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Unusual job and first to get pregnant - help!

(6 Posts)
Pippaandpolly Wed 12-May-10 13:43:01

I am a Housemistress at an independent school, and am the first member of boarding staff to be married, let alone get pregnant. As part of my job I am required to live in a flat on site, just next to the boarding house. We don't have a house of our own as I've always worked in boarding so we've always lived in schools. I also teach part time within the school.

I broached the idea of what might happen to a member of boarding staff who got pregnant a little while ago as I was nervous about the situation, but the school basically didn't know because it's never happened before. The Deputy Head said that legally they would have to continue providing me with accommodation as it's a requirement of my job rather than a perk, but that it wouldn't necessarily be in my current flat. She also said 'Of course that would be very financially difficult for the school.' angry (That's not my problem! Might sound harsh, but management here are notorious for treating staff badly.)

I have several worries:

1. The timetables for next year will be done straight after half term (early June) when I will only be 8 weeks pregnant. I don't want to tell them before 12 weeks, but if I don't, they'll have to completely redo the timetables. I don't want to upset them!

2. They could well make me move while on maternity leave, and they will definitely make me feel terrible about the financial implications for the school. Also, when I say we live on site, we really do live here. I don't want to move house, complete with all our furniture, for a matter of months, while heavily pregnant.

3. My baby is due mid-January. It seems sensible to me to start maternity leave at the start of the January term (about the 5th) and then come back just before the end of the Summer term (end of June) so I can be paid properly over the Summer holiday. (Non teachers might find this a bit morally dubious but it's pretty standard practice blush). However, when I come back to work (which will effectively be September) am I crazy to think I can housemistress and teach? The former involves well over 80 hours per week, including till midnight 4 nights per week.

I don't think there are answers to these questions - I just want to get them down on paper so I can think clearly. Any thoughts, please let me know!

wonderingwondering Wed 12-May-10 13:48:11

Are you a member of a union? If you think you might have difficulties, now might be a good time to join. They'll then be able to advise you, and in the hopefully unlikely event of things turning really sour, they may provide you will legal support.

Do you have a partner? Does he live with you? The practicalities of childcare until midnight are pretty dependent on that. But your employers do have to make reasonable adjustments to parents of small children.

As to the financial consequences of maternity leave - yes, it is inconvenient to find maternity cover, but most maternity benefits are reimbursed by central gov't, I think.

Pippaandpolly Wed 12-May-10 15:51:37

I'm waiting for a call back from my union - hopefully they'll be able to tell me whether the school can ask me to move out legally! My other worry is that we have a one bedroom flat - and as I said, I don't have a choice about living here. Do you think it's reasonable for me to ask them to add a bedroom? (Logistically speaking it would be easy for them to do - but they do tend to take months and months to do anything to staff accommodation.) It's frustrating because if I didn't do this job then we'd be in so much more control of where we live!

Thanks for replying, it's nice to just have some logical and sensible talk about it before I get into a panic.

champagnesupernova Wed 12-May-10 15:56:35

Don't know but, we had a housemistress at my school who had a toddler in school accommodation so there is precedent somewhere (though whether it's recorded anywhere I dunno). This was about 1989 or something
She didn't teach - was just a housemistress but was a long day. In retrospect i have no idea what she did with her DD during the day - as we were in lessons but she had a high chair in the dining room for breakfast etc.

She was a single mother and a MISS in a catholic school shock grin

good luck with it all and CONGRAT on being pg

Pippaandpolly Wed 12-May-10 17:19:52

Wow, brave lady! My previous school was a big Catholic one and they were really keen on families living in the boarding houses, so whenever anyone got pregnant they were great at expanding accommodation and making it as easy as possible. Sadly, I don't think it'll be the same at my current school!

Sem1983 Fri 16-Jun-17 21:21:00

Hi, I know this was a long time ago but if you are still out there pippaandpolly, how did it all go? What provisions did the school make?

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