Dealing with staff

Keeping records…In any dealings with staff where there is the potential for the issue to take a negative turn – e.g. having to take action against staff for persistent failure to follow instructions – it is extremely important to keep a record of instances where such behaviour has occurred.  In addition to being more reliable than looking back and trying to remember the date and details, taking notes at the time can help to highlight emerging problems to you.

You should be careful about what you say in any such notes as they may be recoverable under the Freedom of Information Act and the Data Protection Act. They should be factual and accurate. Avoid expressing any form of opinion or making any disparaging statements. Always remember that they may be referred to in a subsequent hearing so be prepared to support what you have written.

Get a witness…when you know you are going to have a difficult meeting with a member of staff, e.g. when raising issues about behaviour or competence, make sure you have someone else in the room to act as a witness to the meeting should you need it at a later date (and invite the staff member to do the same).  This may be catered for in your local disciplinary process policy – always follow these policies to the letter.

Dealing with parents

This is much the same as when dealing with staff.  Take notes of confrontations with parents and if you know you will be having a difficult meeting make sure you have someone else in the room with you who will be able to verify your version of events.

Seeking help

If you feel that you are struggling with any issue in school or that your health is failing due to the pressures of your job you should not rely on raising this with your manager verbally.  If seeking help or support from your local authority you should put it in writing, particularly if a situation is affecting your health.  The fact that it is in writing makes it hard for the local authority to ignore and means you will have evidence that the authority has failed to properly discharge its duty of care towards you…if it comes to that.

If in doubt about any of this please contact your local representatives or Area Officer in the first instance.