Your advice please on delicate situation

(27 Posts)
Biscuitsneeded Sat 31-May-14 20:13:24

So I'm in a recently academised school in special measures, staff leaving in droves, pretty rubbish morale. Senior management want to be seen to be doing something so have started trying to squeeze anyone they deem unsatisfactory out of a job - they have basically bullied my colleague, given her two RIs for observations and told her they would start capability proceedings against her. She could see which way the wind was blowing and resigned at that point to protect her reference at least.
So far, so bad. She's a good teacher and a nice colleague but they had decided they wanted her out so just looked for things they could 'get' her on. Anyway, they agreed in April that she would leave at half term (ie now). They haven't attempted to replace her for the remaining half term, nor have they bothered to advertise for a replacement for September (and now most teachers will be unable to break their contracts so not sure who they will be able to find). They are trying to get through the last eight weeks of term using a mixture of cover teachers and by spreading her timetable among the remaining members of the department, which means I have picked up two lessons in my PPAs. I'm really cross about this. If a colleague were ill, or on a trip, of course I wouldn't mind covering, but this is a situation that could and should have been avoided. I also think they are not allowed to ask me to work in my PPA. I suspect that if I raise it they will point to the fact that I now have 'gained time' since my Year 11s have left, which is true, but I still think that by covering these lessons I will be allowing them to get away with bullying without any ramifications. I think it stinks. But what can I do? I am actually leaving at the end of term, thank god, but I would still like to raise this with someone and although I don't want to create a headache for my HoD I really don't want, on principle, to teach the classes of a colleague I consider to have been unfairly dismissed.

olivo Sat 31-May-14 20:26:26

Can you seek advice from your union? I too would feel uncomfortable in your situation.

HamAndPlaques Sat 31-May-14 21:48:27

What an unpleasant situation.

I'm afraid it sounds like there's very little that you can do, however. Gained time isn't protected so as long as the additional teaching doesn't encroach on your statutory 10% PPA then you have no recourse for complaint there - some schools begin their timetable for the new academic year in June with the result that virtually no-one gets gained time. If you have your exit planned already and you don't need to worry about protecting a reference then the best thing to do is log your concerns in writing to the headteacher, copying to your union rep. It won't do much in the short term but it may prove useful in the future if another colleague finds themselves in a similar situation.

BobPatandIgglePiggle Sat 31-May-14 21:51:20

Union

Philoslothy Sat 31-May-14 21:52:01

Have you agreed to achieve certain things within your gained time? If so either they need to accept that you will not be doing them or you cannot take these classes. I would be contacting my Union.

mineofuselessinformation Sat 31-May-14 21:55:56

If it's in your PPA, there's no reason why you shouldn't go to your union. It might give them a kick up the arse, and you're leaving anyway.

NCFTTB Sat 31-May-14 22:04:21

Sounds like my old school. Pleased for you that you are getting out of there soon! Agree - union.

PollyCazaletWannabe Sat 31-May-14 22:05:26

I thought gained time was protected actually!

Biscuitsneeded Sat 31-May-14 22:10:41

Thanks all. I have only just got my new job, however, and have not yet signed the contract, although have had to hand in my notice in order not to miss the deadline of 31 May - I can't afford to do anything to jeopardise my reference from current school. I may well have a chat with the union and see what they say, decide I have to teach those lessons anyway but ask for an exit interview in July and raise all of my issues then. Head is actually quite reasonable but possibly has not grasped what his SLT have cooked up between them. He hasn't even seen my colleague teach and is taking the word of one person who observed both lessons and deemed them unsatisfactory.
Whatever happened to integrity?

Finola1step Sun 01-Jun-14 12:30:26

I agree that you should tread v carefully at the moment. Make sure your reference and contract for new job is in place. Play the smiley game until then. In your last week, book an appointment with the Head and give him or her the full picture of exactly what is going on in the dept.

It may achieve nothing. But at least you will be able to leave with your head held high and your positive ref in tact.

TheLateMrsLizCromwell Sun 01-Jun-14 13:46:25

But if you no longer have to teach your Year 11s - it seems perfectly reasonable for the school to redeploy for those hours - they are paying you to work them. In other professions you would be expected to work the hours you are contracted to.

