Academy Head: I am giving you a written warning for not fully complying with my policies. It will last for 12 months and it will stay on your record.
Teacher: What? You have to be kidding? I was merely discussing some of the problems staff have with some of your policies. I am a great teacher.
Academy Head: Yes you are. But you are not fully supporting the school. You are causing too many problems. I expect you all to agree with everything I say.
Teacher: But I am on the whole. I had no idea these things were set in stone with no opportunity for discussion.
Academy Head: Sorry. It is what it is. I am under enormous pressure. You can appeal if you wish to.
Teacher: How do I do that?
Academy Head: Email me your appeal letter and I will forward it to my boss.
Teacher: Your boss? In the academy? That doesn’t sound fair. She will agree with you.
Academy Head: No, of course she won’t. She will be very professional.
Teacher: And what is she does agree with you? What happens then if I still feel your treatment of me is unfair?
Academy Head: You can appeal to her boss.
Teacher: The academy director?
Academy Head: Yes.
Teacher: I’m screwed then. Is it because I am too expensive and you want to employ NQTs who will sign the new academy contract and save you thousands of pounds?
Head: Don’t be ridiculous. Of course not.
Teacher: So, the only way I can appeal against your decision to give me a written warning, that stays on my record (because I have questioned some of your policies), is to raise it with the academy?
Academy Head: Yes.
Teacher: So, let me get this straight. No third party gets involved who will look at the evidence objectively – apart from my union rep?
Academy Head: It all stays in house I’m afraid.
Teacher: Wow. I’m screwed then.
Academy Head: Yes. There’s nothing you can do about it. Thanks for fifteen years of hard work.
Teacher: Hang on, that sounds like you have already decided that you want me to leave?
Academy Head: Don’t be silly.
Teacher: But all the UPS3 teachers are on action plans now or off with stress because they have been burdened with too much work. Coincidence?
Academy Head: Are you questioning me again?
Teacher: Yes. I mean no. I don’t know anymore. I just want to teach how I want to teach without following pages and pages of non-negotiables.
Academy Head: Right, let’s make that a 18 month written warning.
Teacher: How many months can I stay off with stress at full pay?
Academy Head: Why do you ask?