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Inadequate observation 27 weeks pregnant - help

(34 Posts)
Serendipper Sat 14-Oct-17 09:50:23

I had an observation (with deputy head) nearly 2 weeks ago which wasn’t graded (due to a lot of upset caused by first few gradings given out) I had feedback straight after the lesson which was very woolly and a lot of waffle. I told my hod that I didn’t really know where I stood or how to gauge the feedback. I have now been told that had it have been graded it would have been inadequate and I now have to have support over the next 6 weeks and another observation at the end of that. I am really concerned and feel this is vastly unfair for a number of reasons.

1. Can they leave me 2 weeks not knowing this?
2. I had a crisis of confidence last school year and asked for support with a particular class, I was observed regularly by a different deputy head but no feedback or support was given. I then had a formal obs at the end of the year by this deputy head and the head and was given a good and told it was close to excellent. So my confidence increased and I have been feeling quite good since.
3. I didn’t respond to an email asking which class I should be observed with (as I didn’t see the email) a terrible class was selected for me and I was very stressed and concerned. My hod asked for it to be changed for me and the deputy said no but the head overruled him. It was changed 2 working days before the obs.
4. I have since been told that there was a big issue between the head and deputy over this and I felt I was put in the middle. I apologised to the deputy about the issue and said I should have gone straight to him and should be better with emails in future as I was concerned about him grading me negatively.
5. Due to half term I will be almost 35 weeks pregnant at my next observation, I feel like that will be a really stressful time to do it and I won’t be at my best. However I don’t want this hanging over me through my mat leave.
6. I haven’t had an easy pregnancy (I spent Monday in hospital thinking my waters had gone) and my school had recently merged and is going through a generally stressful time. My gcse students have their exams in 3 weeks and in the week of my obs we marked mocks overnight to give quick feedback and had an open evening. I already feel like School is kicking me at every turn.

Does it sound like they are being fair? Do I have any grounds to argue this?

I won’t defend the lesson as I can agree with some of the points that have been made however I feel adequate would have been more appropriate but that’s my word against his. I feel that some small factors in the lesson have been extrapolated and are being given as general issues (such as a lack of presence, which I don’t believe I have an issue with but can see that I didn’t show that off as I could have in the lesson)

Sorry this is a huge post, I didn’t want to drip feed and it has helped me put my thoughts in order. I have a meeting about this Thursday with hod and both deputy heads. So really want to go into that armed with everything I need.


OP’s posts: |
IHeartKingThistle Sat 14-Oct-17 09:55:49

I feel for you but IME you'll find it hard to get anywhere with this. I got a Requires Improvement this week for reasons I feel were massively unfair. I can state my case but I doubt they'll even take it on board.

I'm not pg though! When are you going on maternity leave? Are you planning to come back to this school? I must admit I'd be tempted to be signed off early. You don't need that kind of stress.

Anasnake Sat 14-Oct-17 09:59:13

Get signed off, balls to them. One of my colleagues got inadequate for 'not moving around the class enough' when she was 35 weeks pregnant and had a back problem. You need to put yourself first.

Mistoffelees Sat 14-Oct-17 10:00:04

It was my understanding that individual lesson observations shouldn't be graded now but the focus should be on teaching over time instead, just as Ofsted do?

Serendipper Sat 14-Oct-17 10:01:49

I’m planning on going after xmas, so about 3 weeks after this all ends. I was planning to come back to this school ideally part time. I have been wavering about leaving teaching for good so I may just come back for the time needed to not have to repay maternity and then leave the profession.

The stress is something I’m really concerned about but I can’t work out what’s more stressful being off and leaving this hanging over me or staying and getting it sorted.

Hope yours works out for you.

OP’s posts: |
MagicFajita Sat 14-Oct-17 10:03:43

It wasn't officially graded though , you were told "had it been graded etc".

I'm not saying it's fair though , as the hoops teachers have to jump through are more often than not absolutely hideous.

Serendipper Sat 14-Oct-17 10:05:09

@Anasnake that’s definitely how I’m feeling right now, I’m just not sure if throwing the towel in will stress me out more.

@Mistoffelees I am in wales if that makes any difference? I thinks that’s partly my concern that one lesson was good and the next inadequate so let’s only count the bad one! Doesn’t seem fair!

OP’s posts: |
DellaPorter Sat 14-Oct-17 10:05:13

When are you planning to start your maternity leave? What was your progress like for 2016/7? Is school doing annual performance management right now?

(School finance director here/slt and responsible for hr)

DellaPorter Sat 14-Oct-17 10:06:08

Is it a maintained school or academy? Is there a pm or capability policy?

Serendipper Sat 14-Oct-17 10:12:21

@DellaPorter I was planning to leave at xmas, as I was hoping to have that holiday paid before mat leave.

Performance management hasn’t been done effectively for years as we have been merging and it wasn’t a priority. In the last term of 16/17 they did a baseline obs of every teacher and I got a good. That is the only time I have been formally observed but have had lots of informal obs and never been told I needed support. My hod doesn’t really get me, I have learnt that my life is easier when I don’t tell her if I’m struggling as she seemed to use my lack of confidence in my skills as a stick to hit me with but never did anything supportive. I don’t feel that she is the best person to fight my corner in this and may be making it worse.

