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To think tomorrow I am going to face a horrible choice

91 replies

badgersandbluebells · 18/06/2017 17:17

About whether to leave my job and thus have NO income.

Or to go on formal capability.

I feel sick.

OP posts:
Lanaa · 18/06/2017 19:05

even if the OP was the worst teacher in the world the school should not be doing this. She should be being supported not forced out of her job. @Calvinlookingforhobbs

OP I had friend in a similar position. The advice was to go sick with work related stress and have the union negotiate a compromise agreement with agreed reference. You'll get paid while sick and be given about three months salary at the end with a reference. Good luck

P1nkP0ppy · 18/06/2017 19:07

Golly, I really feel for you op, I was in a similar position two years ago (not a teacher but managing a charity). I couldn't call on anyone for support and it nearly finished me off - trustees can pretty much bully you out of your job because they're answerable to nobody)
I resigned and it was the best thing I'd done for years. Very much poorer but happier now.

yoyo1234 · 18/06/2017 19:07

Sorry Calvin not sure if you are a teacher , the impression I get from the news etc is that schools are struggling with ever diminishing budgets and experienced teachers co st more and some schools try to replace staff with less experienced staff. Can someone correct me if I am wrong.

SmileEachDay · 18/06/2017 19:07

True, Lana - but if the OP is not a good teacher, that affects the decision she is making.

Newlifeisstarting · 18/06/2017 19:10

Sadly these days capability is used for removing expensive experienced teachers and replacing them with cheaper less experienced teachers, schools are facing massive budget issues and this is one way to remove staff. Targets are set that no one could possibility achieve to make sure capability cannot be passed. There must be some who are removed this way for being incapable, but personally most I have seen have been for economic or political reasons.

leccybill · 18/06/2017 19:14

NewLife has it spot on.

SmileEachDay · 18/06/2017 19:16

New that absolutely does happen, but we have no way of knowing that's the OP's situation. I doubt it to be honest - IME schools doing this stick very, very carefully to the letter of the law - they manage it, but they don't want questioning too closely...

AtHomeDadGlos · 18/06/2017 19:18

Are you in your first year? If so you may be within a 12 month probationary period. You need to dig out your contract (or request a copy from the school office) and see what it says in black and white.

Then have a meeting with your union during work hours and discuss what your options are. Don't get fobbed off.

In no way are they allowed to say that Friday is your last day. That's under a week's notice. So that's a nonsense. This is work place bullying, you'll have a set notice period that applies to both you and the school so find out exactly what that is. They can't break that as they'd be in contractual breach and you could sue.

Failing all the above, and with your mortgage to consider, I'd accept the formal capability and have outlined clearly what your targets are. Then work diligently toward achieving them. If the school claim you've failed then challenge them and ask for an independent point of view. Under no circumstance attend a meeting about your capability without your union rep present. Not even a quick 'can I grab you for 5 mins?' chat as you're walking past the office door. Request all meetings are set up via your rep and with at least 24 hours notice to you.

At the very least this will delay the whole process enough to mean you're paid through the summer. Then you can resign and look for a new job. Supply as you're looking for full time employment.

It's rubbish that it's come to this, but take time to reflect on your teaching. Is capability fair? Have you had a series of poor lessons that have been observed or is it a case of them constructing something to get rid of you as their budgets contract? If this hasn't been signposted (and I'm talking over a prolong period such as a term, not a fortnight) then you may have a case for constructive dismissal and should get a lawyer from your union. It sounds like you may need to stamp your feet a little, rather than being so accepting of it.

Lelloteddy · 18/06/2017 19:24

Why do you think your union are not interested?
If you do resign this job, will you be able to apply for another post straight away?

Sunshinegirl82 · 18/06/2017 19:28

Employment solicitor here. How long have you been there op? If more than 2 years I would strongly suggest you get legal advice before resigning. Do you have legal expenses cover on your house insurance? They quite often cover employment disputes and have an advice line. If you have the cover I would call them ASAP.

The "resign or we'll start capability" conversation was that open or without prejudice? Did they say?

YorkshireTree · 18/06/2017 19:31

This is bullshit OP. Fucking SLT. Did you nit even get 'informal support'?

WifeofUthred · 18/06/2017 19:37

Your union should be negotiating a settlement agreement for you. Being off sick DOES pause the process, because they can't assess your capability if you aren't there.

This happens a lot to teachers now, when your face doesn't fit. I work for a union, don't give up.

Janeismymiddlename · 18/06/2017 19:39

You should have had a support plan before formal capability. Did that happen?

KatsutheClockworkOctopus · 18/06/2017 20:07

I work in an Academy and this all seems very harsh . We adhere to all of the usual requirements (informal support, then a plan before even considering formal capability. ). We also follow national notice periods which would at the least take you to 31st August.
Please keep on at your union and ensure they understand what is being proposed - also ask for a copy of your contract as I doubt any of this formed part of your ts and cs.

