Ainu to think this is discrimination or am I being politically correct gone mad?!

(99 Posts)
Skinnywhippet Thu 17-Jan-13 17:30:33

This is listed as ESSENTIAL (not just desirable) attribute for a job advert for a teacher.

Must be physically fit to undertake
the duties of the role – lifting,
bending, stooping and carrying.

Surely that is discrimination. I have a disabled friend who is a teacher and it is no problem. Yes, teachers do lifting etc, but you can avoid these if necessary. What do you think?

I guess if they know that in that particular job there will be a lot of lifting it'd be a bit daft to hire someone who couldn't do it?

feministefatale Thu 17-Jan-13 17:32:17

Depends on the teachng position, is it a phys ed teacher?

Skinnywhippet Thu 17-Jan-13 17:32:50

Sorry to drip feed but just seen this as well.

The salary will be according to age and experience.

Erm, really salary should be based on experience and age is slightly irrelevant. I am shocked.

Skinnywhippet Thu 17-Jan-13 17:33:27

It is a ks1 teacher. So 5, 6, or 7 year olds.

OwlLady Thu 17-Jan-13 17:33:43

is it for a special school?

Skinnywhippet Thu 17-Jan-13 17:34:31

Not a special school. Independent school where class sizes are of 18ish and have a teaching assistant.

feministefatale Thu 17-Jan-13 17:34:34

I think payin based on age is discrimination but think it is legal in the UK, liek the separate minumum wages for different age groups. Think that is very wrong

SirBoobAlot Thu 17-Jan-13 17:35:19

Unless it is for additional needs, then yes it is discriminatory.

feministefatale Thu 17-Jan-13 17:36:16

Maybe the teaching assistant is disabled? And they need someone in the class to do the heavy lifting, maybe the there will be a disabled child in the class who has to be lifter between the two teachers?

You can't knwo really. It could be discrimination. But they clearly think heavy lifting will be a part of this job.

OwlLady Thu 17-Jan-13 17:36:17

i agree unless it's for additional needs then it discriminatory and a school should know better

Skinnywhippet Thu 17-Jan-13 17:37:16

The teaching assistant is not disabled.

Skinnywhippet Thu 17-Jan-13 17:37:41

There are no disabled children in any of the classes where the teacher would be employed.

EuroShagmore Thu 17-Jan-13 17:45:49

The age part is discriminatory. I don't see that the rest of it is if it is required for the job.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 17:49:43

The age thing is discrimination, but the lifting, bending, stooping thing isn't. That's just what is needed to be able to do the job.

If you think you never have to bend down to young children when you are teaching them and caring for them, then you may as well give someone with only hairdressing qualifications a job as a pilot.

Brugmansia Thu 17-Jan-13 17:53:21

The physical requirements could be discriminatory. It would depend on whether they could make reasonable adjustments to enable a disabled employee who did not meet those requirements to still do the job.

CaseyShraeger Thu 17-Jan-13 17:54:54

So you think a wheelchair user just plain can't teach KS1 children, CloudsAndTrees?

LifeofPo Thu 17-Jan-13 17:56:08

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

OwlLady Thu 17-Jan-13 17:57:34

they have to make adjustments for a disabled person to do their job if need be, it's what the disability discrimination act is there for

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 18:03:22

No, I didn't say that. And disability doesn't mean wheelchair user anyway.

But if this is an independent school that wants its KS1 teachers to be able to play on the floor, take children pond dipping, out for walks, teach children how to slide down the firemen pole and use monkey bars on their massive climbing frame, then it's reasonable to want someone who is physically capable of those things to do the job you are offering.

I teach an adventure sport to people with disabilities, I'm well aware of what can be achieved, thanks. I also work in a school with young children, and I know that there are some aspects to the job I do that would be extremely difficult or impossible for a wheelchair user.

crashdoll Thu 17-Jan-13 18:09:33

But if this is an independent school that wants its KS1 teachers to be able to play on the floor, take children pond dipping, out for walks, teach children how to slide down the firemen pole and use monkey bars on their massive climbing frame, then it's reasonable to want someone who is physically capable of those things to do the job you are offering.

You don't need any of those qualities to be a teacher ergo it's discrimination. They cannot discriminate based on qualities they would prefer if those qualities are not tangible.

MrsDeVere Thu 17-Jan-13 18:17:34

It is discrimination.