OP’s posts: |
DellaPorter Sat 14-Oct-17 10:12:33

Certainly not in line with

Serendipper Sat 14-Oct-17 10:14:19

@DellaPorter it’s a maintained school in wales. It does have a policy but none are really fit for purpose as all the policies are cobbled together from the 2 old schools policies.

OP’s posts: |
DellaPorter Sat 14-Oct-17 10:18:02


Helbelle75 Sat 14-Oct-17 10:21:35

Don 't worry about it. Concentrate on your health and your baby's.
With my cynical head on, they may be looking at pay awards, and if you get less than a good, you don't meet the criteria, thus saving them money.
Otherwise, you're pregnant! My pregnancy was straight forward, but I had terrible anxiety duty a previous loss, and I wasn't firing on all cylinders either. I ended up going on mat leave at 35 weeks. I haven't regretted it for a second and now my daughter is here, I don't give a stuff about school.
Do what is best for you.

DellaPorter Sat 14-Oct-17 10:21:51

I believe in wales the gov policies are statutory. Doesn't look at all as if the school is abiding by them, or good practice even.

I don't think schools I have worked in would start even informal capability so close to a staff member going on maternity. Smacks of trying to drive you out.

Depending on how strong you feel, options open to you range from a letter from you seeking clarity about the stage you are at, requesting occupational health referral

Go to your union, don't engage further without their guidance and support

Get signed off sick, that will then trigger your maternity leave at a particular date prior to your due date

Don't voluntarily start maternity early

DellaPorter Sat 14-Oct-17 10:24:50

36 weeks, that's when maternity leave would kick in (assuming illness is pregnancy related)

DellaPorter Sat 14-Oct-17 10:27:08

Breached wales guidance on points 1 2 and 3

Support not given previously
Notice insufficient for recent observation
Outcome not reported to you in a timely fashion

DellaPorter Sat 14-Oct-17 10:29:50

Your points 1,2 and 3 I mean from opening post.

I agree with others who say once you are on maternity leave this won't matter to you. Don't let them steal your pregnancy from you. I know how much pressure school leaders are under these days, but they need to recognise the difficulties of teaching full time towards the end of pregnancy.

DellaPorter Sat 14-Oct-17 10:34:21

If my calcs are correct, you were planning on starting mat leave at about 37 weeks? It won't make much difference if you go sick and get out on mat leave at 36 weeks (don't accidentally volunteer to start your maternity leave now though!)

One approach would be a firm letter and ask to meet the head with union rep or a friend, include reference in your request to stress being caused to you in pregnancy and excessive workload, then if they don't respond fairly you don't feel guilty if you get signed off.

Serendipper Sat 14-Oct-17 10:35:09

Thank you all so much, I felt very strongly that this wasn’t fair but I just don’t have the relevant information to back up my gut feeling.
I have contacted my union and will put all of this forward to them and ask for someone to come to the meeting if possible.

I won’t be discussing it with anyone else in School until I have had guidance properly from the union.

I am so grateful and feel so relieved that this isn’t the proper way to do things. Especially thanks to @DellaPorter for the documentation it’s obvious they are not following procedure and the union have been involved a lot recently due to the massive errors they made while merging schools. I have a Midwife’s appointment Tuesday and a hosp app Wednesday so will be mentioning this and the stress it’s causing to have some guidance from them too.

Thanks again all

OP’s posts: |
DellaPorter Sat 14-Oct-17 10:50:47

Glad to have helped a bit. It's them not you, get some support around you and focus on your baby. Let us know how it turns out x

Serendipper Sat 14-Oct-17 14:58:44

@DellaPorter I’ve been further thinking about my situation and have another worry.

As I already feel that the judgement wasn’t a fair call on this observation, I don’t know that it would necessarily be fair in 6 weeks time (if the union don’t manage to help me sort this before that) would that put me on capability proceedings 3 weeks before maternity leave? Could they do that?
I’ve always been told that you should resign before any official capability is started to preserve your reference. I’m assuming this would have a huge impact on my maternity pay? I feel like I have to do everything possible to avoid that observation in 6 weeks as I can’t trust them not to try and pull this!

OP’s posts: |
DellaPorter Sat 14-Oct-17 15:31:53

Even if they had some vague plan, There's no way that Will happen given the slapdash way they have been going about it, and given you will have union support.

Please don't stress about that.

There's no way a teacher can go into formal capability until there has been a lot of informal support, and not on the basis of one observation, and not when someone is very pregnant.

Your union will tell them what's what.

Serendipper Sat 14-Oct-17 16:24:16

Thank you, I’ve worked myself up into having a panic attack when I thought about that earlier.

I won’t be going in the start of next week so I can gather myself and speak to the union properly and will update you after that.

I really appreciate all the guidance.

OP’s posts: |
Scooby23 Sat 14-Oct-17 21:15:43

I promise you teaching is so so not worth putting you or your baby under this much stress. You must put yourself first xxx

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