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Part Time Request After Maternity

(19 Posts)
ValancyJane Sat 16-May-15 09:48:48

Would be really interested in other people's experiences. I'm in the veeeery early days of being pregnant (just 4 weeks!) so obviously there's a long way to go yet, but if all goes well (fingers crossed and touching wood) I'll be due in the middle of January so won't be going back after the Christmas Holidays, and will start leave officially on the first week back in January.

I'm a secondary school teacher in a large department with a small TLR. The school I work in is quite stressful, and a lot of people are leaving this year as SLT have managed them out. I'm one of the ones they want to stay, and they have largely been alright with me (so far). I plan to informally let my Head of Department know when I go back after June half term and will be around 7 weeks (assuming all's still well) and to formally let my school know towards the middle of July when I have my 12 week scan.

Anyway - it's early days but I already know I will want to work part-time after maternity leave, ideally 3 days a week so 0.6. I would be willing (though I'd rather not) to give up my small TLR. However, I've heard on the grapevine that the headteacher does not want part-time teachers, and did hear that one teacher who came back this year after maternity was denied part-time - I don't know if that is true, but I pulled up her timetable on SIMS and she has come back full-time. I don't know her that well, but when things are a bit further along I do plan on asking her about it myself - she's nice and I'm sure she won't mind.

We do have other part-time teachers in the school (but those part-time contracts were granted by a previous head), and we are a large department that already has split groups - so in theory shouldn't cause any major timetabling issues.

I guess my question is: has anyone else been in a similar position, and if you were told no when you made your request, did anyone successfully manage to appeal a decision with the union's backing? I am quite worried about being told I will have to go back full time or resign.

Thanks for any advice smile

ValancyJane Sat 16-May-15 09:57:55

Also - earlier this year I had a week off with stress, and was referred to occupational health as a result. One of the things they wrote in their report was that at some point in the future I might look into dropping responsibilities and working part-time. Would that give me any additional leverage?

WombatStewForTea Sat 16-May-15 10:02:03

I'm primary so slightly different but a colleague had her part time request turned down after her first baby (there were other factors including that she'd been off sick for nearly 2 years before getting pregnant so I'm not wholly confident that it wasn't done to push her out) but anyway she came back full time and got pregnant again a few years layer (and went off sick almost immediately with pregnancy related illness) but when she came back the second time head granted part time. Said that she couldn't turn her down twice. As it was she did two years part time and then left to become a TA.

Lots of heads (rightly or wrongly) don't like having part time teachers. And I don't think they have to give you part time hours although I might be wrong!

PotteringAlong Sat 16-May-15 10:04:36

I was head of faculty in a secondary school - I went back full time after my first maternity leave but am
Going back 0.6 after this one. I was told I could not keep my tlr though.

noblegiraffe Sat 16-May-15 10:15:26

They have to give a business reason as to why they have rejected your application which would be quite difficult if there are already part timers in the school. They can't just say no. You need to anticipate what those reasons might be and address them in your letter of application. The TES forums have a template letter and people on there who are experts at this sort of thing so it would be worth trawling through the threads over there as I found it very useful when making my application.

ValancyJane Sat 16-May-15 10:22:48

Thanks so much for that advice. Wombat That's the thing, I know they could use it to 'push me out' if they really wanted, but interesting that they couldn't say no a second time around.

Giraffe Thanks - do you think it would make a difference if those part-timers have not been granted by the new headteacher? Or could I just argue that those teachers being part-time has clearly been accommodated within the timetable successfully? I will definitely mooch over to the TES at some point as the forums there are usually quite helpful. Am also switching unions to NUT as we have a rep in school - and I rather feel I might need her on this one.

Thanks ladies, I know it's stupidly early but I'm just trying to get as much information as I can right now.

Mostlyjustaluker Sat 16-May-15 11:27:40

Legally they have to consider your application. They could give any reasons for rejecting it, eg timetabling or inability for complete tlr role as part time. In you were to apply you would have to prove that their reasons can be solved.

Runnaway Sat 16-May-15 11:31:32

They need solid reasons not to refuse part time. The head must put request to governors too. Also, in case you did not realise you could end your mat leave on the last day of the school term and come back to work, get full summer pay then start your PT contract in September, unless you wanted to have longer time off work.

Runnaway Sat 16-May-15 11:32:25

I meant they need solid reasons to refuse part time! Sorry!

ShowMeTheWonder Sat 16-May-15 11:39:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

PotteringAlong Sat 16-May-15 14:49:07

I have 0.6 over 3 full days and my head was very accommodating - the perfect storm of falling rolls and trying to keep experienced staff whilst balancing the books. However, I also know someone who was given 0.6 over 5 days and, when she objected, was told there was no wiggle room, that she had applied for 0.6 and her request was granted so she could do it or leave.

thisismypassword Sat 16-May-15 16:17:15

I got 2 days a week but I'm only on m3 with no tlr.

SweepTheHalls Sat 16-May-15 16:21:51

I have remained on leadership scale with my 0.6, I think it very much depends on the head and how much they value keeping their experienced staff.

ValancyJane Sun 17-May-15 10:59:46

Hmm definitely a mixed bag there - thanks so much ladies for your responses, I definitely feel a bit more informed now. I wish I worked at one of my previous schools (relocated 200 miles away so not possible!) as they wouldn't have dreamed of not accommodating a reasonable flexible work request. Hey ho... Thanks for the information smile

noblegiraffe Sun 17-May-15 11:08:46

It's possible that they'll agree your request but only on the basis that you work all 5 days (as I have to on 0.6). Or they might give you days off, but not allow you to teach exam classes, as I read was happening on another thread. Part timers aren't allowed TLRs in my school. You need to think about exactly what you'll accept, not all part time contracts are equal.

maskingtherealme Wed 27-May-15 08:08:45

Go on the TES forum and search for 'Theo'. She/he has tons of advice about applying for part time. My HT doesn't seem to favour part timers but we have a precedent in our school for it and I wrote a letter using THeo's advice and was accepted straight away. A HT can only say no if they have legitimate reasons. Consult your Union for advice if needed. NASUWT have been fabulous with me and vowed to fight my case if the need arose. Good luck!

mrsnewfie Wed 27-May-15 17:38:28

My request was initially turned down after my first maternity leave. Our head at the time said it would be detrimental to the school. That was very quickly over turned when the only other Chemistry teacher resigned. I told them I would only return on 3 full days or not at all. I was very lucky with the circumstances.

After my second maternity leave, they allowed me to drop to two full days but I had to compromise and teach out of my subject area.

Fast forward a few years. I was offered part time at my last school and have now managed to negotiate a 0.8 timetable over 5 days so that I can pick up my children from school every day.

I think it depends on what subject you are teaching and whether it is worth their while to keep you.

Whattonamemyselfnow Fri 29-May-15 10:46:13

I asked for similar, just before my first mat leave. They said yes but would only guarantee it for the next academic year. Then I came back pregnant so was off again after a few months. Now I've jut gone back after baby number 2 and they seem to have forgotten about the only one academic year so I'm back 3 days.

Good luck.
No harm in asking. Worst case they say no. I think you can appeal??

Maycausesideeffects Fri 29-May-15 11:04:02

Timetablng is an issue at secondary. We have some part time staff but can not guarantee that the 0.6 will not be spread across the weeks or even if you have the same days year after year. One of our DT teachers is not happy at being given Monday, Tuesday and Friday but not a lot we can do about that. Our head, quite rightly, is anti-split classes.

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