Unless they can prove that these exact actions are essential to the role.

In all my years in education I do not remember any teacher lifting me up confused
But I distinctly remember the pupils were the ones to do all the shifting of books etc.

Sounds like they want someone young and cheaper.
But they don't want to say 'no gimmers need apply and we don't want no disableds either and we want you to be young because then you will have less experience and cost us less'


FantasticDay Thu 17-Jan-13 18:17:37

Seems very odd to me. DC's infant school headteacher is a wheelchair user and teaches groups of reception and yrs 1 and 2, as well being an exceptionally effective head.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 18:17:50

You don't have to, but surely that being reasonably physically able isn't an excessive requirement for a teacher.

There has to be a line somewhere, we can't just call everything discrimination.

If I had became disabled tomorrow, I might not be able to do the job I do with disabled people. But I'd still be qualified. Would it be discrimination if I was no longer able to physically keep other disabled people safe, or would it just be common sense that I shouldn't be doing that job?

MrsDeVere Thu 17-Jan-13 18:19:35

What bits? [geniune]

I work with preschoolers with SN. I can think of ways round pretty much everything that could include a wheelchair user.
Obstacles tend to be environmental or down to lack of imagination IME

OwlLady Thu 17-Jan-13 18:21:21

but it is discrimination, I can't see why a person with physical disabilities couldn't do a teaching job either and I don't think it makes any difference that it's an independent school. Sliding down a firemans pole doesn't happen everyday does it? unless the school is in pontypandy

MrsDeVere Thu 17-Jan-13 18:22:11

clouds define reasonably physically able.

They are saying people have to be able to lift and stoop.
Nurses are allowed to practice without having to be able to do these things.

I am sure teachers can get by. Unless we have started getting rid of them once they hit their 50s. There are a lot of fit 50 year olds but there are an awful lot of them who have degenerative, common conditions.

There is no annual medical is there? <could be wrong>

eosmum Thu 17-Jan-13 18:23:06

It could be seen as discriminatory, I know someone who successfully had "full driving licence required" removed from a job advertisement, for a job that required travel around the country, as it was discriminatory towards those with visual impairment.

MrsDeVere Thu 17-Jan-13 18:23:26

We have a pole thingy in our playground at work.

I have NEVER slid down it. I could, I just don't want to.

jeee Thu 17-Jan-13 18:26:12

My sister was a wheelchair user, a qualified physiotherapist and worked in a special school. She had an assistant to help with the stuff she was physically incapable of doing. I'm sure that you can teach from a wheelchair, even in the most outdoory type of school.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 18:28:00

Do you mean what bits of the job I do with children?

Well, off the top of my head, the things I already listed. But if I had to use a wheelchair I would probably find it very difficult to use the wooded area that my school has, I wouldn't be able to fit in the toilet cubicle to help children, like when they need help to wipe their bum, or change after an accident. I wouldn't be able to demonstrate some of the things we do in PE, or excercises that we use to help their physical development, or lift and carry the regularly changed boxes of toys or the bikes and scooters in and out of the cupboard.

I could go on, and I too can see that most of those things are environmental, and that there would be ways round all of them. They would just cost half the schools annual budget to implement!

Ambrosiacreamedrice Thu 17-Jan-13 18:28:04

We have teachers with disabilities in school - one in a wheelchair, one blind and two who use crutches, lots with mental health problems. Not an issue at all. It is discrimination.

Interestingly, with the raising of the retirement age it is likely that there will be a lot more teachers who find the more physical aspects of their jobs difficult. Not sure I'll feel up to a quarter of a mile uphill walk between lessons with no travelling time built into the day when I'm approaching 70.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 18:31:14

I've never slid down our children's firemens pole either MrsDeVere! grin at the thought!

But I have lifted children down from the top, and supported their weight while they learned, and done the same from the monkey bars, and climbed to the top to comfort an upset child, and lifted children who have fallen off the floor and carried them into the first aid room. Stuff like that happens all the time!

crashdoll Thu 17-Jan-13 18:32:11

Good thing not all employers think like CloudsandTrees eh?!

TidyDancer Thu 17-Jan-13 18:32:23

Yes, it definitely sounds discriminatory. The OP has already countered the things I had thought of as being a reason as to why they had worded the advert the way they had.

