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Senior Partner
Senior Partner, Solicitor
Category: Law
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Experience:  Solicitor with more than 30 years experience
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I teach psychology and sociology A level at a comprehensive

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I teach psychology and sociology A level at a comprehensive school in Yorkshire.


2 years ago I was offered an opportunity to run a pilot project of an SEBD unit for 6 months  at no risk to my future in the school this was given to me verbally by the head who has now retired.  Although I never had a letter confirming this because I trusted the head teacher. Which would take 50% of my time   The project was badly planned, without full time to prepare and I was advised by a specialist consultant that there were too few staff.  There were issues with some of the staff which I expressed concern about and no one listened.  I didn’t have a job description and worked without support.  In February on one day I advised the head to semi close the project on the basis of an informal risk assessment.  He refused and there was an unsafe incident. I have contemporaneous notes.  The project failed and I was blamed. All the other staff were taken back into their substantive posts. Mine was cut in half because the school decided not to run sociology since they had had only 3 applications from students because I had not been able to promote it while I was I involved in the project work.


I was given job to manage interventions with students including Pastoral Support Programmes but was told very clearly that this half of my job would last a year until a member of  staff came back from maternity leave. I had no choice but to accept.  I have done my job well and inspections of my teaching have put me near the best in the school and consistently in the top 1/3 of teachers


In December I was told that I would not be allowed to promote sociology because the school had decided not to run it. As a subject When I asked why I was told that the numbers were too low. I offered to find 10 students who would take sociology and if I did could I run it. The answer came back that it is not suitable for our students.  We measure A level success by residuals mine were the second best in the school.  I challenged the decisions and said if they were reviewing A levels then they should review: Law IT Human Biology Physics Sport and Business Studies all of which have had dodgy results for the last few years.  No one has replied to this email. The deputy who made the decision not to run the subject had a daughter in school a few years ago  who was extremely lazy. She studied sociology and got an E grade.  He said to me that “sociology was not suitable” for our students yet last year 2 of my students got their highest grades in that subject and a third student went to Cambridge with a B in sociology to accompany his A in English.


Just over a month ago I found that one of the substantive tasks of my post on the written list given to me by the head of tasks he wanted me to perform,  is being given to someone else.


We then had a staff meeting where it was discussed that 2 teachers will be made redundant.


A teacher has just left who teaches media studies and they have advertised her post


I am the most vulnerable teacher, but they decided that in December before the consultation period began in January. 


Should I rely on my Union to defend me given that they have to represent the interests of all their members equally or do I have a case for constructive dismissal and should I scare them before the decision is published? If I am made redundant can I claim that they put me at greater risk of redundancy becuse of their treatment of me following the project was different to the other staff weho had been seconded.

Thanks for you question. It sounds as if you have had a difficult time but I am afraid I do not think you have grounds to claim constructive dismissal. To claim constructive dismissal based upon overall treatment rather than single specific incidents - such as an assault or nonpayment - is quite difficult. Also to claim constructive dismissal you have to walk out - so you have no job only a claim. Thirdly you have to date accepted the position you have been put in and do not appear to have raised any formal grievances about your treatment so from a tribunal perspective you have not given your employer an opportunity to deal with your issues.

So far as redundancy is concerned if they are reducing headcount then they have to go through a proper and fair selection process and if the fail to do that then you could have a claim for unfair dismissal.
I would certainly take advice and help from the union but you cannot rely on them to fight your corner if it comes to a fight as to who retains a job. They cannot prefer one member over another.

I think the best you an do it make the points about your treatment politely but clearly so you put a marker down that you will not go easily. However selection is supposed to be based on objective criteria whihc should be made available to you if there is consultation
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Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I accept your answer and understand it. If i am made redundant however do i have any case for unequal treatment given that the origins of my current position lay in the fact that my secondment to a project resulted in me being vulnerable ?


Given that the school claimed it was no longer running one of my subjects based on its "lack of suitability for students " and my subject is the only one being treated this way despite objective evidence that this is not the case and this decision was taken in December prior to the school's budget and redundancies being anounced, but projected figures of students would have told them that redundancies were necessary.


I was also told by the head that my current project in school would last only a year despite having a permanent contract. This altered my contractual position within the school and made me more vulnerable than anyone else. There was no alternative offered.


If I have a case, what form of words should I use and how can I get affordable legal help given that my husband is unemployed and we only have £500 left in our savings account

If you are selected for redundancy you would have to show this was unfair. It might be relevant the way you have been treated but to be honest it would be difficult if the selection process is fair and transparent. The problem as you may understand is that the selection has to be based upon the measurement against objective criteria and the fact that it may be the employers fault if you are the least suitable does not mean you have a claim.

You can bring an unfair dismissal claim your self the employment tribunals are geared to deal with unrepresented claimants. A lot depends upon the package you are offered if any.
Customer: replied 5 years ago.
Thank you
No problem I hope you get a satisfactory resolution
Customer: replied 5 years ago.

I'm really sorry, I don't understand. when I read the T & C it said i could ask a supplementary question to my original question. That is what t I thought the service was offering me. I didn't agree to pay another £33, no where did it warn me I would be charged again for the additional advice since it was orignially requested but not answered in my first question.


I thought that if I was posing another question it would ask me to agree to the fee beforehand and I would have declined because I don't have spare cash.

You are correct . If you have been charged twice . The experts are independent so you need to refer to customer services. I am not able to deal with this.