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to ask doctor to extend sick leave? Or should I just go on maternity?

(6 Posts)
snorkmaiden2 Wed 22-May-13 13:28:44

First time poster. Not sure if this is the right place or not. Will try to keep it short.

Basically I am a teacher in a very tough secondary school. By tough I mean the behaviour of the students is absolutely appalling. At the start of the school year the head teacher was removed without warning (from staff point of view anyway) and a few other senior members of staff have gone without warning too since then. Since September we have been on high alert for Ofsted and most are fully expecting that we will go into special measures. The new head and senior staff seem to have managed to make the kids' behaviour even worse (who knew this was even possible). As a staff we are constantly told off by the head and made to feel like we're completely crap.

On top of that I had a miscarriage on July 1st last year. It wasn't my only mc but it was completely devastating and unlike anything I have ever experienced before and it has changed the way I look at things completely. Whereas before I had this naive idea that most things usually turned out okay in the end I now know that awful things can and do happen to really nice people. I had absolutely no warning that there was anything wrong with the pregnancy and it really seemed as though the baby just fell out. I had no idea at all that a person could bleed that much and it left me deeply traumatised.

I am now 27 weeks pg with my 3rd baby. The pregnancy itself is fine physically but since losing the baby last summer I have had a lot of issues with anxiety and depression and took a lot of time off work at the start of the academic year. During the last week before we broke up for Easter senior management suddenly gave us a really significant amount of work to do over the Easter break. I got it done but it menat I had no time to rest over the hols. When we got back they'd changed our timetables, the lengths of our breaks (shortened) and the lengths of our duties (lengthened) all without consultation or even informing us. The behaviour of the kids continues to deteroriate. It is common for staff to be assaulted - usually by having things thrown at our faces/heads, not full on mugging or anything like that!

On the last day I worked a colleague who was walking by suddenly rushed in to my classroom because she thought I was about to be knocked over by kids who were fighting. When I left work that day it was as though something inside me had snapped and all fight I had was just gone. I was in physical pain and was so churned up that I was unable to even eat that evening.

I went to the doctors who signed me off with work related stress until half term.

This is the point now (sorry it's taken so log to get here!):

After half term I will be eligible to take my maternity leave which my midwife has suggested I do. The thing is though that I will only get the basic minimum as I am on a temporary contract that expires at the end of August. My baby is not due until the middle of the 6 weeks holiday and if I were still working at the end of the term I would effectively get an extra 4 weeks at full pay. Term ends the day before I'm 36 weeks so I could in theory get signed off until the end of term then not have to take my mat leave until due date. Thing is though, there isn't actually anything medically wrong other than feeling completely stressed out an anxious at the thought of returning to that place. The extra few weeks pay I would get would be so useful as my husband doesn't earn a great deal but neither would not getting us send us under.

On the one hand I think that the new head and his minions have shown us absolutely no consideration but on the other hand... well I just have no idea what to do.

Any thoughts or opinions welcome. Thank you

flowery Wed 22-May-13 13:32:09

If you are on a temporary contract do you get enough sick pay to cover the rest of the term?

Assuming you do, and assuming your doctor thinks you are not fit for work, I would continue on sick leave rather than maternity leave.

Hawkmoth Wed 22-May-13 13:32:22

Keep getting signed off until 36 weeks until it automatically triggers. With that much stress you wouldn't be working if you weren't pg would you?

The school has a duty of care to you, and need to risk assess you based on your stress levels and your pregnancy. If they can't keep you safe why should you lose money and/or time off with your baby?

Eskarina Wed 22-May-13 13:34:52

Try to take the pregnancy aspect out of it. If you weren't pregnant you would still be under an incredible amount of stress and possibly still not fit to work. If a doctor is happy to sign you off on those grounds then I think you should have no reason not to accept.

Sorry you have had such a rough time of it. I hope the rest of your pregnancy goes smoothly.

snorkmaiden2 Wed 22-May-13 13:36:57

Thank you. I wasn't even sure I'd made myself clear in that epic post. This pregnancy has been completely unlike my others in that I feel such a massive responsibility to get this baby to full term. Last time I just assummed it would happen. I'm just sick of feeling vulnerable in my place of work. The kids are completely feral

jacks365 Wed 22-May-13 13:45:34

You are past the point now where sick pay will affect what you get for maternity pay so I would continue on for sick leave for as long as possible.

We've had similar issues with my daughters school and finally the head has been removed. Its been nearly 3 years of hell with parents and staff making complaints. So many good teachers have left that its going to take the school years to recover. You have my deepest sympathy because I know just how bad bad is.

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