I suspect the physically fit part would be easier to defend if they were challenged on this (not that I think it's defensible, but that excuses could be made for this), but I can't think of why the age point would be acceptable at all.

They are on shaky ground IMO.

crashdoll Thu 17-Jan-13 18:33:41

It's funny you know because people with disabilities are often very adaptable. Many, many wheelchair users manage parenting with all the lifting it entails.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 18:35:27

Please don't start this thing of making out I'm some disabilist nasty bitch, Im just discussing the issue.

It irritates me on a regular basis that people with disabilities are so often misjudged as being incapable of things they can do very very well, especially when the support needed would be minimal and very easy. I too know disabled teachers, although both of them work in secondary.

crashdoll Thu 17-Jan-13 18:37:13

I never called you those names and I would not, nor has it crossed my mind to call you disablist. I disagree with you though and think you are not thinking outside the box.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 18:41:44

No, I know you don't call me those things, but so often on MN people do get called disablist when they are really not, it's happened to me before so I guess I'm too defensive. Sorry (said in the nicest possible way) smile

A lot of what I do in my other job with people who have disabilities involves thinking way outside the box, and like I said, I can see ways round all of the issues I listed. But for those things to be put into practice in my school, the majority of the building would need to be redesigned. A child who was a wheelchair user could be accommodated relatively easily, but a member of KS1 or early years staff, not so easily.

MrsDeVere Thu 17-Jan-13 18:46:08

actually clouds I am very surprised that your school has got away with it for so long.

I hate it when people go on about budgets as if it is the disabled person's fault the place is badly designed.

Its is only when someone with enough energy and back up to challenge it anyone tends to notice.

All those excluded previously have decided they just couldn't face the hassle.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 18:51:08

Got away with what?

Of course it's not anyone's fault that the place is badly designed, but we are in a building that was put up over 100 years ago. Believe me, I'd love it to be completely redesigned, but the money would have to come from somewhere. And as I work in a state school, it would come out of the education budget. So what's more important? Paying for more land and to redesign and rebuild the school, or paying to educate our children?

MrsDeVere Thu 17-Jan-13 18:53:32

You don't have any accessible toilets?

MrsDeVere Thu 17-Jan-13 18:56:02

But Clouds you can comfort children in different ways. Disabled parents do it all the time.

The advert is discriminatory and the employers seem almost afraid of having to employ someone old or disabled.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 18:57:21

Yes, we have an accessible toilet. We are actually rated outstanding on the bit of the OFSTED report that talks about SEN. Like I said, a child could be accommodated fairly easily, but it would be more difficult (not impossible) for a member of staff.

WilsonFrickett Thu 17-Jan-13 18:57:47

It sounds to me like a previous member of staff has gone off sick with back issues and tried to sue - or indeed has invoked the DD or something like that and they're trying to stop that happening again. Doesn't mean it's not discriminatory though. And salary according to age is definitely off.

Ambrosiacreamedrice Thu 17-Jan-13 18:59:43

Life for a person with a disability is 'more difficult' so I'm sure the school could cope with doing something 'more difficult'. My own school goes back to the Elizabethan period, as do some of the buildings, and we have made the building accessible. Of course, the will has to be there.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 19:01:39

I agree that the advert is discriminatory about age.

So where is the line drawn with regards to discrimination? (Genuine question)

If the outcomes that both an able bodied person and a disabled person can provide are identical, but the disabled person is not considered for the job, then obviously that is discriminatory.

But if a person cannot achieve the same outcome despite reasonable adjustments because of their disability, is it still discrimination?

mrsjay Thu 17-Jan-13 19:02:38

Must be physically fit to undertake
the duties of the role – lifting,
bending, stooping and carrying.

well Im not fit enough for that job I have spina bifida I cant bend or carry heavy things so I dont see how it is discrimination, it is just showing what the job entails

mrsjay Thu 17-Jan-13 19:04:19

although i work with preschoolers and I dont lift any of the children or anything heavy, so I suppose confused

I am not sure why I mentioned the disability I have

mrsjay Thu 17-Jan-13 19:05:16

But if a person cannot achieve the same outcome despite reasonable adjustments because of their disability, is it still discrimination?

