bullying.

    HTs, and other promoted staff, are now expected to implement whatever policies are passed down by government and local authorities, without question. Critical thinking and independent, educational judgement is no longer valued and 'strong leadership' is now apparently about being able to tell other staff to 'just do it'.

    In effect, HTs are now expected to be quasi-school inspectors, on message with whatever the government, and its advisers, want implemented. It is top-down, micro-management taken to the extreme and it is destroying what was once a very successful education system.

    Now, I am sure some will disagree with that statement; after all, doesn't the revised school inspection process involve school staff working as 'associate assessors'. Here is an article from 2009:


    The first associate assessors, a mere handful, were recruited in the mid-1990s, 'by direct approach to professionals who had impressed inspectors'.

    I happen to know one of those early recruits. She was a bully of the first order and abused her position as a head teacher to try to destroy the career of anyone she did not 'rate'; that included some who were dedicated teachers who went on to gain promotion in other schools.

    The article goes on to say that, as of 2009, there were about 500 associate assessors, 5 for every 1 full-time inspector and it paints a positive picture of schools, associate assessors and inspectors all working together for the benefit of pupils.

    "Nowadays, authorities and colleges are invited to nominate candidates they feel have the qualities needed to become an associate assessor."

    That sounds like a very cosy arrangement but it does beg the question: if the revised school inspection process, the implementation of a Curriculum for Excellence and the introduction of the new examination system have gone so well, why has attainment in literacy and numeracy fallen and why are there concerns about over-complicated, and unnecessarily bureaucratic, assessments?

    Other countries, with successful education systems, seem to manage very well without a school inspection process and they also seem to value their teachers more, with better pay and conditions of service and a higher status within society.

    Indeed, why have our schools, and teachers, been duped into doing the school inspectorate's job for them?
    bigjimmy2 and Effinbankers like this.
  17. Effinbankers

    Effinbankers Lead commenter

    Absolutely spot on flyonthewall

    Bullying exists because it is seen as the way to "get things done".

    A lot of good people who would make good HTs, simply won't do the job because of the need for headship qualifications and all that and the fact that they are not allowed to "lead", but instead be monkeys for local authority organ grinders.

    As a result people who simply can't do these jobs are being promoted way beyond their competency level and when they get found out their solution is to become defensive, blame others and insist it's my way or the highway and to pick on the weakest to show they can actually "manage". A similar process is happening at faculty level. Hey presto you have a widespread bullying culture.

    [This comment/section has been removed for breaching our Community Guidelines/Terms and conditions]

    Please excuse my industrial language. But it is better for emphasising my point.
    Last edited by a moderator: Feb 19, 2016
    bigjimmy2 likes this.
  18. Marco82

    Marco82 Established commenter

    Don't apologise for the langauge it's about time we got angry about the way we are treated. But I think there is such widespread fear in the profession and the management has such power that it is difficult to change things. I have to admit that when I came into teaching as a late entrant I was amazed at how illiberal a profession teaching was, how management treated staff like underlings. Things have only got worse since then.
    bigjimmy2 likes this.
  19. bigjimmy2

    bigjimmy2 Lead commenter

    Nice summary.

    I am sure politicians and ivory tower educationalists see all of that as part of our "sophisticated" education system and conclude that it must be "good". At the most basic level imaginable nobody in authority is asking why standards of literacy and numeracy are falling.

    The Emperor has no clothes.

    Moderation in Moderation.
  20. cochrane1964

    cochrane1964 New commenter

    Due to the paucity of the case for many policies, bullying is the only way to get compliance. I would reiterate what others have said.
    1. Record time, date, nature and names of witnesses of any incident.
    2. If you are brave enough, ask for a formal meeting with the bully with a witness.
    3. Ask for the official view of the bully as to the nature of the incident and record it.
    4. Ask that this type of behaviour stops.
    5. If it continues, go back to 1 but next meeting must be with a Union official present.
    6. The above MAY result in the bullying being redirected but if it continues, inform your line manager or HT that you will not be tolerating it and inform a Head of Service and ask for a meeting with HR.
    I have had clients who have got a 'painless' move sideways with retention of full status or post using the above method.
    sicilypat and Negomis like this.

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