urgent advice needed- friend in dangerously failing PRU(7 Posts)
Just had a really worrying phone call close friend who walked out of work yesterday at her PRU. Long alarming story short- she is a very experienced teacher with excellent behaviour management. Started working in the PRU a few years go when it was well run and the job was always tricky but also positive . A series of rapid and unplanned SMT changes in the last 6 months and the behaviour has deteriorated to a point it is not safe. There is no longer a behaviour policy (sanctions or rewards), there is no forum to discuss concerns, the class sizes have gone up, and the (very challenging) pupils have completely stopped doing anything they are told. There is a long and lurid list of awful situations, but in short she reached her limit yesterday when a boy tried to trip her up 3 times and finally managed it, she fell into the door, was hurt and had a breakdown in the loos. This is an example of the sort of behaviour that has been normalised for her over the last 6 months. I had no idea how bad things had got or how badly she had been affected. She called because she is in a dilemma. She doesn't personally feel safe at work but she is also worried there will be an incident and one of the kids or a staff member will get hurt as things are now so out of control. She feels that she should whistle blow, but doesn't know who to and is also very upset at the thought of being the person who might then be responsible for the closure of the unit, and people she likes losing her job. She is also going through the standard teacher guilt of - but I need to mark the ISAs and what about those kids who will fail if I'm not there (she is the only member of staff teaching her core subject). I don't really know enough to advise her properly other than to reassure her that she is right and the situation isn't safe and that she needs to not go back in. I suggested calling Ofsted, but again at the moment she just feels guilt, but also I think would be relieved if someone else did. She is going to contact her union but I wondered if there was any other practical things she could be doing? She is going to the doctor today because she is in a such state at the moment- having previously been the least likely person to go off with stress. The Head has been supportive in that they are not asking for her to come back in today, but has also made it all about her not coping, rather than the situation being completely untenable because of the SMT implosion. I told her I would ask for her on here and would really appreciate any advice.
There are details on this link of who your friend can go to.
As a designated safeguarding lead and non teaching deputy head, I'd advise your friend to contact the LADO - Local Authority Designated Officer. They're on the safeguarding team and they are concerned with any matter that may harm a child by a professional, for example teachers. It sounds as though the school is unsafe for any children to be in at the moment, and I would expect the LADO to want to know and subsequently act immediatley.
💐 for your friend.
Thank you too nick, I'm just passing it all on. If she wants me too I'll report for her. I think as she starts to explain the situation to people and hears their shock she will feel more confident that she can be the person to trigger change. The current Head was an internal promotion and a close friend of hers so this has all been complicated by that relationship. I've been pointing out that the Head is not acting as a friend by refusing to concede anything is going awry. Whenever she has tried to engage with the Head on the discipline issue she gets 'are you feeling ok, is everything ok at home?' Implying that the situation is not the problem, that she is. I spent half the phone call going - oh my god of course that's not safe etc. She's very tired and fraught and has been in a slow boil situation for months as things have got worse. I'm cross for her and the kids - she loved the job when she started and was very good at it.
Your friend should also contact their union for advice.
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