No it isn't imo you can positive discrimate against people ,

TheNebulousBoojum Thu 17-Jan-13 19:05:37

We've had disabled students that couldn't access areas of the school, so we swapped classrooms around in advance so they had access to all the areas they needed to throughout their years in school.
On first sight, the ad is discriminatory, worth challenging anyway.
I think doing the job would be very tough with a significant physical disability, but if the will was there on both sides it would be possible. As has been said, if teachers are going to be expected to teach til 67 or 70, the schools had better get used to adapting themselves for elderly staff.

MrsDeVere Thu 17-Jan-13 19:07:16

Sorry Clouds, I am not getting at you...just an interesting conversation.

If the adaptations are available then surely an adult could be accommodated?

Assisting a child in a toilet is possible if the toilet is accessible.
Comforting a child is possible from a chair.
Teaching children to use play equipment does not require physical demonstration and you can help a child get down/up from a chair.

McNewPants2013 Thu 17-Jan-13 19:19:10

In teaching i think it is easy to make adjustment because of a disability.

In my job there is no way to make adjustment because of a phyical disability. I am an Nhs cleaner so there is nothing i can think of that could anyone can make adjustment for.

StuntGirl Thu 17-Jan-13 19:20:00

Disability is a protected characteristic under the Equality Act. So yes, the advert is discriminatory and could very easily be challenged.

Skinnywhippet Thu 17-Jan-13 19:34:06

No problems with previous staff trying to sue. Can you guess that I know the school rather well!? I wouldn't have minded if they put the criteria in the DESIRABLE column but ESSENTIAL is a bit much iyswim.

Skinnywhippet Thu 17-Jan-13 19:35:26

I also find it insulting that my employer thinks I do lots of lifting, carrying and stooping! It is not essential.

Skinnywhippet Thu 17-Jan-13 19:36:51

Also, this person spec is standard it seems - it has been used identically for the two teaching jobs they are advertising for.

mum11970 Thu 17-Jan-13 19:37:36

Our local primary school has just celebrated it's centenary and would be unable to accommodate either a teacher or pupil in a wheelchair permanently. The school is built on a slope and covers 3 levels, each level is accessed by stairs internally and only has external ramps to ground and top floor, there are only steps to main entrance on middle floor. Due to the age and layout of the school it would be impossible to make it wheelchair friendly internally as it's all narrow corridors and stairs.

Brugmansia Thu 17-Jan-13 19:58:51

It would probably come down top what explanation they out forward for why these physical requirements address essential for the job. It's not what I would think of as being a defining part of being a teacher.

Ambrosiacreamedrice Thu 17-Jan-13 20:00:28

If two floors are accessible, then the teacher is given one of the classrooms on those floors surely? A pupil in a wheelchair is similarly accommodated. If a corridor is too narrow for a wheelchair I'd be concerned about the safety of the children using it. A ramp could also be provided to the main entrance if necessary. Our (listed) building has been made accessible.

allgoingtoshitnow Thu 17-Jan-13 20:06:28

Do you think the school are deliberately discriminating OP? Or are they just advertising based on what the role entails after considering their situation etc?

Maybe whomever is interested in the role can offer to take less pay so they can get an assistant to help with the bits of the job requirement that aren't met?

Equalities legislation is designed to stamp out discrimination. Not to put people into roles they cant physically do.

mum11970 Thu 17-Jan-13 20:16:33

All classrooms are on the ground floor but toilets and staff room on second floor and main hall/canteen on top so it wouldn't be feasible. Also it's a steep climb up the playground. Any children on crutches have to have a helper to aid them outside between floors. Think the school only get away with being so wheelchair unfriendly due to it's age and would probably need to be demolished and rebuilt to be anywhere near wheelchair accessible to all areas.

Skinnywhippet Thu 17-Jan-13 20:44:59

I think it is ignorance. I believe the person who wrote the job spec just didn't think very carefully. The rest of the job spec is a bit contradictory. Get annoyed when people who are paid more than me, eg management can't seem to do these things properly!

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 21:30:28

MrsDeVere, I think it's interesting too, and there's always ideas to be shared about how certain problems could be overcome.

Without wanting to sound like I'm creating barriers where there should be none,

Assisting a child in a toilet is possible if the toilet is accessible. In my schools building this would mean children in Y1 and reception being unable to use their little child sized toilets in their own classroom. They would have to go to the other end of the school, either alone, or with a member of staff who would be more use to the class as a whole in the classroom, just on the off chance that they might need help. If they had had an accident, their things to change into wouldn't be nearby. So on the whole, far from ideal, and possibly detrimental to the class if this were to be enforced with our building the way it is now.

