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Returning to work after sick leave

(4 Posts)
junkfoodaddict Tue 11-Nov-14 15:15:14

Currently I am on sick leave due to stress but I want to return to work asap.

My GP won't sign me as fit to work if work issues have not ben resolved (fortnightly observations, weekly scrutinies, learning walks, constant, unreasonable demands that are the work of a controlling head teacher - too much to go into detail about). Union are involved and I am not the only one having issues, just the only one who decided to take some time out to reflect and recover from the stress! At the moment, I don't think these issues have been resolved so in some respect cannot see how I can possibly return.

My confidence is at an all time low. The head hasn't been in touch and she didn't respond to my request to meet with her before my next GP appointment so I can make an 'informed' decision about whether I am ready to return to work. I don't know what else I can do to get back to a job I actually love. I have periods of feeling low, worthless, stupid and often look upon teaching as a torturous career but deep down, after 14 years teaching experience, I still want to teach.

So do I ask the head teacher to meet again to discuss my return? (Will admit to being VERY scared to do so!)
Is it her responsibility to get in touch with me?
Will I be expected to teach my class of 6&7 year olds from the onset of my return or will I be phased back into the classroom?

Will be grateful of anyone sharing their experiences or expertise in this matter!

Clonakiltylil Tue 11-Nov-14 18:19:06

Your Head teacher should not contact you because this would be harassing someone who is ill. Whether or not you are ready to return to work is not her decision; you and your GP must discuss this together and yes, you can have a phased return or be placed on 'light duties only,' whatever that means. If you are not ready, you are not ready. You might have a 'return to work' meeting once you are back in the classroom, but not before, in case this is construed as the Head putting pressure on you to return or influencing your decision.

My advice would be to discuss it with the GP, don't check school email and keep contact with them to a minimum so you can recover. Illness happens.

Maidupmum Tue 11-Nov-14 19:26:18

I respectfully disagree with Clon. I'm a HT & have been on a 'Managing stress in the workplace' course today. The HT should have been in regular contact with you to check how you are - offering to meet you off-site on mutual territory if you need to & to have someone else there with you if you wish. They should also have sent you to Occupational Health for a full assessment of where you are at & started a 'stress risk assessment' for your return to work.
OH can suggest a phased return to work but if your school can't afford it/doesn't want to do it then they don't have to However, your stress risk assessment should state how much support their going to offer you & what they're going to do to TEMPORARILY lighten your load.
However, don't expect that lightening to be long term. Unfortunately, they are entitled to observe you fortnightly & conduct regular work scrutinies & it is possible that if this continues they will look to phase you out.

I HATE to be the bearer of bad news & wish your HT was more reasonable but I wanted you to have the most up to date info about stress at work

PM me if you need to

junkfoodaddict Wed 12-Nov-14 09:23:04

Thank you for the replies.

I have been advised to remain on sick leave as working conditions have worsened and this would have a detrimental and damaging effect on my temporary condition Which I cannot disclose as it would reveal my idenity.

The union are involved for a whole host of reasons but mainly the unreasonable workload she has put upon us since September: observations fortnightly or monthly depending on lesson grades, book scrutinies every week (which she has increased), unreasonable requests and demands - can't go into them as it would reveal my idenity but even Union and my GP were shocked and dismayed. Judgements 'judged' to be unfair, unjust, silly and ridiculous. Again, I can't say because they are such minuscule reasons they would identify me! She also has a statutory obligation to ensure we maintain a work/life balance which she is clearly not fulfilling.

She has also been quite hurtful and compared colleagues in feedback sessions in an aggressive and negative manner. Her whole behaviour and attitude has changed for the worse all because OFSTED are expected 'imminently'.

It was agreed at the meeting that further action would be taken and whilst this happens, it is best I continue with my sick leave.

Unfortunately maidupmum capabilities is her big agenda! We have evidence to suggest that she has every intention to replace experienced staff with her 'own staff' (her words) who are younger and cheaper. She did get rid of an older, experienced teacher with years of 'good teaching' behind her in the summer (although very badly because the teacher sacked had evidence about wrongdoing on the head's part and she has received compensation). The teacher concerned was also on UPS3 and the head teacher made it clear months ago that she wanted to move teachers down the pay spine but couldn't and we needed to 'assess our own capabilities'. i have been warned that even though I have been a 'compliant' member of staff who she has always graded as 'good' or 'outstanding', because I 'rebelled' against her plans and went on sick leave due to work related stress, she will see this as an opportunity to put me through capabilities. This won't be good in my current condition and would have a damaging and detrimental effect, like I said earlier, on my health and also on my family. It is only temporary hence why I am being advised to stay away.

Sadly she wouldn't see a course in 'managing stress in the work place' as being worthwhile. But my DH's cousin is a deputy head teacher and she went on the same course. She and her head put staff well-being as being a priority and are working with staff to reduce the workload, mainly the amount of marking that is being done. My head teacher is blinkered! Although oddly enough the deputy head teacher has taken over a class due to the teacher's ill health and has insisted she is not doing 'all that marking at her age' which made us laugh! She is getting a taste of what she and the head are expecting of us! So with a bit of luck, things might change!

I am a good teacher. I have years of evidence that says so. But in the past year, I have seen how easy it is to screw with lesson judgements in order to rid a school of staff who are disliked. In all honesty, my plans this year have screwed up the head teacher's plans but she KNEW exactly what my intentions were and since the announcement of my plans, she has went out of her way to make life difficult for me. Hence why my GP, union and other health professionals think I am being bullied due to a temporary condition I am experiencing.

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