Biscuitsneeded Sun 01-Jun-14 15:20:15

Ah well, Mrs Cromwell, if I were only going to work the hours I am contracted to work then an awful lot of necessary things wouldn't happen! I willingly give up lots of hours for the school and the students in other circumstances (offered after-school coursework catch-up sessions pretty much constantly from January to April, didn't expect to be paid). It's not the two extra lessons I object to - it's the fact that I am being to forced to teach classes that are not mine in order to save the school's bacon, when it is entirely because of the bullying behaviour and subsequent inefficiency of the management that they find themselves without a teacher for those classes. By doing this I feel I am enabling them to carry on riding roughshod over people's lives and livelihoods while they promote their own empty and self-serving agenda. Latest 'genius' idea from them: I am being 'challenged' to teach my lessons without any pens or writing. The irony is that in any given lesson at least 35% of the kids will not have brought a pen anyway (so I fund a constant stream of Tesco biros out of my own pocket without complaint), and in many classes there is a functionally illiterate core for whom writing is impossible anyway, so this wonderful idea of theirs is hardly groundbreaking. They would know that if they did much teaching. In the meantime, how am I supposed to teach an academic subject to the more able children without recourse to the written word?? The lunatics have taken over the asylum with their silly gimmicks, targets and games, and children's education is being sacrificed. All of which is a digression, I know, but it makes me so furious that this sort of daft culture is allowed to prevail while a perfectly competent individual with strong subject knowledge and a firm grasp on behaviour loses her livelihood because she didn't follow the newly-invented marking policy (which will have changed again by next term anyway, you can bet).

Biscuitsneeded Sun 01-Jun-14 15:21:29

And Finola, I am sure you are right. Thank you.

Roseformeplease Sun 01-Jun-14 15:27:18

I think you could actually have some fun with your SMT's stupid challenge. Volcanos interpreted through the medium of dance. A short play about the life cycle of a rabbit with live action conception. Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" reimagined as a football game.....

I would just suck up the extra lessons and then visit the Head just before your final day.

Biscuitsneeded Sun 01-Jun-14 16:10:12

Perhaps I shall get them learning French verbs by lying on the floor making shapes for letters...

Roseformeplease Sun 01-Jun-14 17:16:14

Or study Moliere through the medium of ice sculpture.

Or use rhythmic gymnastics to teach the future tense...

partialderivative Sun 01-Jun-14 18:27:10

* I am being 'challenged' to teach my lessons without any pens or writing. The irony is that in any given lesson at least 35% of the kids will not have brought a pen anyway *

Seriously? I have been out of the UK state school scene for a number of years, but that scenario seems completely bonkers.

Maths is a language, how do you communicate without (at the very minimum) pen and paper

Biscuitsneeded Sun 01-Jun-14 19:47:35

They aren't actually intending that I never use pens or writing again, but they like to make life more complicated for us by organising us into cross-curricular teaching groups and making us observe each other trying out new teaching ideas. OK in principle, in actuality utterly awful, a massive waste of time and much loathed. So this is just the latest silly exercise/distraction/attempt to show Ofsted how on the money we are... I am meant to trial it over the next 8 weeks and report back in September. Thank God I will be long gone by then.

stardusty5 Sun 01-Jun-14 19:57:39

I sympathise with your principle, but J am another who doesn't see how gained time can be protected. Teachers of some options subjects only taught at KS4&5 lose half their classes at this time of year, whereas KS3 heavy subjects don't. It makes sense to redeploy staff whose classes have finished to take on cover. Though not in the way you have described.

EvilTwins Sun 01-Jun-14 22:51:26

It's shit, but you work in an academy (as do I) so the rule book went out of the window quite some time ago.

We have a similar situation at my school - one teacher going on maternity, one (same dept) jumping before the push happens. A bunch of people have been given extra lessons on their timetables to cover it before the end of term.

angry

Philoslothy Tue 03-Jun-14 00:14:44

Add message | Report | Message poster TheLateMrsLizCromwell Sun 01-Jun-14 13:46:25
But if you no longer have to teach your Year 11s - it seems perfectly reasonable for the school to redeploy for those hours - they are paying you to work them. In other professions you would be expected to work the hours you are contracted to.

This time is used by teachers to prepare for next year, essential time when huge curriculum changes are ahead.

noblegiraffe Tue 03-Jun-14 10:56:34

I don't have any gained time this year, I'd be well pissed off if my colleagues who have now barely any lessons to teach were allowed to do whatever they liked.

My department has a load of stuff that needs doing for next year, writing SOW, tests etc. These will be distributed among the department according to how much gained time they have, which seems perfectly reasonable. Me, I'll be given no extra tasks, but I'm busy teaching anyway.

PollyCazaletWannabe Tue 03-Jun-14 11:04:03

As far as I know, gained time can be used for tasks like the ones above (and rightly so) but you can't be asked to cover classes in that time.

HamAndPlaques Tue 03-Jun-14 11:17:23

Polly, theoretically there is a list of tasks which are considered appropriate for gained time and the union guidelines say that you shouldn't be given cover. However, the OP works in an academy and I guarantee that there is a clause in her contract indicating that she can be directed work at the reasonable request of the headteacher. The union won't be able to help. I suggested upthread that she contact them as it might help someone in the future if they have the same experience as the OP's colleague, but OP needs to be careful to protect her reference.

guggenheim Tue 03-Jun-14 17:16:46

Sorry to hear that you are going through this rubbish- I'm not surprised since this twaddle seems to the way it goes in academies. I wonder how some heads can sleep at night because I'm sure they didn't enter the profession with the intention to bully. then signed a pact with satan

I can't think what you should do about the time. I'm not sure that academies need to take any notice of unions.How about doing a massive poo on her desk just before you leave?

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