Comforting a child is possible from a chair. yes, in most cases it absolutely is. Although not so much when the upset child is lying on the floor because they have hurt themselves and need to be picked up, or they have gone into the playhouse or shed or the little shelter in the wooded area, or at the top of the climbing frame, and need someone to go and be where they have chosen to be while they are comforted. Not a massive problem (except with the injured child lying on the floor) but IMO, a reasonable consideration for the school to make.

Teaching children to use play equipment does not require physical demonstration and you can help a child get down/up from a chair. I do some exercises with the children in my class that do very much require physical demonstration, the quickest example I can think of is with a child who doesn't have recognised SEN as he's still only reception, but is very uncoordinated and 'clumsy' for a lack of a better word. He has been doing exercises like rolling a ball from one foot to the other, moving his ankles round in circles and that kind of thing. He very much does need a visual demonstration. As I said earlier, we have a massive wooden climbing frame, and I have only been able to encourage some children to use it fully and be involved in 'risk taking' (seemingly v fashionable in the EYFS at the moment) by being able to stand underneath then while they try the monkey bars, or swing themselves across to the firemans pole.

None of this is essential for teaching the academic stuff, but tbh, I think it is important that a KS1 teacher be able to support all areas of learning.

Ambrosiacreamedrice Thu 17-Jan-13 21:49:39

Clouds, do you as a teacher assist in toileting? That is very much left to TAs in any of the primary schools I've been in. Equally, in the EYFS all of the other tasks you mention could be undertaken by an additional adult who would be in the setting anyway.

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 21:56:22

I'm not a teacher, but I have known teachers in my school to assist with toileting on occasion. If I'm engaged with a group of children doing an activity and the teacher isn't engaged with anything in particular, she wouldn't disturb me or the children I'm working with to do a toileting job as if it was beneath her or something. We are part of a team.

In the EYFS, yes, in theory another staff member could do the things I talked about, but what if one of the staff members can't for some reason? They are disabled themselves, or they are pregnant, or they happen to just have a bad back that week? Shouldn't all staff members be able to do all of the same aspects of the job if they have the same job title and job description? What if one of the staff members is already disabled and needs help to do certain things? Would it be discrimination to not want to employ another member of staff who had a disability, or in theory, could you end up with an entire team of staff made up of people with disabilities so as not to discriminate?

Ambrosiacreamedrice Thu 17-Jan-13 22:13:32

I think the OP has stated that there are not already people with disabilities in the team.

I just think, where do you draw the line? Teaching is a job that is adaptable for people with disabilities and will have to become more adaptable as the retirement age increases. When I signed up I could leave at 60. Now it is 68. I already suffer with arthritis in one knee at 32. I could well end up needing adaptations myself. Do I suddenly become unable to teach because I can't walk very well?

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 22:21:43

I know there aren't already people who have disabilities in the team OP is talking about, I'm just discussing the issue in general.

Like you say, where do you draw the line? Where does it become unreasonable rather than reasonable adaptations that need to be made, and where does it become discrimination in relation to where it is detrimental to colleagues or (in this particular situation) schoolchildren?

It's just an area that interests me and I think these things need to be discussed to enable as many barriers as possible to be broken down for people who have disabilities.

Ambrosiacreamedrice Thu 17-Jan-13 22:24:43

But to get into the hypothetical situation you were talking about regarding an already disabled team member, the school would have to not discriminate in the first place?

The question you raise about pregnancy is interesting. Should pregnant women be made to leave because they aren't willing to lift a child on a climbing frame?

JamieandtheMagicTorch Thu 17-Jan-13 22:27:18

It's discriminatory.

I work in a school, including with reception age children, and heavy lifting, stooping, picking up, etc are not necessary, even though they are frequently done.

edam Thu 17-Jan-13 22:27:50

Clouds, every time discrimination is outlawed against a previously unprotected group, the same hoary old arguments are wheeled out. E.g. 'Ooh, we couldn't allow women into our golf club, there aren't any loos'. 'Ooh, we couldn't allow disabled people in here, what about the fire risk'. It's just the kneejerk response of people who either want to discriminate or think it's all too difficult.