Mouikey · 18/06/2017 20:24

I work in local government and I understand that capability is a process to ensure that you are capable of undertaking your duties and if you need training to identify the areas. Hopefully your union rep would have explained that a capability will last x period of time (3 or 6 months) and an action plan would be identified for you to meet. If you do not then i believe there are further processes to see if a more suitable job is available or you are 'Let go'.

You need to check your capability process to understand in what instances it can be put into practice and what the procedure is.

I wouldn't get signed off or go sick because it can happen that the meetings will take place in your absence which would not be helpful.

Often a delaying tactic to a capability is to raise a grievance if you haven't had (and can prove) insufficient support or bullying etc. It won't stop the capability though.

You really need to push your union rep. They can advise you on the resignation situation.

Obviously this all depends on what they aren't arguing has happened - oh also make sure that they have followed the correct procedure and issued letters/had meeting within eh correct timeframe.

Good luck

LIZS · 18/06/2017 20:26

Presumably you wouldn't be able to claim jsa etc if you resign but might if capability didn't work out.

Newlifeisstarting · 18/06/2017 20:29

Smile, I have just typed out a long response - but knowing that the press pounce on these pages I cannot give too much away, so I deleted it!. I have seen, as a member of SLT and long time teacher, as a long standing union rep and in my own case, of how schools use this - Gove said it was to remove bad teachers quickly, but schools use this route for all sorts of reasons.

importanceofhappiness · 18/06/2017 20:41

Does 'formal capability' mean that you will be on some kind of probation? Or does it mean that you are being sacked immediately?

If the latter, resign. If the former, and you think you are able to improve your performance significantly, I would give that a go. They surely have given you reasons why your work is not acceptable so you should have some idea of what they want you to be improving on.

hellohellohellooooooooo · 18/06/2017 20:53

Just to say good luck OP with whatever you do. Don't let them screw you over. Like a PP said, phone your home insurance company and see if you have legal cover on it - I used this before. Lifesaver. Get professional advice, don't go it alone. I ended up with a serious pay out :) Fuckers!

WombatStewForTea · 18/06/2017 20:54

Oh badger this sounds awful. Some schools really are dicks. What I would say is don't resign. Make them start you on capability and see it through - it may at least get you through summer so you can find something else.
What area of the UK are you in and which union?

IonaNE · 18/06/2017 21:09

Former teacher here. I second what a pp said: on TES Workplace Dilemmas people will be able to give more specific advice.

Your union needs to get their act together. Contrary to what other posters suggested I would get myself signed off with work-related stress (this is important: so not with depresssion or just stress or something else), because it will not stop the capability but it will stop them from dismissing you. In the meantime the union should negotiate a Settlement Agreement (formerly Compromise Agreement) with an agreed reference. While you are off with WRS you can start looking for a new job.

LuluJakey1 · 18/06/2017 21:26

Thing is, references now ask if someone has been subject to 'a formal disciplinary procedure' so it sounds as if the school are using this as a threat- resign or this will start and appear on your reference.

I think your union should be able to negotiate a leaving date of 31st August. That would be fair to both sides as you are actually entitled to be paid until 31st December now.


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5OBalesofHay · 18/06/2017 21:40

I dont get why this is happening if you're a good teacher. I thought we were short of good teachers. Do you need to improve? If not then fight the fuckers. If you do then take it on board.

NoHopeToday · 18/06/2017 22:20

I dont get why this is happening if you're a good teacher. I thought we were short of good teachers. Do you need to improve? If not then fight the fuckers. If you do then take it on board.

I would bet everything on the fact that the OP is a more expensive teacher. Yes they need good teachers, but they need to save money more.

And you see the school system implode...

Harvestmoonsobig · 18/06/2017 22:45

I went through this. Went on work related stress because the targets I'd been given were impossible to achieve and I was vulnerable to work place bullying as result of being identified as the failing teacher. I had a massive anxiety attack because I just couldn't maintain the pace to achieve the targets. I had only been in post 12 weeks having arrived with an outstanding record of observations and work mentioned specifically in an Ofsted report. Interesting that within weeks I had been assessed as 'failing'. I also UPS3.

Poorer and so much happier. Doing supply. Schools are bonkers at the moment. Nothing is good enough for teachers or pupils.

I read today in the Observer, Hillary Mantell said 'History is not science. It's humanity.'. I'd say this about teaching. All science bullshit of learning objectives, assessment criteria, 'even better if ...' is not science NOR is it humanity.

Phew! Pleased to get that off my chest.

Bear up OP. This too will pass.

Get in touch with your mortgage company to negotiate a 'mortgage holiday' while manage this really difficult time. Think of it as a redundancy.

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