Working with Astham

I am about to apply for a position of headteacher. I have moderate asthma which most of the time is controlled. However, there are occasions when I have had to take time off work with it. I don't class myself as having a disability. My concern is the monitoring of absence, I could easily hit the triggers of 4 absences a year if I had a bad winter with my asthma. I have been admitted to hospital in the past but most of the time I just battle through it and keep going. The equal opportunity act discusses how absence triggers can me amended. Has anyone had any dealings with anything like this. I would obviously rather not say anything about it as I wonder if it may go against me.

9 Replies

  • Asthma is covered the Equality Act and the old DDA as it is a long term condition having an substantial effect on day to day life. You cannot be treated less favourably if you disclose it. As there is direct and indirect discrimination that can occur. If you hit the trigger point would that mean occupational health involvement as they would look at what the sickness is and how to help. I also worked in education and eventually went to a phased back to work and part time many years ago.

  • thanks for the reply, It would mean me disclosing it as a disability as there is no other area on the application form. Well if I hit triggers now, it is a meeting with the head and they set attendance targets. If I was the head I am not sure how it works, occ health would be involved and governors. it is only ever happened once but obviously going into a new role they will request my sickness records so think it is better to be up front.

    like you I am working part time at the moment, which has been better but the job is temp. There is a short supply of part time roles hence my thoughts on going back full time.

  • Also polices can be challenged as direct discrimination. Its up to you to disclose you don't have to. How many days off have you had in past year?

  • I have had 3 days due to asthma in the last year that's all. I slipped a disc and had to take 4 weeks off but not much I could do about that. the previous year I had 10 days off with asthma as I had pneumonia and was in hospital.

  • Funnily enough I'm just applying to train as a teacher (due to redundancy in my current job) & had the exact same dilemma. In the end I opted not to declare it on my UCAS form as my absence levels aren't too bad but I wasn't sure what to do.

    If you're successful can I have a job :D

  • I wish you the best of luck. it is the most rewarding job. I was given two pieces of advice when I trained many years ago but it has stayed with me. Remember, work life balance. you will find the job is never done and you can always find things that you feel need to be done. I now set myself a working hrs target at home and I don't go past.

    And the second probably the most important- We all strive to become reflective teachers and should do. however, when you have had a rubbish lesson, because we have all had them. Remember, you did, the best you could do, with that cohort of children you had on that day. And move on from it.

    Good Luck

  • Thank you, I'll remember that. I've spent 30 years working in homelessness & similar services and (hoping my bosses don't read this), the sector is just in a total mess thanks to all the cutbacks so I have decided to try & spend my redundancy money to see if I can get back to doing something that feels worthwhile.

    I've still got to get on a course & my age & health are a worry (as is the fact that the thought of standing in front of 30 primary school kids scares me to death).

    Anyway, good luck with your application. Let us know if you get it :)

  • Hi you don't need to disclose it unless you are asked specifically about it. If it is just do you have any disabilities which may affect your work then say no.

    Are you getting at least an annual review at your doctors? if not you should be. It sounds like your asthma is not fully controlled so you might need either a change of meds or additional ones. See your doctor or asthma nurse. x

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