Tough luck. The law says you can't discriminate on grounds of gender/race/disability/sexual orientation/age. That means you can't do it. If you have a teacher who can't manage the stairs, you reallocate classrooms so they have one without stairs etc. etc. etc.

(Am not having a go at you, I know you are trying to think about it, but please don't fall for any of these tired old excuses for discrimination.)

My workplace pisses me off as we don't have a lift 'as it's a Victorian building'. I do wish my colleague who works on the top floor and really struggles with the stairs would challenge them. I'm sure she could argue that she should have an office on the ground floor - she's just too nice to do it.

flow4 Thu 17-Jan-13 22:27:53

A job advert never gives the 'whole picture'; applicants need to look at all the details in the recruitment pack. Most local authority jobs, including teaching posts, will specify 'essential criteria', but will also include a statement somewhere in the application pack along the lines of the following:
"We recognise and welcome our responsibility to remove any barriers in our recruitment and selection process for disabled applicants. We have tried to do this but if you have a disability and identify any barriers in the job description, employee specification or the recruitment process, please tell us. We are committed to making reasonable adjustments to the job wherever possible".

LadyBeagleEyes Thu 17-Jan-13 22:30:56

Yup, blatant discrimination.
Is it legal to word a teacher's job application like that?

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 22:32:28

Yes, a school would have to not discriminate in the first place. So if the have shown that they don't discriminate on disability grounds, could they then be accused of discrimination if they knew they would need a team member to do more than their usual share of lifting, carrying, bending etc and therefore advertised a post on that basis? I'm just thinking really, I'm not sure where my own opinion lies yet!

Pregnancy, I think, comes under different legislation, but again, I guess it all comes down to what is considered 'reasonable'. I'd consider it reasonable to not want to lift two stone or more of child down from monkey bars above your head, but then it's not reasonable to refuse to do playground duty because you might encounter a child that needs helping up off the floor.

KhallDrogo Thu 17-Jan-13 22:35:56

what if it was a job in a team of 4 and the other 3 had physical disabilities, which meant they couldn't lift children down from climbing frames etc. Can the employed then advertise for a physically able-bodied member of staff?

CloudsAndTrees Thu 17-Jan-13 22:37:29

I do understand what you are saying edam. My friend had the 'fire risk' excuse trotted out to him by his employers, and he works for the local council who you'd think would know better. Apparently he would have to wait in a burning building for the fire brigade to come to him in the event of a fire, because installing one of those emergency non electric stair things (evac chair or something) and training other staff how to use it was too much effort hmm

TheFallenNinja Thu 17-Jan-13 22:41:04

Yes, it discriminates between those who can do the job they are advertising and those who can not.

Ambrosiacreamedrice Thu 17-Jan-13 22:43:24

This kind of issue is also going to become more and more apparent as more people with disabilities are deemed 'fit' for work by a government desperate to make people with disabilities seem like scroungers.

I've been suffering with a balance problem this last couple of weeks and it has meant changing the way I do my job. I've had to sit or stand and lean whereas I normally move around the classroom constantly. Within half a lesson the kids had adjusted to the fact that they need to come up to the desk rather than me coming to them and we are all in the new routine. I may even keep it like this after my op. If there is one thing children are it is adaptable.

StuntGirl Fri 18-Jan-13 01:46:21

Khall No, they can't.

HollyBerryBush Fri 18-Jan-13 02:20:30

Drama productions perhaps - hoiking 'stuff' round the set? Or Music? Even PE, if there is equipment will involve a lot of lugging about.

Stamina rather than physical fitness would have been a more apt expression for a teaching job!

Something I never knew about teaching applicatinas and the selection process - if it is put on an application form the teacher has a disability - they have to have an interview (according to our HR) even if they are entirely unsuitable upon reading their application. Just another of those quirky little things the unions negotiated.

KhallDrogo Fri 18-Jan-13 03:43:57

stuntgirl how so? Surely in supervising kids, you need to have an able bodied member of staff? What if no one else on the staff was?

Or is it just that they are not lower to state it on the job description?

