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Returning to work after maternity a few questions and a long back story(8 Posts)
I'm in need of some advice and people's past experiences, but I am quite worried about posting as I have a suspicion my head might be a mumsnetter. However, I feel I need to give detail for the best help.
I am a reception teacher and joined my school as a NQT I started off so passionate and knowledgable about EYFS but the school has completely knocked my confidence and continually challenged my practice, imposed a more formal environment and stifled my ideas in exchange for a really formulaic and bland curriculum. I stayed on naively thinking things would improve with QTS and a new partner teacher. My head was really positive about me at the end of the year. She said all the right things and I did always plan on staying two years before moving. Anyway, new year and it was exactly the same if not worse. I felt like I was always the odd one out because I had a family and did not want to start at 7 and leave at 7 like the rest. There is a crazy work load with lots of pressure.
I went on maternity leave half way through the year and a new teacher took over my class. I will be meeting with my head to discuss returning back in January, the week before so I get paid over Christmas. I would like to go part time (3days) I have multiple worries: they will say no to going part time, they won't have a position for me, they will offer me a role teaching upper primary which I really don't want, they will be funny about me returning the week before the holidays. I see myself as an inconvenience for the school so I don't think they will be very welcoming to me returning and may be looking to push me out.
The worst bit is that the school has really beaten me down and I don't think any school would want me particularly as I want to be in EYFS. Any advice? I haven't seen many teachers return after maternity so really don't know how it all works. TIA.
DH tells me that if you are off on mat leave for less than 9 months they have to give you your old job back. If you are off for longer then they have to offer you an equivalent one, so could be in another year group. All the rules are on the .gov.uk website.
If you put in a flexible working request ie 3 days a week, it has to be in writing and you have to say how it would work, then the employer responds to say whether they can meet your request or not. The most important thing for you to do is be absolutely sure of the legal position, what you need to do and what your rights are before you go and see your Head. They can't do anything about you wanting to return the week before the holidays - everyone does that. I suggest you speak to your union too - they will be able to point you in the direction of advice and guidance.
If they want to get rid of you then refusing your flexible working request is probably the easiest way to make you resign. I agree that getting a full understanding of your right should and how they have to consider a flexible working request is important.
There are lots of different schools and also playgroups and nurseries that will be looking for experienced EYFS practitioners. I guess supply and demand will vary by area, but you might want to keep a lookout for other roles or fixed term contracts as it sounds like you might be better off moving on. You need to check the terms of your enhanced maternity pay as you may need to stay with the same employer (LA or academy trust) in order not to have to pay it back.
I don't think any school would want me - The school is making you think this. I would go back in January as you are hoping to do, but then get looking for other jobs. If the school is in any way obstructive about how/when you want to return to work, then get your union involved.
The school is grinding down your self-confidence and it will only get worse. I worked in a school like this (in secondary) and the Head there had even managed to convince a (very good) female physics teacher that she was useless and would never get a job anywhere else! Utterly ridiculous but she completely believed it.
It's like being in an emotionally abusive relationship and the only cure for it is to get out.
Thank you for your wisdom. Interesting about the 9month thing, I thought there would be no way they would give me my class back but if they have to...
I would feel awful taking it back though seems unfair to both the new teacher and the children seeing as though they are all new to the school.
Do you think there is a way of improving self confidence while I am out on maternity? I know that's a bit of a deep question, but was thinking about it on a more practical teaching level.
I wonder to what extent they have to give you your class back, given that it's not the same class of children and teachers do move round year groups. But obviously EYFS isn't the same as other year groups. This is where your union's advice is invaluable as this question must have come up many times before.
Digging a bit further, in my contract my position is simply class teacher so they just have to place me somewhere within the school. This is what the union says.
If you dislike it that much, I'd start applying for jobs now, because any issues will be magnified following maternity leave. I liked my teaching job and my school were pretty good, but I still found the first year back really tough (they did give me the .8 I asked for, but I had to do the same amount of work in less time, then when I wanted to go back to full time after a year, wouldn't let me!)
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