Reasonable adjustment issues — Scope | Disability forum
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Reasonable adjustment issues

jjones Member Posts: 2 Listener
edited August 2018 in Work and employment
Hi Everyone,

just found this community. I am a primary school teacher who is also partially hearing. I wear two hearing aids. Have always had positive reactions from the children I’ve taught, with lots of curiosity and respect. Unfortunately less so from the adults and senior management. I left my school this year in part because my requests for reasonable adjustments met with me being made to feel that I was asking for the world. Some people ( who should know better) are too toxic to be around! 


  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,545 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @jjones and a very warm welcome to the community! Thank you for sharing this with us all. I believe it is so important to have teachers that have disability and I am so glad the children have been fairly positive about the whole thing. It is such a shame (and infuriating) that you haven't had the same experience with adults. Please do have a look around the community and get involved with anything that you find interesting. If I can help in anyway then please just let me know!

  • Pippa_Alumni
    Pippa_Alumni Scope alumni Posts: 5,793 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @jjones, and a warm welcome to the community!

    Thanks for sharing this with us- I'm so sorry to hear about the discrimination you've faced. It would be interesting to hear more about your experiences, here on the community!
  • Markmywords
    Markmywords Member Posts: 419 Pioneering
    Hello @jjones .

    I've had experience of the intolerance of the public/education sector. I'm of the view "don't get mad, get even" though.

    Remember that the law is on your side. Best of luck finding a more reasonable employer.
  • jjones
    jjones Member Posts: 2 Listener
    Thanks Everyone for the welcome and the comments.

    I started losing my hearing to the point of needing hearing aids 12 years ago. My then boss couldn't get his head around having a disabled teacher and he did some things that resulted in me getting my union involved and leaving the school. At that point, I wasn't aware of 'reasonable adjustments'. 
    I moved to a school where I had very supportive managers. The headteacher was fab! I requested to be excused from noisy performances such as a whole class playing brass instruments and I was also allowed to swap my out of class time with other staff members on Sports Days as I find being in spaces with lots of loud voices shouting at once difficult. These were the only adjustments I needed.
    Sadly that headteacher left and was replaced by someone who saw me as a 'pain or hindrance'. He encouraged 'shouty' assemblies so when I asked if I could leave the assembly (once a week) 10 mins early to swap with another colleague he initially said no, then grudingly agreed though said he needed to get Oc Health involved if I was unable to fulfill my role :( Over the course of the next two years he used the threat of Oc health more than 3 times until I found out about Access to Work - when I told him about what they would do, he backed off. Unfortunately there were other factors that added to a poor working relationship and in the end, when he tried to say that perhaps my disability was affecting my mental health (when actually it was his bullying tactics), I'd had enough and chose to leave. One thing I've learned is that even when you have right on your side, there is no changing the mind set of some people and when they are in a position of power, it just isn't worth the professional risk. 
    So I am looking for a fresh start! I am hoping that I can find some schools local to  me that will see my 24 years experience before they spot my hearing aids.
  • Chloe_Scope
    Chloe_Scope Scope Posts: 10,545 Disability Gamechanger
    @jjones, you did right to seek advice from your union and access to work. I really do hope you find somewhere. I bet you're an amazing teacher and 24 years experience is a lot. Please do keep us updated :)

  • KikiJayne1213
    KikiJayne1213 Member Posts: 1 Listener
    @jjones, ?‍♀️ Hi and welcome to this supportive community of people all gathered right here and will always find help amongst us.
    I too went through a similar situation whilst working for the DWP whilst I was employed there for 10 years before becoming very poorly over a period of time and haven't worked for 2 years now since being finished as they did not want to make reasonable adjustments and as your employer did you, the DWP saw myself too as more of a hindrance rather than pro actively supporting a member of their own staff. So I can completely understand where you are at as an employee. I do however wish you the Best of wishes in finding an employer who values you. ?
  • Pin
    Pin Member Posts: 139 Pioneering
    I left teacher training in part because of inflexibility with regards to my health. I do find many employers are unwilling to make reasonable adjustments or even acknowledge that employees have disabilities. It’s incredibly sad and frustrating. 
  • saxgirl
    saxgirl Member Posts: 21 Connected
    These stories are so sad, and frustrating, if we keep campaigning maybe one day people will listen, I am glad that I am not alone?
  • newborn
    newborn Member Posts: 746 Pioneering
    No, no, no.   Up with this we must not put.  What was the union legal department  thinking of? Or, more likely, did it not reach their attention?   They should have seized upon this with cries of glee and a big fat fee

     Open and shut constructive dismissal, plus equally open and shut breach of employment/equality law.   

    A person represented by a union might have expected a walkover :  Compensation, disciplining and compulsory retraining of offenders, plus awareness training of all future heads, plus firm and monitored policies and well publicised statements that direct O R indirect bullying and victimisation of staff or pupils,  based on a 'protected characteristic' such as race or disability, is a sackable offence.

    Imminent execution concentrates the mind, it is said.  So, doubtless, will the realisation that refusing legal rights to Reasonable Adjustment can cost the bully a lovely career and golden pension.

    (Always use the handy analogy - if this offender was breaching the law on Racism, would it be OK?  Would he get away with it? Would he even dream of trying it?  If not, does he comprehend that the single equalities act does not, anywhere, spell out that the full list of protected categories is a checklist of who to bully, with impunity) 


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