StraightTalkinSheila Fri 18-Jan-13 04:02:09

YANBU. This thread is full of "what ifs?" from people who are, for the most part, a) not teachers, and therefore cannot make accurate judgements about what teachers are required to do and b) not disabled and therefore cannot make accurate judgements about what disabled people an and cannot do.
In fact, it does make me chuckle that if this was. Thread about SN students, the general consensus would be "Oh, how dreadful! Discrimination alert! Everyone is equal..yadda yadda yadda", yet when it's about people who are supposed to be in charge of said students, the story seems to be completely different.

KhallDrogo Fri 18-Jan-13 06:54:15

Well my 'what ifs' are because I am trying to understand.....

Disabilities are limiting aren't they, thars why they are disabilities. I would have thought in a school scenario there would ne a requirement for at least some staff to be capable of man handling the children. For occassions such as broken legs

StraightTalkinSheila Fri 18-Jan-13 06:59:49

"At least some staff need to be capable of man handling the children."
Two things wrong with this-
- no member of staff is EVER required to "man handle" children. Jeepers.
- the supposition that all staff could be disabled. What difference does one wheelchair user make?
Also, "disabilities are limiting". Yes, they are, but what you fail to realise is that there are ways of adapting to deal with these "limitations". Blimey.

KhallDrogo Fri 18-Jan-13 07:28:42

I know its an unlikely scenario that all the staff are disabled hmm I'm talking hyperthetically really. There is a requirement to be able to lift children sometimes....surely someone needs to be able to carry a child with a broken leg

I have worked in a role where you absolutely could bot do the job unless you were able bodied and fit. You could make adaptations to allow access etc, but a person in a wheelchair would nor be able to do the job. There were staff with learning disabilities and mental health problems.

The advert isn't saying no one with disabilities, but is requiring physical fitness

I don't have a 'view' really, I'm just exploring my thoughts, so stop trying to paint me as a baddie

StraightTalkinSheila Fri 18-Jan-13 07:38:18

You asked a question.
I think you are being unreasonable in your original post and have made various points to show this.
I would never carry a child with a broken leg. I would wait for the ambulance to do so.
Your hypothetical situations do not warrant the idea you are trying to get across that a wheelchair user is not able to be an effective teacher.

crashdoll Fri 18-Jan-13 07:45:41

This thread is interesting to me because I am a strong advocate of the social model of disability and some of the replies in this thread just show that it is society that puts up the barriers. For those who don't know, the medical model of disability looks at the person as being the 'problem' but the bottom line is, society puts up barriers and this thread is a perfect example.

KhallDrogo Fri 18-Jan-13 07:48:27

That is not 'a point I am trying to get across' at all'

It's not a view I hold. A wheelchair makes no difference to how affective a teacher is. I don't 'fail to understand' that adaptations can be made either

I am just exploring, given my previous roles, whether there would be a scenario where an able bodied teacher would be required. It seems not

As an aside, are you a teacher? If my dc broke a leg in the playground, I would expect them to be carried inside out of the rain

Brugmansia Fri 18-Jan-13 07:52:59

The OP summed it up in her later posts really. It may be desirable for a teacher to be able to do various things but it's not essential.

This is the same in most jobs. There will be the key duties that define that role and having the necessary qualifications and experience will be essential. Then there are the peripheral aspects of the job. In this case it appears that the school have incorporated physical requirements that are desirable to be able to carry out the ancillary aspects of the job into the essential criteria, thereby potentially discriminating against potential candidates with various disabilities.

Those ancillary duties still need to be done. The question is then what reasonable adjustments can be made to accommodate the disabled employees. The points raised above, such of age of building and the impact on other staff are factors to consider. It may be that an employer could legitimately reach the conclusion, after considering the options, that the adjustments needed to accommodate a particular potential employee are too onerous. The problem on this case is that the school is effectively saying they just want candidates who are able bodied at the outset and are unwilling to consider disabled candidates who they could accommodate. On this basis it is discriminatory (in my view).

StraightTalkinSheila Fri 18-Jan-13 07:53:21

I am a teacher and i have a "disability".
If your dc broke their leg and it was raining, I still wouldn't move them until the ambulance came, I'd Elat the help of another member of staff and we would keep the child dry (cover with coats, umbrellas) whilst we waited for the ambulance. This would be the practice in all schools.

StraightTalkinSheila Fri 18-Jan-13 07:53:40

*enlist help

crashdoll Fri 18-Jan-13 07:54:22

I do see what you're saying KhallDrogo but the 'what if' scenario is highly unlikely as people who are wheelchair users and/or have severe physical disabilities are in the minority. There would be someone around the school to assist your child. I have a physical disability and I used to work in a nursery. Unfortunately, a child had a nasty accident (still think about it even 3 years later sad) and instinct led me to bend down to grab her. It caused me great pain and difficulty but I did it. Obviously, there are those people who physically cannot perform those actions but as I said, they really are in the minority.

CloudsAndTrees Fri 18-Jan-13 07:58:57

That's a good way of putting it Brugmansia. I think you are probably right.

Crashdoll, I agree that it's society that puts up the barriers.

justmatureenough2bdad Fri 18-Jan-13 08:02:26

i think this is an occasion where the school believes a conflict of rights exists, insofar as they believe employing someone physically or mentally incapable of doing the specified job may have a detrimental effect on a a number of other people, in this case, children. In these cases, they CAN qualify their essential criteria on the basis of the fact that they are protecting the childrens rights....this is the schools prerogative and what they would argue where this to be taken to a review panel.

KhallDrogo Fri 18-Jan-13 08:16:45

Ok, I had no idea schools call ambulances for broken bones. Seems like a waste of ambulances, but totally irrelevant to thread smile

CloudsAndTrees Fri 18-Jan-13 08:19:53

Justmature, I see what you are saying, but having just had my mind opened by Brugmansia's post, the bit where you say 'they believe employing someone physically or mentally incapable of doing the specified job may have a detrimental effect on a number of other people'.

Their (possibly incorrect) beliefs about what might or might not be an issue is what makes it discriminatory if they won't even consider a person with a disability. If they do consider the individual and their own limitations and need and with fair reason decide they still cannot accommodate them, or they decide that employing that person will be detrimental to others, then it's not discriminating.

That's how I'm seeing it anyway. There is a strong case for positive discrimination, but it's about where the line is drawn. It's right to positively discriminate so that a disabled person can have the same outcome as a non disabled person, the question is how far can you take the positive discrimination.

justmatureenough2bdad Fri 18-Jan-13 08:45:52

without seeing the advert in full, it doesn't appear to say that they will not consider people with a disability, just that applicants would be expected to be able to fulfill the duties mentioned.

legislation does oblige an employer to interview anyone defined as disabled under DDA if they apply. in jobs where there is a physical element (which i agree is unclear in this case, no two teaching jobs necessarily being the same) then there may be a "fitness to participate" type assessment. After all, if the job does actually require physical work, and someone is given the position on the understanding that they are capable of carrying out such duties and then can't....this is misrepresentation....

The equalities act and dda are extremely important pieces of legislation, but they do also allow for practicality insofar as it allows for qualification of some rights and addresses inevitable conflicts. To a certain degree, schools benefit from this as it is usually held that a child's rights to safety from harm is the highest priority, so if it can be argued that this is potentially jeapardised by the exercising of another's rights...the child's right "wins"

flow4 Fri 18-Jan-13 15:56:40

You are forming judgements about the school's attitude and behaviour towards disabled people based on the advert, rather than the job description. We all know Ads only give a 'snapshot' of a situation, and 'terms and conditions' also apply. The same will almost certainly be the case here... And to be fair, no-one knows what the school 'believes' about employing disabled people... It's all speculation! smile

As I said above, if you look at the full job details, I bet you will also find a statement along the lines of:
"We recognise and welcome our responsibility to remove any barriers in our recruitment and selection process for disabled applicants. We have tried to do this but if you have a disability and identify any barriers in the job description, employee specification or the recruitment process, please tell us. We are committed to making reasonable adjustments to the job wherever possible".

The school will (and must by law) interview any disabled applicant, and discuss any barriers/problems a disabled person might face doing the job, and make 'reasonable adjustments' accordingly.

This isn't 'positive discrimination'; it's addressing the problems and issues that a disabled person would face doing the job because society discriminates against them.

StuntGirl Fri 18-Jan-13 18:47:09

Khall - the reason they couldn't specify able bodied regardless of how many disabled staff they have is because it is illegal to do so. Any school who does so would be breaking the law and could be taken to court (where they would invariably lose).

All prospective employees must be treated equitably and fairly. The current make up of a schools staff bears absolutely no relevance on a prospective employees capabilities of doing the job. So it cannot legally be taken into consideration.

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